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7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.

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Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.

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Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.

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Kyiv Culture

Tree-mendous Timepieces

After carving out a career as a cabinetmaker, Kyiv resident Valeriy Danevich thought it was time for a change. In 2005 he called time, literally, on traditional wooden joinery instead focusing on what has become his labour of love creating wristwatches, pocket watches and clocks with complex movements made entirely from wood with the exception of the metal hairspring needed to propel the movement. Whats On looks at Danevichs incredible timepieces and finds out what makes him tick.

His creations look like they could have been crafted by the finest Swiss precision watchmakers, yet Valeriy Danevich has no experience in clock making. Three years of trial and error have paid off for Danevich however, and in 2008 he completed his first functional wooden pocket watch. Since then he first won fame in the world of horology, before his work went viral courtesy of the internet, featured on numerous websites worldwide. His timepieces are works of art and they command prices accordingly. A mens wristwatch he created with a tourbillon movement (which improves accuracy) and full retrograde indication (the additional face seen on high-end watches) has a $128,000 (1.5 million hryvnia) price tag. Not that its easy money, it was the result of 1,800 work hours over seven months.

You come from a long line of cabinetmakers, but what prompted you to branch out into clock making?
I was taught to work with wood by my father, and he, in turn, learned from his. I like wood for its clarity and suppleness, as well as its diversity of ornaments and qualities. When I first started, I looked for the broadest way to utilise its qualities, and I settled on clocks as it involves the most complex mechanism and artistry of design. In 2005, I was restoring the body of an antique clock when the idea sprang to create the whole mechanism from wood. And so I started with fully functional floor and grandfather clocks. Then I tried to make pocket watches but those were very experimental and I was still learning the basics. It was only in 2008 I managed to make a pocket watch I consider to be my first success. Today I have 16 samples, 15 of which are made of wood and one of which is carved out of mammoth tusk.

It must be intricate work, whats the most difficult aspect?
I didnt expect I would have so many troubles doing this, honestly. It requires knowledge of the materials, their specifications and ways to treat them. Some woods are simply not appropriate. I spent a lot of time searching for the proper combinations of wood types to cope with the friction of the mechanism and the respective endurance of those types.

So you approached the idea from a carpenters point of view, but you were forced to start looking at the engineering side?
True, I focused on design first and wasnt thinking of the technicalities. But now I understand clock mechanisms; their function fills my mind! Ive started working on more complex mechanisms, on increasing accuracy and step-by-step I have come to accept myself as a watchmaker.

Youve crossed the line from hobby to business, how did that come about? How much does your work cost?
When I started I didnt even think it could bring in money. Later, when I met my business partner from Germany, the opportunity arose to make some cash, which turned my hobby into a profession. Still, my main motivation is the art aspect. Speaking about cost, the sample I took to the Baselworld Exhibition in Switzerland in 2012, my last watch, was valued at $128,000. I was also inducted into the Swiss Horological Academy of Independent Creators on the basis of that work. Its the pride of my private collection.

So, they definitely fall into the luxury goods category. Who are your clients?
Today my clients are collectors from across Europe and the US ordering watches as well as commissioning me for restoration work. Though my watches and clocks are unique, they are more than ornamental and can be used in everyday life.

Do your wear your own watches?
I dont wear watches at all. I have one watch I made for myself, but I use it rarely, mostly just to test it, because after Baselworld it too was labelled a collectors item. I still have hopes someday of making a watch for myself.

What type of timepiece do you dream of making?
Well, I dream of making an astronomical clock (a clock which displays information, such as the relative positions of the sun, moon, planets and zodiacal constellations), from wood. Ive been working on this project for the whole year so far. Hopefully it will be finished soon.

For more information about Danevichs timepieces go to www.danevych.com

by Vadym Mishkoriz

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.


    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.

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