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Third object:

Memory Well


History Mine

Contemporary mythology:
Myths about the Great War
Monumental works:
Monument at the former site of a well in the memorial complex ‘Khatyn’



Careful construction of mythology around memory of the Second World War is at the heart of the nation-building processes in Belarus. It is manifested in the pompous parades on Victory Day as well as the erection of monuments throughout the country. Vast budgets are allocated for the production of cultural and quasi-historical products associated with the ‘Great Victory’. The mythology of war is extensive and the demand for it grows.

Coincidently, certain tendencies have been observed. One of such would be the commodification of military symbols (for example, St. George ribbons imported from Russia), while another significant tendency is a break with official Russian and Belarusian narratives.

For the symbolic fixation of these processes the artist chose an element of the Khatyn memorial complex — a monument erected in place of one of the three wells in the village burnt down by the Nazis. This well emerges as an abstract symbol, free of various ideological superstructures. The well as a (dead) spring and a ‘history mine’ is designed to embody the very essence of collective work with history and memory.
1. Pitfall trap used in the military, its shape reminiscent of a well

2. Monument at the former site of a well Memorial complex ‘Khatyn’, 1967

Collective of architects: Y. Gradov, V. Zankovich, L. Levin, sculptor S. Selikhanov

3. In 2014, the Belarusian State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War received a large new building 

4. Ruins of the ‘Dvina’ missile silo, second stationary missile launch facility for nuclear-powered ballistic missiles in Belarus, abandoned after the end of the Cold War

© photo: Maxim Mirovich

5. Diagram of a Punji trap, used during the Vietnam War

6. Salt mines of Salihorsk