23 June 2022

Silence féminin: Bedtime Stories

Natasha Chychasova, Kateryna Yermolaeva, Oksana Kazmina
Silence féminin: Bedtime Stories

Silence féminin is a series of texts developed by 12 Ukrainian artist-researchers during a two-year long laboratory (2020-2022) organized by Natasha Chychasova, centered on breaking the pattern of silence.




Kateryna Yermolaeva

(This apparition appeared to me many years ago in a semi-conscious state. I was still living with my parents and at that moment, I was just lying on the couch with my eyes slightly closed, letting go of my consciousness, as I sometimes still do to this day. Not so long ago, I accidentally found it, read it again, and realized that I feel something similar when I speak, or when I need to speak but feel like I’m unable to do it because of the psychological barrier. I panic, I fear  the Other, I hear people’s voices ringing around me, sometimes, there’s a desire to run away but it’s impossible to do it. See the text below.) 


A room. In the wall, right in front of me, there’s a small window, behind me there’s a door, on the left, against the distant wall, there’s also a door. From the window, the room is illuminated by “something,” reflected on the metal bars, vertically penetrating the space of the entire room. I stand still. The room starts to turn over. After turning over several times, it stops in its original position. It’s dark. All I can see is the glare of that very “something” on the bars, breaking through from a small opening in the room, trying to illuminate at least a tiny part of its space. In a flash, “something” in the window fades! He’s no longer there. There’s darkness in the window. I see him moving slowly towards me, creeping up on me. He’s alive! I move away, afraid to end up in his area. I cling to the bars and they, breaking the deathly silence, irritatingly tinkle. I stop. The darkness also stops in front of me. We both look at each other. Suddenly, in a heartbeat, he swallows the remaining space of the room along with me! Now I’m inside it and there’s no way out. Total darkness. Panic! Clinging to the bars and stumbling, I hide in the corner of the room. I’m overwhelmed with a sense of dread and horror. It penetrates every cell of my body. This feeling is intensified by the annoying tinkling of the bars permeating the room. It’s suddenly silent again. An endless darkness. I hear something. The steps! They’re getting louder! They seem to reverberate in my head. Creaking, the door opens. Someone’s entered the room! I can’t see anything. I hear quick steps, so heavy, filled with anger. I’m terrified. Once again, the tinkling of the bars! Somebody clings to them, and they tinkle so loudly that my head is about to explode! It seems like they all tinkle at once. And suddenly, silence. All the same darkness and breathless silence. Yet, one terrible feeling remains: there’s someone or something else in the room. I can’t see anything. I feel hot and cold all over. Suddenly, the dim light of that “something” lights up again in the window. I look around the room terrified. They are everywhere! The light is so dim that all I can see are the vague outlines of multiple silhouettes. I’m so afraid I can’t move. A horrifying, chilling scream breaks the silence. It seems like it fills the room, it’s everywhere! But the scream is in my head. 

I understand that there’s no way out of here, I’m here forever… it’s endless horror, panic and a cry of pain and hopelessness… What is about to happen to me?!!…………..      

Kateryna Yermolaeva, Untitled, 2020
Kateryna Yermolaeva, Untitled, 2021


For several nights in a row, I wake up and lie quietly. I listen to sounds in the dark. Later, I fall asleep.

Oksana Kazmina



For several nights in a row, I wake up and lie quietly. I listen to sounds in the dark.


Later, I fall asleep. 


October 29, 2016, I dreamed about a very frightened, trembling rabbit, to which many things and a whole house (or part of it) are tied

This rabbit is in the forest full of ravines

I’m also there, and some old man

The rabbit is running away from us but because many things are tied to it, it can’t jump

It falls into ravines and pits

And every time it falls, it seems that it has plummeted to its death, smashed into pieces, that it’ll never crawl out from the junk

But it gets out and keeps trying to jump

The old man clumsily tries to catch it

And every time he almost grabs the rabbit, and the rabbit slips away, I almost faint, because I understand that now the rabbit will jump again, and fall into the ravine again, and a pile of rags and the house that is tied to it will fall on him

And so, the rabbit falls into a deep ravine again

I look into the pit  and see the rabbit  flattened on the ground

It lies unnaturally, as if it’s broken

It seems that it’s impossible to survive after this

But the rabbit starts to stir

I take it in my arms

I untie it from all the things and hug it

It’s very gray

And it trembles, every muscle quivering

I can feel its fear physically 

Oksana Kazmina. Feline 2020


I was born on July 4, 1984. At the age of 11, I watched Twin Peaks and decided to make films when I grow up.


(looking at photo of Alice Liddell on Lewis Carroll’s lap)

Isn’t it me, harassed by close men in childhood, not aware of the dangers, knowing only about constancy, not thinking about time, believing in words and events, playing?


I had a dream about a guy who came to rape me

And I wanted him to feel good and comfortable

I stroked his belly and apologized for my cold hands

He had an open kind face

And a look

He said we’ve had sex before

He came when there were many guests, and I was drunk

“Yes, it happened when I fell asleep,” I said

“Yes, sleepy sex is very nice – right before waking up, you may find time to scoop up some water,” the guy said


Yesterday, in the blue morning, I saw a tree fall outside the window. There was a strong wind, and the tree must have been dry.

