City opportunity, island opportunity

The translation is a circulatory system of culture and intrinsic desire to translate is rooted in the human need to share. I bear these thoughts in mind for months and during the last weeks I especially carefully think and accurately speak these theses out. The boundary between “divide” and “split” is very thin, and it quite often depends on situational accents and interpretations.

I together with like-minded friends planned Europe Island Festival first as translator’s platform for generating and connecting contexts and half-tones which often get lost in a globalized world and later already as a festival. And we constantly came upon awareness: Europe is terribly small like a kitchen of a communal apartment where everyone knows each other and manages to quarrel a thousand times, and at the same time so large that some people manage to live within their own language and local historical experience, buried so deeply that they would never be interested in what is going on in the other corner of the common home. At the same time, there is no such a place to flee from the feeling of a piercing togetherness and an embroidered experience which can be hardly explained to someone far from these landscapes, no matter how much you translate. This is geography as a fate, which Napoleon once spoke about. And this is Europe as an island from which it is impossible to escape just crossing the land border. At least, it will require much more efforts.

Why am I talking about escape so much? The current year is being saturated with difficult political experiences and it drives us all into the state of mutual distrust and suspicion: both inside Ukraine and in Europe as a whole. We may see a positive signal in this, evidence of the fact that unity is preserved if the virus of democracy crisis is vastly spreading the common body. And at the same time, it is worth remembering already mentioned curse of the island: as a result of isolation and self-deepening you yourself produce antibodies to the virus, experiencing a personal, uncharacteristic form of the disease. In short, you are alone both with your troubles and with your joys. Because you are an island even if in reality you are a subcontinent.

And this all is about our festival. About the fact that culture doesn’t cease to be a remedy even when the feeling of fatigue from belonging to one’s own people is growing. About the fact that it is never possible to learn oneself till the end, as well as your neighbour, and this is always a wonderful feeling of next rapprochement, alienation, seeking for previously unnoticed sounds of mutual breathing. About healing an artificial separation imposed from the outside. About sharing: fundamentally different, arguing, exchanging experiences, proclaiming the manifests, destroying the walls and stereotypes, growing up on their ruins, protesting, hoping and reconciling in texts. For, in the end, the most important thing is the voluntary association around common values, the willingness to listen and hear, and hence the need and opportunity to reproduce great Europe at the micro levels.

When your home is standing on the large intersection – that is also relevant both for Vinnytsia, for Ukraine and for old Europe. Let’s face it, it is increasingly becoming a peculiar value bridge between long-time powerful America and Asia, which is raping with might in front of our eyes – you simply have to be sensitive to diversity and otherness, be capable of listening into different voices. The leitmotifs of the second Europe Island Festival in 2019, in fact, are unifying: we remember the hundred anniversary of Act of Zluky, the falling of the Berlin Wall, discuss the strategies for de-occupation of the Crimea, from the depth, we bring up multi-cultural layers which made Europe the way it is now. We badly need it – a flying island which can’t be trapped into the strict geography, a motley free port where multiple languages are spoken, the eternal home where people ardently argue but understand each other at a glance. Vinnytsia is a city which, in fact, consists of many other cities or their opportunities. But during the days of the Europe Island International Literature Festival when those cities arrive, all opportunities become the reality. Because literature is a nutritious elixir for culture, translation is its blood and the desire to translate grows out from the need of agreement, the desire to overgrow the division but always to share. Join us.

Kateryna Kalytko

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