Bögdana Kosmina

Curator in Residence March–April 2024, Ukraine /

© Yaroslav Bugaev

Bögdana (Dana) Kosmina - born 1990 in Kyiv. Graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in Kyiv in 2013. Since 2015 Master of Architecture ENSA Nantes. Kosmina is an artist, architect and curator and lives and works between CDMX, Berlin and Kyiv. Co-founder of the open collective Pylorama for urban interventions. Since 2017 she is a member of the curatorial and activist group HUDRADA (artistic committee). Since 2017 she has founded her own multidisciplinary office to change the perspectives of architecture in public space.
Significant projects realized by Kosmina include: Representation of the Ukrainian pavilion through the in-situ installation "Piazza Ucrania" in the Giardini at the 59th Venice Biennale, renovation of the "Dovzhenko Center", the largest Ukrainian state film archive, collaboration with the electronic music scene in the design of public spaces such as Closer, Brave Factory, Rhythm Buro, Bassiani. Since 2018 he has been cooperating with the urban collective METASITU, which is dedicated to researching new spatial pedagogies. Since 2019 he is co-founder and curator of a self-organized exhibition space in a formal postmodern pavilion "Dzherelo" (The Source) in Kyiv, dedicated to urban transformations through video art, performance and experimental music.
In 2020, Kosmina represented the project "The hotel, the sanatorium, the boarding house and their refugee rooms" at the Tbilisi Architecture Biennale "What do we have in common". At the 18th International Architecture Exhibition "Before the Future", Kosmina represented the group project "March on".


Today, living in the constant acknowledgment of war, I want to project myself into the future and imagine a caring and rebalancing attitude to the cultural heritage of Ukraine, ethically concerned with the most urgent needs, especially for the paper archives that are becoming increasingly vulnerable.
At the end of 2022, my mother and ethnographer Oksana Kosmina brought me from Kyiv to Berlin a suitcase containing our family's heritage archive - “The Atlas of Traditional Architecture from the middle of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century”.
Atlas of traditional folk architecture is a project that was supposed to be jointly implemented with three academies of sciences from Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus in the 1960s.
At the end of the 1990s, my grandmother Tamara Kosmina, an anthropologist and architect, researcher at the Kyiv Academy of Sciences, decided to direct her research group specifically to focus the study on Ukraine. Thus, the previously distributed attention shifted from the collective to the local. This led to a new amount of expeditions to collect material and a new timeframe for the project. T. Kosmina remained the last anthropologist of the group who continued the Atlas until 2016. Due to the large scale of the publication and the lack of funding from the Academy, the project was never released. It consists of thematic maps and graphic materials dedicated to different elements of traditional housing. Each of the thematic maps has 3 time gradations: the middle and end of the 19th century and the beginning and middle of the 20th century. The drawings and watercolors were collected as part of field research by T. Kosmina.

Overall, the project of the Atlas has been going on for over 50 years. Only this year I feel a responsibility to start a research project based on its archive data. I apply for this residency program to actualize and make this heritage publicly visible.

The Russian aggression against Ukraine destroyed more than 150,000 residential houses, including over 17,000 apartment buildings. Given these circumstances, independent architects often resort back to traditional foundations to help people who have been left homeless to quickly and easily regain their homes. These traditional foundations, on the one hand, serve as a reminder of how catastrophic Russia's war against the peaceful population of Ukraine. By attacking civilian infrastructure, the aggressor often publicly stated that his goal is to plunge Ukraine back into the 19th century. By revealing the first block of Atlas - “Foundations”, I expect to make these foundations speak about the anarchic elements of Ukrainian traditional architecture, where basic knowledge of construction was passed down from generation to generation and was a source of freedom and independence for many Ukrainian families.

This year I had scanned the archive of T. Kosmina and systematized the content. I also began to imagine the language of the exhibition that could speak about this complex context. The rich visual archive became the base for imagining a mosaic of diverse spatial elements dedicated to new ways of comfort and memory reading.

The residency program at MuseumsQuartier in Vienna could provide me safe space and continuous time to focus on Atlas heritage. In exploring the section of archive “Foundations”, I am looking to develop scenarios that establish connections between historical materials and their contemporary context. Considering that actual destructions of various kinds constitute a rupture of memory between the past and the present, I wish to hold a discussion about those issues with invited specialists. This residency program could become a starter point to find new ways of thinking and working with such a historically unique archive and its current reading. During my two-month residency in Vienna, I plan to elaborate a development plan for this project, find curatorial collaborations, imagine the ways of the archive preservation, visualize a possible publication format as well as to identify an artistic way of thinking to represent the project in public.