Archiving gaps: Ugly Tapes From Balkan

Archiving gaps: Ugly Tapes From Balkan

Nikolay Karabinovych, 2017

Appropriating archives in a transnational approach challenges cultural heritage national storytelling. Nikolay Karabinovych is interested in cultural as personal histories related to music archives. His project Ugly tape from Balkan is the asymmetric mirror of Awesome Tapes From Africa. In a practice that collects and research in the style of an ethnomusicologist, Karabinovych is interested in the guslar practice. A Guslar is a traditional singer from the Balkan performing storytelling on music based on one of two gusle, a stringed instrument. The Guslar practice doesn’t belong to a determined national area in the Balkan. Throughout the time, it has transmitted oral stories from middle-age epic tales to contemporary world changes, for example this music about Margaret Thatcher. At the same time, Ugly tape from Balkan deliberately assumes the possibility to appropriate the archives to create a sort of « ornament of sound textures and contexts ». As it is often the case, Karabinovych explores the polysemic voices of local zones influenced by layers of history. The result is an endless DJ-set within the Guslar’s storytelling becomes dramatically morbid. Making the parallel between the heroism of Guslar music and contemporary noise music, Karabinovych created a living archive. It carries on the transmission of Guslar music only changing the format into a modern dancing and the storytelling into an ironic tempo.

Nikolay Karabinovych (b. Odessa, Ukraine, 1988), lives and works between Belgium and Ukraine. An artist, researcher and DJ, Karabinovych is currently a candidate laureate at the Higher Institute for Fine Arts (HISK) in Ghent, Belgium. He graduated in 2011 from Odessa National University Mechnikov, Department of Philosophy.

Since 2009 Nikolay Karabinovych has been taking part in numerous group exhibitions, performances and lectures. Featured Exhibitions: “From Sea to Sea”, Solo, Hit Gallery (Bratislava, 2019), ‘Zonder kunstenaars, geen kunst’, M HKA (Antwerp, 2020), “Spring (Summer, Fall, Autumn) of Nations”, BWA, (Tarnow, Poland, 2019), “Ain’t nobody’s business”, PinchukArtCentre, (Kyiv, 2019) The Human Condition, Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center (Moscow 2018). He has been previously awarded the First Special Prize at Pinchuk Art Prize (Kyiv, 2020, 2018) and was a finalist of MUHI – Young Ukrainian artists (Kyiv 2017).

He was a part of the curatorial team of the 5th Odessa Biennial.

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