The Probability of Effort

Alongside the topic of emigration, in this processual work I now also address the topic of city authorities and their actions following the earthquake in Zagreb on 22 March 2020. The people whose homes were severely destroyed have been left with practically no assistance, financial or advisory, on part of the City and its authorities. There are no instructions on further action, and they are left to fend for themselves.

I have designed a six-question survey, which I shared with people through social networks. I was interested in the strategies and ways of coping with the fact that your home is severely damaged, as well as the people’s emotional state and their vision of the city’s future renovation. Some of the questions are as follows: “Can you describe the emotions you felt after the earthquake had damaged your home?” “Can you briefly describe your vision of the city’s future; Do you think that the buildings will be renovated with reinforcement and protection from future earthquake damage, will most of them remain uninhabitable crevices in time, or something else?”

From the collected material, I created an installation and a performance. I engraved the text I had received from people onto some plates and cups that had fallen from the kitchen cabinets after the earthquake. I quote some of the citizens who have opted for anonymity in the survey: “Cracked walls, and fear that a stronger earthquake may destroy them completely. The ceiling is in the worst condition, and I avoid looking at it.” “Politicians! Either renovate the city, or leave!” “Most of them will be patched up; some cultural facilities will be renovated for years to come, and the demolished ones will be sold as parcels, and the criminals will profit once again.” “The renovation of Zagreb will be delayed and mystified, as are most things in Croatia. The politicians and construction companies will deal with this opportunistically, as is the case with everything we have seen so far.”

I collected debris from my building in Novi Zagreb, and several smaller tiles that had fallen from downtown façades. This material has become an artefact that makes up the installation, in the centre of which is the video of the performance. In a performative act, I verbalise the selected parts of the text, while my body is in plank position. Little by little, I start trembling; the strain of the exercise and the gravity of the spoken words can be felt in my voice.