I saw the same this summer.

But the tree fell at a completely different window.

At a completely different house.

It’s strange to see trees falling.

Even if they are dry.

Oksana Kazmina. Mermaid, 2020


I met Anatoly Belov just after I quit the STB channel. I used to write scripts for the show called “Searching for Truth.” I quit after I’d written the script for a show about Yelena Blavatskaya. At the age of 16, she ran away from her husband, a military man. Then she ended up in India, founded an ashram, spoke different languages, and was worshiped. Yet, someone important at the channel said that it wasn’t enough. The reason for her escape wasn’t clear. She must’ve been unable to give birth to children, their heirs, so she was unhappy and ran away. This had to be added to the script. So I did that. But later, Yelena came to me every night and looked at me. After two weeks of insomnia and being numb from the dubious horror in my own bed, I quit.


The dog always follows the one who leaves,

And the one who stays – stays alone.

“Always” is a romantic exaggeration,

Most likely.

You’re always alone anyway

Even if you’re with a dog

And with a human – even worse than alone,


But with a dog it seems

Like you’re a little bit more than alone



Some time ago my father died. I was walking in the funeral procession behind the truck with the coffin in its cargo area. The orchestra played. The road was summery and dusty. I was wearing a black blouse with a lace collar, a black skirt, and black fabric pumps. My legs were thin. I held a pendant with the image of some saint in my hand, imagining how sad it all must’ve looked from the outside. I was in a film. In a very sad scene. I was tired and hungry. And I ate stuffed peppers at the wake, where a guest kept trying to say a toast but was restrained by the others. Mother said I was heartless.


Why do we need all these terrible relationships and family ties?

To teach us something?

For what?

What has to happen? 


September 4, 2017, in a dream, I held a sheet of paper, there was a dialogue between me and my grandmother written on it.

Me: Grandma, I’m going to a magical dark forest

Grandmother: Why?

Me: To pick blueberries

Grandmother: Come to my magical garden. There are apples


December 5, 2015, I saw my mother in a dream and she said she was a witch.


A swarthy, curly-haired, middle-aged man suddenly rushed in through the door. He didn’t look like the owner of the river house at all but according to the script of the  dream, it was him. He spoke Russian with a strong accent. He lay down on me, unzipped his fly and asked me to stroke his cock. I started to jerk him off, he said something, like in English, but I couldn’t understand him. It sounded like a mishmash of sounds. He translated – “slower.” I tried to repeat this word (I knew English and was surprised that I didn’t know this word) but I couldn’t. I began to slowly move my hand, with the other hand I touched his balls. He leaned towards me and began to kiss me. His tongue was dry and rough but I liked it. Then he looked at me and said that all people are animals that want to fly.


In early January, I came to my friend’s home. There was a round table covered with a white sheet. There were audio mixers and something else on the table, someone was playing music on them. People gathered around the table and listened to it. The table began to slowly scroll, and as it scrolled, I saw that something was approaching me, placed on the edge of the table and covered with a white sheet. Turned out it was a dead man. It was the corpse of a man with a very dark face and burning eyes. The corpse was alive. When he approached me, I moved away. I apologized to the dead man for moving away from him. I said I was very scared to stand next to him. He looked at me with curiosity and asked: “What does ‘scary’ mean?” I replied that scary means something like “cold.” The dead man thoughtfully repeated the word “cold” and chuckled.


A doe rabbit led him out of some dangerous underground labyrinth with stone cliffs and gorges that they had to jump over. The man asked the rabbit: “So, are you taking me out of here?” “Yes,” the doe rabbit replied. The man took the rabbit in his arms and hugged her gratefully. It turned out that this man was me. I held her in my hands, and it was an insanely pleasant tactile experience. She was so soft, warm, fluffy, and lively. I pressed my cheek against the cheek of the doe rabbit; it was all very touching and sad. Her face was beautiful and sad. Suddenly the rabbit said that she was also a human.


Tolik and I filmed the Feast of Life. We started shooting it in summer, the same year the war started. The film is about vampires who feed on human hallucinations. To induce the hallucinations, the vampires give drugs to people. Mostly to ravers. At some point it should’ve turned out that among the ravers there are also vampires – traitors, the discards of the vampire society. They don’t feed on human energies, but I don’t remember what they were supposed to feed on. We didn’t get to filming those scenes, we had spent all the money way before we even finished half of the movie. Tolik came up with the idea of ​​filming vampires after a party in a country house. It was winter. It was night. We used some psychoactive substances. I got my period and I tried to ask for help. I asked a feminine looking person if they had a tampon but they replied they didn’t have periods. We were talking in the toilet, where the glass of the door window was broken. There were blood stains on the glass.

Oksana Kazmina. Dog, 2020



See other parts of the publication:


Part I: Linguo-speechlessness

Part II: Shackled by Writing and Theory

Part III: Nobody Talks About This


See also