THE ROOF IS OPEN, 2005
Village of Ervenik, Croatia, former war area
Materials: Wax, pigment, stone walls, houses
Duration: 30 minutes
DESTRUCTION, SUBTLE AND ABSTRUSE
Since 2003, I produced an array of works related to the area of village Ervenik, which is situated in Dalmatia, southern costal region of Croatia. For many centuries this area was inhabited by the Serbian national minority, which made about 12 % of the entire population in Croatia. Before the civil war, that took place in the 1990s, there were around 3,000 people living in this village. There was one factory, one hospital, two inns, a few stores, one cinema and one school with 400 students. After the civil war, area was almost completely devastated and the village became completely deserted. The majority of houses were havocked, and then burned. Today, this region has lost its particular purpose and is a “no man’s land “. Only 182 people live there. Average age is 72. The other former inhabitants have either migrated as refugees to other countries or were executed during the civil war. This area became a nature reserve and was completely forgotten from the state officials. Also, there is no cultural initiative connected to it.
Ervenik obtained a symbolical character. The fact that I spent time there and I knew how very different it looked before, had a crucial impact on my perception of it after its destruction. It is the absence of human beings, the savaged surrounding nature with the river, trees and animals which remained, burned houses, empty deteriorated roads, empty school with no children, that turned into a noise of signs which I tried to re-read and to re-connect. My works related to Ervenik developed out of the need to make history and relations in this area visible again. My intention was to make the connection with this, through the society, demolished world rehabilitated. It was in this process that the whole new territory appeared in front of my eyes, a “place within a place”, a volcanic mental terrain, shifting towards a metaphysical realm. Those kinds of territories, metaphysic in their subtleness and abstruseness, show up sometimes in the places devastated by humans such as this one.
THE CHRONICLE, 2006
DURATION: 5,21 minutes (loop)
„The Chronicle“ was filmed in the old elementary school in the village Ervenik, in the former war area in Croatia. Due to its destruction during the civil war (1991-1995), the school lost its initial function. The video was taken in one singe shot, which shows a long school corridor with a big window at its rear end. The floor is covered with scattered schoolbooks, but in the middle of the corridor the chaos is being interrupted: three rows of accurately ordered, opened books are lying on a clean, swept floor stripe. A sudden wind blow sweeps through the building and interrupts the silence and desolation of the place. The pages of the opened books start to move, as being turned by invisible ghost hand, for minutes, before the silence returns.
With its minimal devices the „The Chronicle“ is telling a story about the war and its consequences; the story about the absence of children, who used this space for learning and living.
Materials: rubber band, plastic tablets with alphabet letters, a tree
Duration: 10 min.
Village of Ervenik, Croatia, former war area
“The perfomance is based on the act of firing the tablets with letters by the catapult made of a tree. What seems to be a violent tool is here used to reexamine the impact of the declined system on the destruction of the language. The artist now performs the role of the destroyer, as if she wanted to understand the routine process of the sensless deconstruction.“ Anna Schneider, curator
Duration: 12.02 min
This video work is conceived in the area of the village Ervenik, which is situated in Dalmatia, southern costal region in the Republic of Croatia. For many centuries this area was inhabited by the Serbian national minority, which made about 12 % of the entire population in Croatia. Before the civil war, that took place in the 1990s, there were around 3,000 people living in this village. There was one factory, one hospital, two inns, a few stores, one cinema and one school with 400 students. After the civil war, the village became completely deserted. The majority of houses were havocked, and then burned. Today, 182 people live there. Average age is 72. The other former inhabitants have either moved or passed away. This area became a nature reserve and was completely forgotten from the state officials. Also, there is no cultural initiative connected to it. Latest Croatian statistics, from 2014, show that the Serb minority has decreased to only 4.4 % in Croatia.
Today, this region has lost its particular purpose and is a “no man’s land “. The environment that was to be found after the process of extermination was the only witness of a culture that here once existed. Regardless of the reason for destruction, the environment is itself after a certain time unable to show the original consequences or to give a reasonable explanation for these devastations. Due to this past, for me as an artist, this space obtained a symbolical character. Since 2003 I produced different works connected to it*. Those works were developed out of the need to make history and relations in this area visible again. My intention was to make the connection with this, through the society, demolished world rehabilitated.
“Kamena s ramena“(Stonegame), is based on an ancient game with the same name typical for the Dalmatian hinterland in Croatia. It was also a very popular game in Ervenik. In this game, during important local festivities, only the strongest men were chosen to compete in throwing the stone from the shoulder. For the chosen ones, it was a way to show their strength and their skills. The winner was the one who could throw the stone the farthest distance of all the others.
In “Kamena s ramena”, this ancient game of the stone throwing is being recreated in order to make the history of this place and to make lives of its former inhabitants visible. It is taking place on the abandoned and destroyed fields surrounding the village Ervenik today. The aim of this work is to emphasize the persistent nature of the people from this area. They led hard lives during peacetime and they suffered under a severe experience during wartime.
This ancient game performance associates and mixes with the constantly repeated action of the arduous stone throwing throughout the landscape, until the vanishing point, executed by a single performer. In this regard “Kamena s ramena“ is also a symbolic, Sisyphus like story about human nature. It symbolizes a human who is ready to invest all the strength and all the skills to throw the stone away and to get rid of the burden, but at the same time, this action leads him to go further, take the burden again and throw it once again, in a cyclic process. In this way, the stone game becomes an allegory of a cyclical character of human striving and persistence.
I AM NOT MY BODY, 2013
I AM NOT MY BODY, 2013
Performance and sound installation
The work focuses on the content of graffiti messages in Mostarska Street, which is located in Belgrade’s district of Savamala. Conceived as performance and sound installation, it explores the utopism and idealism of young people who live in the area. The content of the graffiti reflects the two opposite sides of their attitude: conceived as an opposition to the society they belong to, their specific utopian worldview is characterized by downfall and tragedy, and could be inherently a part of fundamentally passive, autistic attitude of young creative individuals in Belgrade toward their surroundings. On the other hand, in their unfaltering belief in true values of human society and a better world, lies a potential energy, which could be used to alter Serbian society.
The artists regards the inarticulate, chaotic space in Mostarska Street as part of a decomposition process of the symbolic body of Serbian society. Thus, the title of the project – ‚I am not my body‘. Having in mind that the medium of sound, as a carrier of emotions and messages, is capable of polarizing the space and changing viewers perception of it, the project ‚I am not my body‘ emphasizes that art and willingness to resist could be used as a moving force behind changing the state of apathy and absence of ideals in the world that surrounds us.