In the summer of 2014 sunflower fields in Eastern Ukraine were left unharvested because they turned into a war zone. Among the sunflower fields of the town Ilovaisk in August of the same year, the Ukrainian soldiers were surrounded by the enemy. In this tragedy, known as «The Battle of Ilovaisk», Ukraine lost more than 300 people, which remains its biggest loss during the Russian-Ukrainian war (remained until the year 2022).
Since then, sunflower fields have become both a symbol of possible salvation – and of an invisible, imminent danger. Sunflowers are equally easy to hide both friends and enemies. And behind the tall flowers, you won't be able to see, behind the rustle of the broad leaves you won't be able to hear whether it is your salvation or your death that is about to come.
In this video, long static shots of sunflowers are interrupted by sharp and barely perceptible moments of movement – an unknown person is running across the field. It is impossible to distinguish whether it is a man or a woman, a child or an adult. Is it human at all? Is it there alone, or there are many? What are her, his (or their) intentions?
The only thing that is certain is the very fact of their presence, and maybe the speed and direction in which they are heading – is revealed by the oscillations of sunflowers. And also by the rustle of leaves, footsteps and the sounds of breathing, flaring for a split second in silence.
However, do we really see these movements, do we really hear this rustle – or it is just our imagination, our paranoia, that makes them up, forcing us to look around all the time?
And on the other hand, are the static shots of the field not really moving, and in the silence, no sound is really emerging? Or it is our carelessness that doesn't allow us to notice that someone's eyes are watching us all this time through the sunflower stalks?
Olia Fedorova. Sunflowers