The river in me; the river around me

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.

A Reverse Line Game

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!

Pacify of Shivers-Exhibition of the Earthquake Artifacts

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.

To Reflect Possible

Knap Centar- Zagreb

2020

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.

Home Displaced

AK Gallery- Koprivnica

2020

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.   

in(visible) nomads/emptiness of home

2019

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

When did you fall in love with knowledge?

2017

Portugal-São Luis

This project is a work in progress in which I focus on finding the trigger that activates our love of knowledge. During the residency programme Cultivamos Cultura in São Luis (Portugal), I interviewed artists from around the world and asked them when exactly they fell in love with knowledge, what knowledge is, and which subject they would like to invent and introduce into the school curriculum. I am pinpointing the exact period of time when we discovered knowledge and began to yearn for it. Was it during regular education? Or was it later in life? How do we awake a person’s desire for new knowledge that can be used on a daily basis? The project is a critique of existing school systems, which are based on receiving information without practical use.

With this space intervention, I seek to encourage people of all ages to share with me the creative strategies for opening up creative channels that can be applied in practical life. Having collected the statements, I wrote them down on stone blocks that I had removed from the sidewalk, and then put them back in.

Knowledge comes from my interacting with the world. Gail Hocking

Knowledge is pattern seeking: lost and found and lost and found. Before I knew what knowledge was and everytime ideas syncronize for me for the first time. Sarah Hermanutz

Knowledge is a process that takes the mistakes from the future and moves them into the past, they skip the future. Nenad Popov

Knowledge is an illusion that destroys previous ilussions. It is oximoronic endles task which allows us to turn unknown unknowns into something else, expending our awareness of our own ignorance. Manuel Furtado

Special thanks to Martha De Menezes and Cultivamos Cultura.

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Self-reflexive herbs

Herb installation in the forest near Krapina

2016

In this ephemeral space intervention, I planted an herbal installation in a forest area. I replanted sedum, a cover ground plant, from one part of the forest to another. With these plants, I formed the word “Working?”

I chose this word as a marking and a resting spot in the forest. I relate it to the current social and economic problems that are particularly felt by the younger generations. This is a place for reflection and self-reflection.

radis zeleno

Moment, now

Mount Kozara- Bosnia And Herzegovina

2016

A garden is a living thing, a place that is marked and sometimes abandoned.
The basic concept of the project was to plant a land art installation with medicinal and edible herbs. The herbs were shaped like letters, forming the sentence “Moment, Now.”

By studying the period of “now-time,” I seek to determine which common thoughts get our minds “out” of the present moment. When I say present-presence, I do not necessarily mean one’s total concentration, but rather a more spontaneous and natural awareness of the present moment through creative activity.

The meaning of the word “now” subtly pervades through the issues in my immediate society, such as uncertainty, volatility, corruption, environmental and social crisis, etc.

By using the gesture of planting, I occupy myself, I seek to leave the product of my experience to viewers and passers-by.

For me, creativity has a lot of different variations, views and actions, which produce an interpretation of a specific issue. I use performance as a medium that creates awareness of the body, and plant-based living space installations that bring us back to the “moment of now” when planted.

Special thanks to Ars Kozara for their support and help with this project.

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To have or to be

Grožnjan- Gallery Fonticus

2015

In this exhibition, the stones mark a ritual, a persistent game of the waves and passage of time, as well as a change in form. I am stopping the flow of waves by breaking their persistence and claiming the stones as the ritual continues. The process results in text printed on the stones; sometimes recipes, sometimes drawings of plants. Many of the captions have a cynical deflection such as “Tea to fight capitalism” or “Mixture against greed.”

I present several unprinted pebbles and a tool for writing on the stones. I ask the viewer to intervene in the form of comments on the unprinted stones.
I combine environmental and social issues with the problem of education. Let us bring to mind what Plato said a long time ago: “Ignorance is the root of all evil.” His opinion counters the entire Western-Christian civilization, which aims at raising hordes of illiterate believers/consumers to blindly serve the newly-fabricated nationalism or religious dogma.
It reveals that environmental issues are parallel to the problems caused by poor and profit-based education. Bad environmental solutions can be fixed with good education, since education broadens horizons and sharpens the perception of the world around us. An educated individual can more easily resist bouts of nationalism, discrimination by colour or sexual orientation, etc. Education brings with itself a freer approach to life and facilitates breaking free from dogma. An educated person is not susceptible to advertising or opinions of political usurpation. Education brings with itself the idea of sharing. An educated person is aware of environmental neglect and the aggressive exploitation brought upon by neoliberalism.

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