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until 1 June 2024
A City Within a Building

video installation and prints

A City Within a Building by Center for Spatial Technology in partnership with Forensic Architecture. Presented in collaboration with BAK and Stadsschouwburg Utrecht during SPRING Performing Arts Festival 2024.


The Russian Federation’s military airstrike on the Mariupol Drama Theater during the siege of Mariupol in February—May 2022 destroyed a key shelter for at least 2,000 residents. Lacking access to food, water, electricity, information, and safe evacuation routes, the people who took refuge there formed a special community, a city within a theater, interacting with its architecture and rearranging it to meet their common needs. After the city was fully occupied by the army, the theater’s ruins were camouflaged, turned into a backdrop for propaganda videos and concerts, and eventually demolished.

A City Within a Building (21.34 min.) offers a look at the building as something more than a target on military radar; instead, it becomes an embodiment of the collective memory of the witnesses to the attack. In doing so, it underscores the significance of this crime in the broader context of Russia’s war against Ukraine. The video installation is presented in conjunction with a printed timeline that reveals the details of the research. This timeline, a snapshot, is a work that grows every day and is part of an ongoing investigation.

This presentation is part of To Watch the War, in Solidarity, a series of modest, impromptu exhibitions initiated by BAK, unfolding over the course of 2024 with the aim of appealing to—with and through art—the vital sense of solidarity with people and other-than-human subjects exposed to wars the world over. The exhibitions are generously hosted by fellow cultural and educational institutions across the city of Utrecht. The works are curated from BAK’s archives to remobilize them into the present.

A City Within a Building by Center for S
A City Within a Building by Center for Spatial Technology