Wanting to learn more about the past of the Sava River, Nikolina Butorac led workshops in two nursing homes in Trešnjevka, asking the protégés to associatively draw a positive memory for her; the smell of the river, the water that called for bathing, the plants that grew near it. She composes the resulting works into new collages, which follow the photographs of Gail Hocking’s artistic interventions in the empty riverbeds of South Australia, reminding us of the great droughts, shortages of drinking water and fires that have become more prevalent in recent years. Part of the work are artifacts, created by a symbiosis of natural and artificial, taken from several different places that the artists addressed important for their research. At the opening, Nikolina Butorac handed out blank papers to the audience, asking them to draw or write a new work that would protect the river and raise awareness of the importance of water, and hung their drawings among other works.
In this piece, I designed games that should contribute to understanding and recognizing specificity as a virtue. One of the games is the distortion of the accepted norm – in the game, a person without dyslexia is put in a situation of seeking assistance, as opposed to the division of roles within the school system, where dyslexic people are still stigmatized. Dyslexic myself, I want to achieve two-way, equal communication, in which the values of different perceptions are equalized, and differences enrich each other. In addition to photographs as notes of interference in the park’s public space, I used collected natural artifacts, such as dried lichens, branches, soil, my dog’s hair, my own hair, red pepper powder, leaves, cones. The park is a place where my breathing has changed from shallow to deep and where the traces of bitterness, discouragement and misunderstanding caused by school have slowly disappeared.
A game of drawing and solving puzzles, some letters are written upside down, so the team is looking for a person with dyslexia, who will contribute to faster solving and playing the game.
N e i g h b o r s;
draw a neighbor who is unusual to you in some way. Have you ever helped a neighbor? Write the story with chalks on the sidewalk!
L i v e s o f g a m e s f r o m o t h e r p a r t s o f t h e w o r l d; find peers who were born in a distant land. Ask them to teach you a new open air game!
G a r b a g e; collect garbage from the meadow and throw it in a larger container. Draw the most interesting object you have found!
S n o w:
ask parents or grandparents how much snow there was before and where the sledding points were. Draw a map of these points!
Exploring personal discomforts and fears initiated by the earthquake experience,I conducted a series of workshops in Zagreb’s libraries. Workshop participants are invited to engrave or print their feelings on objects from their flats that have fallen and been damaged in the earthquake, making the everyday object not only a direct conduit of emotion, a place of rebellion or frustration but also a point in communication, the intersection of different narratives. These objects, collected through several months of artistic action, have become a kind of anti-souvenirs that recorded a common experience, becoming a well-known place and point of recognition of the community of citizens affected by the earthquake. I exhibit them in a glass case, which on the one hand musealizes them, and on the other contrary to the exhibition rules, pushes, twists, stacks broken plates and jugs, building a space of tension between the value and worthlessness of things, artifacts and everyday objects. On some of them, the owners have written a critique of inert city and state structures. In this twisting of the inner outwards, the intimate feeling turns into a collective and, indirectly, a dedication to the city; “wounded city”, writes one of the participants in the workshops. I’m using the scaffolding on the front of the Gallery building, which, precisely because of the slow and long construction work, this time related to the energy renovation of the building, is out of its function. The third segment of the work was my performance at the opening. I’m writing the names of the streets damaged in the earthquake on the construction helmet, and visitors are helping me. The helmet – the index of damaged locations – is invested in the display case among other items.
Knap Centar- Zagreb
In the performance “To Reflect Possible”, I am interested into destinies of people from the cultural sector who most often work in precarious conditions, constantly proving that their work has a value. I am recording statements of people working in KNAP- Pešćenica Cultural Center, about future activities in difficult epidemiological conditions and the impossibility of using the theater hall, due to earthquake damage. I’m engraving the text of the visitors and workers on the mirrors, placing them in the gallery space. At the opening day, I made a writing performance on the gallery windows.
Statements on the mirrors: ” Cultural institutions can now accommodate fewer people, but fewer people will be able to participate: it is a double threat to cultural production. Many institutions, not only in this situation, but also otherwise, should go out into public spaces and occupy them somehow, because they are being converted to other commercial spaces very fast. When I think of culture, public spaces are very important, and that is something we actually forget in cultural and political terms, and on many levels. It may be cynical to talk about how some institutions will maintain their programs, when many no longer even have their homes, but it’s all part of a political decision and a political moment that we have to put some kind of pressure on. ” D.K.
“Communication with the local community is important to us. We listen to what would be interesting to them. We also have a Creative Family workshop where children and parents come, our workshop teacher guides them a little, so they can work together through play. The idea was given by one of our young students. The goal is for the center to be accepted by the local community as a living room, so people from the neighborhood can come read the newspaper, sit down, have a meeting or just hang out. ” A.P.
