Nine Hour Delay (2012-ongoing) is a collaborative project with and about Borovo, the last remaining public Yugoslav company. The inability to split and privatize the company’s public assets including its vast manufacturing infrastructure prevents Yugoslavia from fully splitting to this day. Transformed into a battlefield in 1991, Borovo's original headquarters in Vukovar suffered the largest scale architectural destruction: the factory complex was almost completely destroyed. When the workers returned in 1999, only the office complex, the shoe factory, the entrance, and the company hospital remained standing. Today, the production concentrates on high quality hand made shoes, fabricating from a post-apocalyptic ruin. The product reaches us from another planet— a future/past tense.
Nine Hour Delay facilities the reinstatement of Borosana shoe, which has been discontinued during the declining years of Yugoslav communism. Designed by an orthopedic surgeon in collaboration with Borovo, the Borosana shoe was tested and produced by the Borovo's female workers for public sector employees in Yugoslav factories, hospitals and schools. In the 1960’s, the model was first launched in white and navy colors, featuring an ergonomic platform, calculated as ideal for nine hours of standing without hurting the wearer’s spine. After the 1990 Balkan Wars, each of the ex-Yugoslav republics has developed their own version of Borovo, all of which remain public, in economic transition limbo, all claiming their own version of Borovo's history.
Every time this project is exhibited Borosana shoe becomes the official shoe at the exhibition institution, keeping alive its constructivist maxim of great utilitarian design in service of the working woman. The host institution becomes a site of re-institutionalization. The ultimate goal of Nine Hour Delay is to keep Borosan in production as long as possible, suspending the formal dissolution of the country of Yugoslavia. This project freezes the soul of the 20th century in a zombified cryogenic chamber, like the patient in E. A. Poe’s The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, who, hypnotized before the moment of death, stays alive after physical death occurs, bound by the hypnotist. With each new nine-hour work day Yugoslavia persists (insists).
A comprehensive musical inventory of eastern-european architectural b-sides, starring Daniil Kharms, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Sergei Eisenstein and scarcely clad young women. The buildings flash in and out of phase in a full blown seisure-inducing techno trance. Isamu Noguchi storage units shine again.
Annex facilitates strategic placements of art objects through an international network of activist-collectors who temporarily or permanently donate Western masterpieces to institutions lacking national or international protection. The project gives works of art a direct stake in political conflicts by creating architectural safe zones. Due to the delicate nature of this work the ammount of public information is limited. Details on this project, its stages, research, and deployment are available upon request.
After I am finished, I dig out the eyes, cut off the nose, the tongue, I break the fingers, legs, arms, and lastly, I gut. I set the body aside to cool down. Then, I pause a bit. I start thinking about the mortal carcass. What did he think a moment ago, yesterday, last year? Did he want me to forgive him or ease his well-deserved punishment? I imagine him in various stages of life and in ordinary situations. Then I cover him in salt, wrap him in rags, drain the fat and press him, gradually and carefully, to avoid breaking any bones, extracting all blood left in the meat. Next, I wash him repeatedly to remove the salt, and hang him in a dark, well-ventilated room. The surrounding air is paramount for the final quality of the prosciutto. I wait patiently. After he is completely dry, I slice and eat him.
A 74.5 kg (164 lbs), 5.2 meter (17 ft) burmese python discovered in the Everglades was found carrying 87 eggs. The eggs weighed a total of 40 kilos. The burmese species has adapted to the Florida ecosystem and is reproducing at an alarming rate. The Greek Gorgones were said to have 100 snakes in their hair. Eventually, a single snake in Florida will be able to carry 100 eggs. As temperatures rise, the climate will soon allow the the pythons to move inland, colonizing the continental United States, ushering in an age of the Gorgones.
During the first week of the 1999 Belgrade bombing, the zoo director Vuk Bojovic, tried to move all of the mid-size animals to an underground shelter, but none would budge from their cages. He had no sedatives. The sounds of the NATO airplanes unhinged the animals. The regular machinic noise acted against nature, triggering an apocalyptic genetic sequence, a self destruction script. Animals ate their young and killed each other. The sounds of killing and omophagia were unbearable, everything screamed and growled at maximum volume. Once the script ran, the animals would not be freed. The air was too dense to allow any willed movement. The elephant died first from a heart attack. She was the hardest to remove. A staff of volunteers had to cut her up in public and haul her off in pieces. The elephant’s pen was across from the reptile house. According to Vuk Bojovic and accounts from the press, the albino boa constrictor was the only unaffected animal, the only survivor in that section of the zoo. Maybe the albino gene blocked the doomsday sequence?
