VAFT premieres a new work by R Colvile about the war in Ukraine

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R Colvile's new video work Bystander (2023) has its worldwide premiere on the Video Art Festival Turku (VAFT) website as a digital exhibition lasting from 15 February until 31 March 2024 (visit

Bystander is a film about the changing experience of watching the war in Ukraine online, war fatigue, and digital bystanding. The film draws attention to the normalisation of conflict and war in the digital age, and how those of us watching from afar get numb to the violence reflected on our screens. Made on iPhone, the film combines the landscapes of the internet with those shaped by previous conflicts in neighbouring Poland.

“In the days post invasion, I – like many others – experienced the horror of it through my screens, and in particular on my iPhone. Later, there felt an authenticity in trying to use precisely that same device to create something which reflected on the experience it had produced”, Colvile elaborates.

On the opening night of the online exhibition, Thursday 15 February at 5:30 PM (GMT), you can tune into R Colvile's interview live on VAFT's Instagram account (@VAFT_). The audience will also have the opportunity to ask the artist questions. The exhibition also includes written reflections by the artist relating to the film’s themes.

R Colvile is a London-based artist and writer, working primarily in film. Bystander is the third in a trilogy of films made using an iPhone. His previous films True Love Story and Nightlife were both screened at VAFT (2018, 2022), and his work has been shown internationally, including at the Tampere Film Festival (2022), the Aesthetica Short Film Festival (2019), and the Slow Film Festival (2023). Find him on Instagram @thequietshow_ or visit


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