Review: HOME

Andrijana Stojkovic’s 7min 30 video piece is situated about two thirds up the left hand wall of the exhibition space. This work is shown on a TV screen and not projected like the other films. So this piece is physically the smallest and most difficult to view due to its situation in a corner of the space. The fact that the film is in a corner highlights the cornering of her subjects.
Stojkovic’s piece titled ‘HOME’ which was made in 1996 explores the situation of a couple ( we perceive the man and woman depicted as a couple due to their sharing a bed space) who are living in a gym turned refugee base. A text explaining the identity of the man and woman featured appears either at the beginning of the piece. When I viewed the work I read this text at what I thought to be the end of the piece, if a work is looped then where is the end or beginning?

The printed text accompanying the exhibition is presumptuous and overwhelming. The oversized folded pamphlet printed with the colours green, white and orange(gold). In a time of recession why print a text where one fourth is explanation and the rest is colour and images from the exhibited works? The whole other side of that folded piece of paper is blank which suggests to me pure waste and contradiction. The blurd in the white booklet refers to the exhibition as hoping to activate within us ‘ some sort of responsibility for coming to an awareness of the complexity of otherness and the complications of “living with others”’ is there a danger in presupposing a certain attitude, is it easier to make an exhibition fit together if there is an already predetermined attitude directed towards the viewing public?

Going back to the particulars of the piece, HOME draws the attention in by focusing on small details of everyday life, a quiet humble life. We are shown hands making food with a limited kitchen set, two people eating the food, the clearing away and after diner activate of mending a clock and a game of cards. The mending of a clock seems significant during a time when perhaps that is the most abundant aspect of life, passing and spending time. In our busy work filled days we wish for more time whereas in this piece time is the enemy.

The crux of this work I thought was the final parting shot which pans slowly outward. It is only during this that we see the couple are in a dormitory style setting. What the viewer saw earlier as a simple domestic even private scene is shattered to reveal a crowded forced ‘home‘. The technique of simple camera observation and a focus spanning outward toward the end I found very effective. I say effective in the sense that I experienced empathy for these people and watched the video piece again. Stojkovic’s observational style and fact like stating of events allows the viewer to connect with her subjects on a level because we feel we have seen something of their lives. The lack of dialogue or the choice not to interview these people indicates their voicelessness but in making a video piece they have a visuality. The question lingers, what happens to people like this in times of economic struggle? They are already victims of an unfair system. Will the second part of the project The Prehistory of the Crisis (II) due in June give us any answers?

Posted By: Edel Horan (