They were, those people, a kind of solution

The project They were, those people, a kind of solution is funded through European Union’s Creative Europe program.

Stories, temporarily

Ana Dana Beroš and Matija Kralj, Goran Dević, Tonči Vladislavić, Lea Vene and Ivana Čuljak
Gallery Nova, Zagreb
11/04 – 02/06/2018

Stories, Temporarily brings together artistic observations about the social situations related to the causes and effects of migrations. At a time when there seems to be no adequate political leverage that would enable systemic shifts the causes of migrations, the works gathered in this exhibition emphasize the importance of creating temporary communities and collectivity.

In a confusing present and an even more unclear future, by telling stories, putting together disjointed fragments into some sort of provisionary wholes, the works included in this exhibition do not accept the normalization of the destructive consequences of migrations, and refuse to give up on pointing out cruel consequences of political opportunisms that have almost stopped being news. Those are not narratives created for others and in their name, but primarily the stories that we tell ourselves in order to question the possibilities and ambivalences of our own engagement.

Over the last few years, video-artist Matija Kralj and architect Ana Dana Beroš have researched and documented the (de)construction of the so-called Balkan Route, from the transition center Dobova on the Slovenian-Croatian border, and the unofficial refugee settlement Idomeni at the Macedonian – Greek border to the town of Mardin in northern Mesopotamia, within reach of the Turkish-Syrian border. They recorded there the everyday life of the town’s refugees. The installation Notes From Greece, 2016–2017 was created specifically for the Nova Gallery space and is a part of their long-term project Geotrauma. The set up shows in parallel two narratives of drifting, floating borders. One of them shows recordings of refugee camps under military supervision and management in northern Greece, ad hoc evacuated "parasitic tent cities" at gas stations right after the closing of Idomeni in the summer of 2016. The other shows recordings of the notorious Moria detention center, a sort of dumpsite for people. Geotrauma notes the traces of expanding borders and the interconnectedness of effects of the European migration policies and international humanitarian organizations as well as a mass of voluntourists and anarchist activists in the "disaster industry".

The observational documentary film Buffet Željezara (2017, Petnaesta Umjetnost) by director Goran Dević follows Erna and Dževad, owners of a buffet that is about to close. The buffet is located at the bus terminus by the entrance to the factory premises of Sisak Ironworks, one of the leading ironworks in Eastern Europe during socialism. Filmed using the observational technique, mostly with a single camera that recorded "bar banter" in the week before the closing during the buffet’s full working hours, the film shows the irreversible effects of transition, like impoverishment, economic collapse and the loss of hope and human dignity in the workers’ community. To get to Germany, the last remaining paradise on Earth, is the new utopia of the former socialist working man and women.

I’m Telling You a Story... with Needle and Thread by Tonči Vladislavić, Lea Vene and Ivana Čuljak was created as part of the Creation, Affirmation, Integration workshop for asylum seekers in Croatia that CIMO – Center for Research of Fashion and Clothing ( carried out in collaboration with RCT – Rehabilitation Center for Stress and Trauma. Held between 24th November 2016 and 4th May 2017 in the Kutina and Zagreb reception centers for asylum seekers, with migrants from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Turkey, the workshops introduced new elements related to their experiences of displacement and migration into the traditional technique of textile embroidery. Along with the therapeutic effect of the embroidery process, multilateral communication was established during the workshops. In it the participants interpreted the newly formed memories in a displaced situation by relating their specific experiences, thus filling out their temporary stay with new content. This therapeutic creative project represents a mapping of getting together that, besides the social framework, is not devoid of an emotional effect mediated by the act of embroidery. The works themselves are thus evident visual and creative records also representing the marks of exchanges made in a mutual dialog.

For the duration of the exhibition, the recent edition of the Život umjetnosti magazine (Institute of Art History, Zagreb) entitled Trans|migrancy: The Psychogeographies of the Threshold, which was edited by guest editor Ana Dana Beroš, is available for purchase in the Nova Gallery.

From 11th to 17th April, the Nova Gallery showroom hosts the conference #TROS – the Route of Solidarity: Citizens Pathways Towards Inclusive Europe, whose goal is to support and increase the number of active citizens who practice engagement and mutual understanding with migrants and refugees. The conference organizer: PANK Association – Active Independent Creatives Platform.