” With a minimal number of visitors because of the corona, when we set off, we were afraid the audience wouldn’t come at all, but people are eager for theater. And there is a desire and hunger for culture. Comedies are going better than ever. Now I imagine an audience moving in spaces that can be heated. Although, it would be best to have more space with less production. ” D.B.
AK Gallery- Koprivnica
The exhibition “Home Displaced” consists of several segments: a net made of almonds that connects parts of the installation, children’s statements written in pencil on paper, audio recording of the working experience outside of state, stones with recipes against problematic phenomena in society and opening performance.
The inscriptions were created as a result of my interaction with pupils, whose parents or close family members went to work abroad. Their task was to write a text and turn the shapes and sizes of letters into emotions, focusing on a family member they missed the most.
The audio work records my cousin’s experience. He moved to America as a ballet dancer and retrained as a computer programmer. Here again, I deal with the situation of cultural workers and artists whose position in society is often marginalized, requiring a superhuman skills in order to survive. In the ‘’exchange’’ participatory performance from the opening, I’m asking visitors to write in two to three sentences something about their experiences of working abroad. Who does not want to write, can also draw. I’m putting paper plates, a wooden board, dried fruit in front of me and I start to mix dates, cranberries, dried figs, coconut with rice milk into an edible thick mixture, whom which I form one word from their text, or a drawing. In this exchange, each of the visitors receives an edible artifact. The performance act of preparing and consuming food, is an intimate ritual that functions as a metaphor for sharing, recording and exchanging personal stories.
Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb (outer part of the entrance)
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.
Youtube video available with English subtitles.
Rovinj- public space of the city
The installation and performance refer to a person’s ability to raise their environmental consciousness so as to think differently and accept responsibility for their actions. The work consists of soil heaped at the point of passage, and papers with ecological terms such as “environmental justice,” “simplicity of life,” “local environmental care,” “clean technology,” “waste minimisation,” etc. There is a microphone in close proximity of the soil, which amplifies the internal vibrations and the external sounds-reactions of viewers. The sounds I am making are directed towards the soil; their intensity varies from very quiet ones, to loud sounds of pain and grief. I am inviting the viewers to join me – two children and an adult come from the audience and make sounds with me. At the end, I give each of them one of the ecological terms with written date and location, as a material performative artefact. Event: Grisia Youth , summer 2019.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb
In this performance, I describe on a microphone what my imaginary home and atelier would look like and how I could live from my work: selling artefacts and photographs of the performances, and practicing contemporary art methods with primary school children, so that one day they could understand and purchase contemporary art. I seek to emphasise how very important it is to have a working space separate from the sleeping area, which many young artists today do not have. At one point, I start addressing the audience, asking them to draw the floor plan of their imaginary home or atelier. According to their sketches, I “sculpt” their homes from a mixture placed on the table (coconut, cocoa, ground nut, cranberries, dates, corn rose, apple juice), and serve them on paper plates to be consumed.
The performance is dedicated to all young people who work abroad and cannot do their art as much as they want (need) to.
Culture Center KNAP, Gallery Događanja, Zagreb
“Curious head is squinting flats with grey bricks. The associations are cluttering through the needle with the drops of adrenaline, blurring the little mirrors in my chest. Stepping over the color of distrust and reservation. Mind cuddling. Breathing out the plan.”
In this piece, I study the term “habitation” as a passive everyday action, and focus on homes as fictional objects that are impossible to be afforded by young people today. I interviewed friends who live in rented homes or with their parents, asking them to tell me a story about their living space. At one point, we bring to mind the socialist working class, i.e. our parents and grandparents, who were given their homes by their respective companies because they were valuable as workers.
I focus on comparing the past and the present as two opposite poles. Today, a company providing a home for its employee is considered pure fantasy.
With no money to afford our own home, possibilities open up for a taste of life in other countries. However, I cannot help but wonder whether we really want to do it, or whether we are merely forced into it? If we have other options – which are they?
While the interviews are emitted through speakers and a megaphone, I make an edible mixture of dried fruit, shaped in the form of my parents’ flat.
Facing a wall – this time not the one at home, but rather the impossibility of achievement – I share my frustration and helplessness with the audience by breaking the edible supporting walls of an unfulfilled dream and offering them to the public, hoping that one day it becomes
Link to audio: https://soundcloud.com/user-2799856
Location: Filodrammatica, Korzo 28, Rijeka
By performing, I materialize my stiffness in the environment and society that is mostly indifferent to contemporary creative expressions. Shame comes from trying to introduce myself to someone and tell him what I’m doing. Shame is also due to the fact that I find it difficult to find a job in my profession. In this work I create artifacts of shame and pain by imprinting in my own blood all that makes my identity – things on me and in my bag such as identity card, student index, employment record book, health card, condoms, arts association membership card, as many coins as I have in the wallet, the food I carry in the bag, etc. Some prints will be clear, but most of them will become bloody abstract stains. During the printing I will try to present myself to the audience and describe the themes and the focus of my artistic creation.