Video installation, photo works, 2011
Slavko Štimac was one of the most famous actors from Yugoslavia who started his successful career as a child. Through his roles he embodied the entire ideology of Tito – communism, socialism, Yugoslavia, brotherhood and unity. Renata’s generation grew up with him as a child on the screen believing in the same ideals for which he was fighting on the screen.
Film Train in the Snow narrated a story of solidarity and collective responsibility of the children acting together, and self- organizing themselves in an effort to dig out a train stuck in the blizzard during their school trip. The movie gained a large support within the agendas of Yugoslav youth organizations; similar to Boshko Buha, it influenced generations of people growing up in Yugoslavia.
His position of a star, fell apart after the breakup of Yugoslavia, as one cannot be a film star in the country which doesn’t exist any more.
In this video projection, Poljak focuses solely on the motif of snow; she arranges and shoots the fake snow falling, lit by reflectors on a theater stage. This silent, uninterrupted footage of the snow falling and gradually covering the stage, made by a steady camera, becomes a poignant, poetic metaphor for forgetting and erasing history. The work can be seen as homage to all the actors and public personas, once embodying noble ideas, to be gradually forgotten. As a complement to the projection, a photograph entitled Staging Actors/ Staging Beliefs (Set photograph) reveals a place where the footage was taken—a historical theater setting, completely devoid of people. Here, as if a silence of the snow falling reverberates through lavishly decorated and entrancingly lit sitting areas, captured by a camera in an aberrant, dreamlike composition.
This is Not Me
In the span of a lifetime, we all collect imprecise memories, believing something happened a certain way when it actually unfolded differently. Our stories and memories are constructed in the mind according to emotions, expectations, or reliable facts. “Imprecise Memories” became the title of a new photographic series I am working on. In this series I grapple with a vast and elusive subject matter that does not reference a specific issue or problem, it does not offer answers to targeted questions. Instead, the photographs focus on deconstructing the plausibility of the question itself: how does depict a fiction of the mind or false memory that never existed? This photograph shows a girl that accidentally passed by while Andrey Tarkovsky was location scouting in Italy (for his movie “Nostalgia”).
The small girl had crossed paths with the filmmaker by chance, playfully preoccupied with her yellow balloon. The camera randomly catches her while she wonders around. When I saw her – the girl with the yellow balloon – I felt the need to rewind the video a few times. Something special was hidden in that sequence. After I took a photo of the TV screen, I couldn’t stop thinking about the image for days. It was sometime later that I placed a post-it note on the photograph stating, “THIS IS NOT ME”.
The nature of the post-it as a tool for note-taking, reminding, remembering, was perfectly in line with the series. It’s place is within the realm – or to avoid the realm – of Imprecise Memories.