Two channel video installation
9:07 min. loop
Sound: interviews of four young Roma actors
Screen 1: study of the four youngsters acting
Screen 2: animated paper cuts of 4 different movie stars
Commissioned by Biro Beograd and the Open Society Institute / Decade of Roma Inclusion – Soros Foundation for "On Use Value of Art – Art as a Social Practice"
With the support of
Amarodrom e.V., http://www.amarodrom.de/content/du-held
RespectABel, Berlin youth program for democracy and tolerance, against violence and right-wing extremism
and „Gewaltige Männer“ an initiative by Südost Europa Kultur e.V. Berlin
Shown at Cultural Centre REX, Belgrade, Serbia
and Babel Art Space, Trondheim, Norway http://www.babelkunst.no/2010/u100415-1e.html
Rade, Klitsho, Dino, Zeljko and other Roma youngsters from Berlin-Wedding meet from time to time to play theatre together. They improvise scenes of their daily lives, partly authentic, partly fictitious. I met them through Hamze Bytyci, Roma and professional actor, who has his roots as well as the young persons, in former Yugoslavia. In November 2009 I accompanied them for a three-day intensive course to a holiday camp next to the lake Müggelsee in the outskirts of Berlin.
They developed a play while acting. Their focus was on role models for men and it’s contradictions regarding their own reality, a reality torn between its former Roma traditions and their displacement in a poor German neighbourhood, lacking of economical and political future.
The topic of honour killing came up and Ride, Litho, Dino and Elko decided to go on with it, as they regarded that topic as almost a symptomatic one, mirroring their reality reduced on yellow press headlines. While just accompanying their rehearsals, I tried out different formats to give that topic and their work an artistic relevance. I wanted to avoid a voyeuristic view on just youngsters located at the edge of society, but create within the viewer an uncertainty of what is authentic and what is fictitious, whether a topic like “honour killing” is a part of the youngsters reality or just a play with prejudges.
“Just ordinary plays about honour killing!” is therefore Marlon Brando’s alias Rade’s first sentence and you may ask yourself if it is just all about an ordinary play. I tried to give a turn by changing perspective: The kids are represented by famous actors; their HEROES, their role models. They gave them their own voices by giving an interview on the story, their role, its challenges and their own intentions as actors. “Marlon, what’s special about Rade, why where you interested in that guy, what of his do you want to show your audience?”
I decided to split and combine all the different aspects in a two channel video installation. There are young peoples faces acting, there are famous actors animated with very simple means, almost slapstick like and there is the sound, almost from the off and its confusing, sometimes horrifying statements: “Then we shot her. What else could we have done?”