Historical Parallels of (Self)Colonizing Processes Within Central Europe / The Theory of Selfcolonizing Cultures Within the Context of Post-Colonial Theory.

Ivan Jurica

Oct 09, 2014 - Oct 16, 2014
Galéria HIT, Bratislava

Oct 09, 2014 6PM

This installation conceives the formal artistic part of postgradual doctoral study of the same title. It is based on an event that shook throughout Slovakia and which is being considered as the first direct impact on the country/nation within the global war against terror. In the end of June 2013 several Slovak citizens were killed or wounded by members of Taliban movement, or its offshoots. There were, actually, two such incidents happening within few days, as well in different areas and contexts. The first one brought over assassination of almost entire international group of professional climbers, who were attacked at their base at Nanga Parbat peak in Pakistan, including two known Slovak climbers Peter Šperka and Anton Dobeš. Second incident happened just few days after in Afghanistan, bearing one killed and two heavily wounded Slovak soldiers within UN-corps.
The installation elaborates the first mentioned case, more precise its media coverage (within Slovakia). It seems as this case turned for the media as more interesting/more potential, as, compared to the second one, it occurred so to say on a private level (voluntary expedition in terms of taking over a peak as opposite to official state/international military mission). Exactly the private status of the alpine expedition, combined with the official collective status of sport as an untouchable apolitical activity, conceived the major perception of assassinated Slovak citizens in terms of absolute innocence and absolute victim. The traditional Western anti-Islamism and the rise of Catholicism/Christian ideology into state ideology/culture only shifted (with an intense support of Slovak government and media representation) the one-dimensioned construction of “victims of international terrorism” onto collective national level. All these topics, introduced here briefly in terms of preface to the exhibition, have more detailed and precise elaboration within the installation itself, as well as within the written part of the doctoral research/thesis. Another text that conceives the very basis of this artwork, written by its author, will be displayed too (Nevinné obete, romboid 8/2013).
The work aims, via targeted extracting and research of event’s media representation, to re-shake and to dismantle the popular one-dimensioned construction of a victim, respectively of the dichotomy relation victim-perpetrator/terrorist with the means of art. Its main principle is conceived by confrontation/juxtaposition of media “reality”, its impact on collective perception of terror and of Islam (in Slovakia) and of post-colonial theory, or its selected thoughts. The latter mentioned are extended by thoughts of theoreticians coming from post-socialist countries, shifting and specifying the post-/colonial context of Eastern Central (or post-socialist) Europe consequently to the displayed and elaborated event. In these terms the spatial solution is divided into following units/topics:
Archive of incident´s media representation; Eastern Central European self-colonizing tradition/force; Sport as a/political category; Nation and nature/mountains; Post-secular societies; Genealogies of colonialism/capitalism/fascism; Dispensable and valuable lives.
Work´s formal solution then only complements the status of used material within the Western and post-socialist societies either as official collective knowledge (the media “reality”), or knowledge strongly marginalized, or even excluded (the colonial history and post-colonial theory). In this context it is necessary to state that colonial history, or more precisely the colonial mentality, constitutes one of the main pylons of European/Western modern mentality and culture. The doctorial research as whole bears a twofold attempt: to adopt post-colonial theory into Central Eastern Europe (or post-socialist cultures) and its inserting into general collective knowledge on one hand, on the other then parallel re-politisation of art. The outcome should result in shifting the gaze on oneself within the context of a nation, as well in the context of reality/truth.
Finally I would like to express my gratitude to the team of HIT Gallery (Dorota Kenderová/Jaro Varga), to Jakub Gavalier and Marcel Mališ for help and cooperation.