Without Title is a direct translation of Jedenje Bogova (trans. Theophagia), a diary of a chief officer at the Jasenovac concentration camp, that describes various experiments aimed at cracking Croatian anti-fascists and communist collaborators. The diary was published independently by Goran Cuckovic in 1982, re-igniting the tensions between Serbian and Croatian populations in Yugoslavia. It was one of the most sought after books in the late 1980s, and it was reprinted five times.
After looking for the book for almost ten years, I finally acquired it online, from a Croatian collector. I am not interested in the authenticity of the book’s content. The power that it exerted upon the Serbian public imagination was so immense it begat equally gruesome acts, auto-propagating, writing the next chapter. In 1991, the Yugoslav civil war started. Quotes from the book were printed on Serbian banners during Srebrenica and Vukovar killings.
The entire text is presented as a one large print mounted horizontally on a table top (the entire text, with translation break notations). The table surface of the print is coated in silver particles (scratch-off paint). Initially the surface appears to be a minimal matte gray/silver monochrome. The table is covered with an acrylic case hosting a medium size boa constrictor. As it moves in the case, the snake scratches the gray off, revealing the text in the spots where it rubs the print surface most often.
This series tarted in the Belgrade Institute for the Clinically Insane, where I interned to portray non responsive patients whose illness was attributed to the 1990’s wars in the Balkans. Not allowed and interested to show their faces realistically, I manipulated the images to create surrealist “floating heads”, or phantasmagoric balls of lightning, citing the portraits of the insane and guillotined heads by Théodore Géricault. The portraits are harmnized with instances of architectural exception and imperfection as indexed by Danil Kharms and inforced by instances of insanity lingering in the memory of a landcape (vistas that Hitler saw during his daily walks around Munich).
Sonic affect, absorption, and physical aspects of sound inscription motivate video works like Djinn & Tonic (2011). A narrative inspired by Hofstadter’s Little Harmonic Labyrinth, cybernetic black box, and the dizzying atonal structures, was pressed into an 12 inch record, with a labyrinth etched on one side. Titled Infinity, the Answer to all Questions, the recording served as a soundtrack for the video, a high definition photographic tableau, made up from all the objects comprising the narrative. As the story unfolds, the objects are rearranged slightly, the record needle traverses a labyrinth, making the record skip every time the needle goes over the etched labyrinth wall.
HERE COMES THE DARKNESS, October 29-December 18, 2011, ISU Galleries, University of Illinois at Normal.
Photographic, sculptural and video works housed in a collapsable labyrinth structure organized around the Minotaur, a black cube that responds to electrostatic charge. At the center of the black minimal object, comprised entirely of metal-coated audio tape, resides a Van de Graaf generator, producing a charge that is distributed by visitors moving though the sculpture. In this process, electrostatics animate and distort the sculpture itself, paralleled by an audio transmission that is generated by the charge. Like the Domus Dedali of Greek myth, the piece is lingering with potential, made visceral through the skin. Mountains Will Give, Recital, Black Matter and Open-Form/Welt-Schmerz (2011) are photographic works designed for the Minotaur, acting as portals, diagrams, and apparitions that repeat throughout the sections of the exhibition structure and foreshadow the video works.
The League of Dark Departments have joined forces in forming the Gesture Guild, a bureau for the recovery and acquisition of lost gestures. The Gesture Guild aims to return and reinforce the primordial anxieties responsible for head-bending weight and other liquid spiraling disasters, topical and tropical.
The public, inflicted with recession-based involuntary movement, nervous twitches, and ticks, due to the loss of solid surfaces and time-space incongruity, can join various Guild programs in search of gravitational re-calibration.
FOLLOW ME SAILORS!
WHOEVER TOLD YOU
THERE IS NO TRUE, FAITHFUL
AND ETERNAL SEA?
MAY HIS BLISTERING TONGUE BE CUT OUT!
FOLLOW ME, MY SAILORS, AND ONLY ME,
AND I WILL SHOW YOU SUCH A SEA!
The refrain of this song is derived from a Communist youth work song, a parody on Romeo and Juliet, ridiculing the bourgeois notion of love. The strophes are disasters, topical and tropical, devoted to the survival of SS Patria II carrying the International Congress of Modern Architecture in the Summer of 1933 from Marseille to Athens and back. During the last night of the voyage a terrible storm made the vessel lose control. The sea swamped the deck. To avoid capsizing, the ship gave up and let the gale decide its course. If it had sunk, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Le Corbusier, Fernand Léger, Kurt Seligmann, Christian Zervos and Van Eesteren would have drowned, among others. This song is ideally to be performed while collectively performing physical labor or in a Eastern-European-grand-hotel-like ballroom. The work formations and the ballroom sailor choir should assume symmetrical choreography opposite the viewer. The performer’s voices, drums and clothes should be symmetrical. If there is an uneven number of performers, remove the extras, or position them in the center.
