Ruta and the Monument | Renata Poljak


Ruta and the Monument
2 channel video installation, 2007

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The first video projection is inspired with the short fiction story of Jewish “princess” (1943.) who wished to become invisible.

“When they came to take her on a trip, all that was left of Ruta Tannenbaum was her right foot.
Everything else was already invisible. But even that was something, something indeed, said the people from the tourist agency and took Ruta Tannenbaum’s right foot all the way to the freight train station. A small bare foot walked along beneath the princess’s white dress.
I tell you, that was something to be seen.
They loaded her onto the cattle wagon. We’re going to India, thought Ruta Tannenbaum, there where cows are holy animals. She felt a cow’s warm tongue licking the salt off her right foot. And so she laughed for the last time.
She was arrogant and not too bright, that princess, since who would think of traveling to India in the spring of 1943…”

The projection is in slow motion, under the sea: a small foot floating beneath a white dress while the red tongue is caressing it. The atmosphere of the video is poetic and meditative while one can hear slow, underwater breathing.
On the second video we follow tourist guide in 2007. “interpreting” Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. The guide speaks in English and retells scandals and anecdotes related to the monument. Tourists are smiling all the time.
The monument, which should “revoke” memories, emotions or similar reaction in mass tourist culture is totally banalised.

2 channel video installation composed of :

— 2 video projections
— Disc 1: 9 min
— Disc 2: 13 min 30 sec
— sound, color, loop
— text written on the wall (short story by M. Jergovic, excerpt from the novel “Ruta Tannenbaum”)

— excerpt from the novel Ruta Tannenbaum, by Miljenko Jergovic printed on the wall (pdf): english  french  croatian

— Zeljka Himbele exhibition text (pdf)