Critics' Choice V: Yoana Pavlova

24 January 2019

Yoana Pavlova's note(s) on Absence

As part of Critics’ Choice, the screening of Make Me Up Tue 29 Jan, 19:15 will be preceded by a video essay by Yoana Pavlova.

Note(s) on Absence

"What is civilisation?" asks yet again Rachel Maclean's Make Me Up (2018). As per Kenneth Clark, it is the combination of ideas, objects, and practices that give us a sense of permanence, stability. Now let's imagine a universe, where Sir Clark's seminal TV show and book from 1969 were never rectified by John Berger's Ways of Seeing in 1972. A universe, where the Western man, with his technical achievements and understanding of beauty, is still the measure of all things. Thus also a universe, where women are devoid of voice and agency. Carried on the sound waves of empty patriarchal rhetoric, we can climb up the filigree towers of this world, or descend to the sticky basement. An incorporeal spectator of memeable horrors, it is, however, our presence that seems to turn the tide. And similarly to our universe, we would never know if this insurgence is organic, or just a refreshing ripple in the grand scheme of the establishment.

Yoana Pavlova (founding editor of has been a regular IFFR guest since 2009 – initially as a journalist and Q&A moderator, then as a mentor of the Trainee Project for Young Film Critics and a partner in crime of the Critics' Choice sidebar. Following up on her special interest in digital culture, immersive media, and experimental criticism, her first artistic contribution to the 2019 Critics' Choice program titled Ripple can be seen as the point of intersection of these fields, or better yet – as a very long line aiming to connect voice assistants and revolutionary feminism.

Other blog posts on Tips