The drum score is included in the score notes, so that the listener can play or sing along. The pdf below contains the score booklet.
A newspaper archive of semi-fictional set of narratives re-telling the deaths of conceptualism's greats as recent Belgrade narco-mafia assassination and kidnappings. The text creates a kind of serial killing spree aimed against the white men of minimal and conceptual art (Donald Judd, Robert Smithson, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Joseph Beuys, Sol LeWitt...) before their arrival to the opening of the first major international survey of conceptual art When Attitudes Become Form curated by Harold Szeeman for Kunsthalle Berne in 1969. The exhibit never takes place since the key artists get killed before ever making their work or on their way to Bern (feminist outcome since the exhibit featured 66 men and only 2 women--Eva Hesse and Jo Ann Kaplan). The methods of killing are direct translations form Serbian contemporary daily newspapers.
Projection for external media facades and giant black projection rooms. Initially conceived as a neon manifesto, Night of the World broadcasts a comforting voice of passion from the dead of darkness.
This screening program is designed for theatre audiences. Prior to the screening, visitors are given a numbered program. After the audience is seated, and attendant announces the intermission, the program benginns. The audience sees a real time mirror image of itself on the projection screen. A line of drummers is seated in the first row. Subtitles (lines) are superimposed via a max patch, numbered, so that the audience members read them out loud as their number appears on the screen. They enact a film designed for theater audiences and a variety theater on stage (a smash product narrative of Marinetti’s Theatre of Surprise and the Black Magic Act conducted by Woland in Bulgakov's Master and Margarita) resulting in the chaos of revolution. The audio is collected for a separate work, accumulating echo chamber, where the sonic crowd grows with each consecutive screening. The text, by being repeated, re-performed and re-recorded facilitates a kind of revival chant. It serves as an accumulation site, a repeated rhythmic framework, for bringing revolutionary imagination back to life.
Apart from being performed on its own, Intermission remains a work that can be optionally inserted during screenings of longer video works like Djinn and Tonic and Here Comes the Darkness.
A project for the sludge metal band the Melvins, a double LP cover for an exhibit curated by Bod Nickas. The cover was etched into black aluminum and manipulated by the Melvins during their performance at Blum and Poe, Los Angeles by a pile of amplifiers strong enough to bend the metal (the sound and kicks crumpled the aluminium sheet). The remainder was scanned for the Melvins to create an LP based on the names constructed for the tracks. The names were etched on the drawing’s grid: BRAIN, BLOOD, BLOOMS.
A parallel track record with random track selections, titled On Being Buried Alive, broadcasts a fractured and disoriented narrative timeline. It is used as a sleep program narrative. Since 2007, a physical dormitory for fifteen people has been produced and can be sent to any venue for a sleep event. Upon requets, bankets, pillows and military sleep mats are shipped to the project site and announced through a set of instructional posters. The package also supplies the parallel-track narrative, The Oath overhead slide, and a light owl extension for the record player projecting the night skies. The audience gatheres, occupies the dormitory, the lights are turned off and the program plays to lull them to sleep. This work is ideal for war and natural disaster emergency evacuation sites. The record player can be powered by a hand crank to avoid wasting any emergency generator power.
This score was created for dark caves and working mines. Designed to test the limits of the french horn instrument, this work can be performed only by Giovanni Punto, Dennis Brain and Barry Tuckwell in its entirety. Since it requires two resurrections (Brain and Punto) Diaboliad stipulates a Satanic pact. The editions are printed with ash cartridge and once the score dries, it is smeared each time it is touched, staining the hands of the reader black.
Accompanying objects: 1.red to purple color suck measuring the length of Jean-Baptiste Lully’s conducting cane (the conductor hurt his toe by banging the baton on the floor while conducting, creating a gangrenous abscess resulting in his death in March of 1687), 2.concert sound absorbing block, used in symphonic recording studios and as packaging material for Imacon film scanners.
This work, conceived as a ongoing collaboration with University of Chicago Department of Astrophysics, functions as an annual index of all galaxies imploding since the work was first exhibited in 2006. Especially pertinent in a time of recession and disaster, recently the editions were developed into personal one-offs, where annual editions can be ordered corresponding the year of worst personal failure by the person purchasing the work. The edition is sent flat and crumpled into a pile by the collector and hidden away to gather dust and ruin.