The Phenomenon of Othering between the Subject and its Representations

The research for this project derived from printmaking palimpsest process in 2017, when I attempted to explore workings of the human mind in terms of perception and experience of self. It led me to the deadlock of impossible distinction between subjective and objective, internal and the real. All one knows and sees is so because it is gazed at through the lens unique and specific to one. As Maria Todorova said, you can’t separate what you know from how you know it. This meant I had to go back and examine my own background, memories and experiences to understand how they influenced my views, presence and interaction with the world. The majority of the exploration focused on the experience of being an expatriate from the country in the Balkan region, with very complex geopolitical and historical circumstances that made the matter only more problematic and layers to be stripped down innumerable. It also meant I had to consult others from the region in the same circumstances, to understand their outlook and try to understand to what extent they overlap.

 

There are two ends to the work between which I keep transitioning throughout the process – personal, internal view and worldly and general one. Attempting to be completely objective and dissect a subject in a sterile and scientific manner, the process leads me through ventures to extract certain phenomenon from its context and intensive cycles of interaction with material that seems to be a lead to the core of problematics. To see where the link will break exposing the matter which ties it to a certain context and narrative. Making gelatine is a reference to man-made representations and appropriations of the Real, as a process of transformation of something ill, obscene and disgusting as a bloody bone, to an appealing, desirable and, once again, consumable. Or, at the opposite end, attachment of certain negative connotation to the subject and construction of the representation needed for a particular narrative and stigmatisation of the subject. The experiment always fails, only internalising the questioning and bringing it back to myself. As William Kentridge points out; every work you make is your self-portrait, no matter what your subject is.

 

The work in the show is an embodiment of that split and dwelling over unknown, ambiguous and unresolved. It tries to depict a very small excerpt of an endless mediation of the subject. The overarching and common tone that served me as one main example for much broader phenomena is the reputation of the Balkan region, Ottoman heritage and its presence in everyday life and culture, the repression or the ignorance to the same and the perception of it from the outside. The issues of Othering, the real Subject, its representations and the tension between two are present in each of the elements, where the Subject merges with materials that carry a specific stigma, only to culminate in the Deconstruction of a coffee mountain / Equilibrium. Inverted and mirrored coffee mountain is mediated by and reflected from the pool of Turkish coffee, blurring the line between The Real and imagined (constructed) even further, forcing one settle for the ambiguous and undecided.

 

Balkanisation: Othering, Imitations, Imaginaries (link to the thesis)

 

 

Link to a pdf portfolio