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Archive for August, 2008

guerilla in culture

I thank the writers of nice welcome back notes!

I would name this photo "WELCOME, I got this, you just proceede!"

I would name this photo "Welcome, I got this, you just proceede!"

I appologize for promissing too much – like another text the very next day after the comeback. Time is speeding, it is not me who is slow:)

Hanging on a wire, waiting for the change...

Hanging on a wire, waiting for the change...

Many obligations are now on my timetable, so I am shorter with time then ever, it seams to me. That comes with a package of being “guerilla in culture” as I named it long ago. In one of my films, I claim its purpose. I owe one explanation here as well.

...just to catch your flame...

...dancing through the fire, just to catch your flame...

Culture is something usualy overviewed regionaly, nationaly, in decades or centuries, etc. Actually, there is always a necessity to give a reference directing us to have an idea of a context when we discuss or simply consume cultural/artistic production. A more general reference, that comes before who made the piece, and why. That more general reference belongs to a certain structure. Structures then have their ways of functioning, working, producing. There is no such structure that equaly favourizes all production. And there is a reason for that: structure has its interests, and an agenda comes out of those. Structure doesn’t allow random production, it sellects what it will support. In film production in Europe, state or regional, even city funds play a big role. That is because market is smaller for products in languages that are not global, so films do not earn as much as for example films in English. So states invest in that cultural branche. My country is so small, that no film that has been produced here for long 18 years or so couldn’t pay itself. So I can say I am sure that Serbian film production has depended on public funds. That imposes total control of the state, or authorities. In my evironement, the given structure is the Serbian state – that is. Films that come out with the support of public budget have been internationally judged as basically crap. Inside the country people watch domestic movies, but still regret the “good old days” when we had better movies. The impression one gets, when one overviews modern Serbian films, is that “the state just had a poor choice and chose what it could”… or, “time is needed to see things from a distance to be able to artisticaly digest them”, or “the authorities are too buisy, in crizes, in transition, noone pays attention to films, they are such as they are, life goes on, until better times when we will have better movies”… All in all, it looks like there is no cultural politics of our state, like things are spontanious and not organized. I in fact believe that that is precisely deliberately and carefully chosen cultural politics of the state! My state doesn’t want strong films, dealing with well detected and real problems or challanges. Instead, all the latest local movies are so general. Lose. Simple stories about simple, often miserable main caracthers.

...you do something to me, something deep inside...

...you do something to me, something deep inside...

 Yet, there is a lot of us who are not favourized by the structure, so we are not produced by state. we are off the budget, but pay taxes to fill the budget. Among a lot of us, there is just very fiew of us, who see that there is a plan behind the national production. Very fiew who think about the structure we are in. When you think about it, and know it, you see yourself on the margine – as an author in your own country. But, you have intention to work. If you have that clear picture of the structure wanting easy, weak, unimportant films, that reveal nothing and raise no questions, but justify why things are the way they are (now who would remember such plot for longer then 20 minutes after seeing it?) even when they deal with the issue of recent wars, and if you want to make movies that are daring, that confront and treat real problems, that are strong, you know you will get no support from the public budget. And market is still not established – we need one step before we get to free market, before we can mobilize films to do what they are designed to do and that is pay themselves and bring some money.

not sponsored bt Technicom!

Not sponsored by Tadiran!

 That step is making films with no money. Impossible? No. Doable. That is guerilla in culture. I am making my film. Feature fiction film. But on video, sure. I am doing everything on it, and trying to make the shooting last as short as possible. First I made sure the script is doable fast. Then I found comarades to make a guerilla squad. Sure, we operate hard, in jungles, appart from one an other because we have other things to do to survive at the same time, like we have to eat during the process. Then I have to call call call all those who would join the battle/ the opperation. Then we all have different moments when we can do it… all followed with the risk of losing the logistic support in equipment that can only last shortly… so I call… trying to catch exact people I want on it, into same moment. No money in this. Organization. Hard communication. Fight. No sleep. Other obligations, work, work, work… Calls. Yes. No. In 2 days. yes. no. In 5. She cannot. In 3 she can, but he cannot. they both can in a week. but the director of photography cannot… I still call. I am putting up a possible plan. Sneaking into locations. I will make it! again! Like I did many times! with shorter films. But now, with this one! I am in the middle of a guerilla operation. When I start the film shooting, that means I have managed the plan. That means I am back to my profession – directing. And then instead of being exhausted, I get a strong will and an adrenalin hit, and I do my job! I am not in this war zone to get tired, but to get to do my job! Because I have something to say. And this is the only way. And it is worth it!

One

One

I must admit, now, that I will probably manage to post photos in close future. I have three weaks to make a plan and shoot everything. Still rewriting the script. Making it sharper in its style and expression. There I have to be sure I do exactly what I need to do.

two

two

This above is my explanation of guerilla in culture. Placing my product to public will be new guerilla action. The only not so combat part of the process is editing and postproducing, because it hapenes with only one person at the time and in one or 2 places. Piece of cake.

three

three

I do it because future obligates. Because it is not true that all filmmakers from Sebia are the same. Because there needs to be a record on us very few who have our rights to be from here and chose to belong to different culture, that we create!

four - go!

four - go!

 

Photos by: Jelena Markovic

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Vacation or intimidation?

Vacation I did take, still i was working while it lasted. Besides some travelling, my working hours have been the same, only in a nicer landscape…

Neretva, Sutjeska, Drina...

Drina river. I love all rivers. Yet, even names of my favourit rivers awake pain in me: Neretva, Sutjeska, Drina...

It has to do with my memory/knowledge of all the battles… named after rivers. It also has to do with sights of dead bodies flowing down Drina river. That I saw. The rest I asked about, trusting that I would learn more from media of conversation then from TV. So I got to be doomed. Still, I wouldn’t chose for silence if I was taken back in time. I always ask people, I learned to mistrust TV.

The time I was away/from my blog/was filled with pain and worries. Before I left, I wrote a text but I couldn’t bring myself to post it, not my personal sorrow for those who suffer the war. I finally got news from my friends in Georgia…

“M…. and I and a lot of friends are in Yerevan. We
left Tbilisi this morning. It was so hard to leave. We’ll be observing
further developments from here. I feel paralysed. I’m so worried about
people who are still there, especially in Tskhinvali. All these people
displaced again, and bitter. There won’t be any hope for peace in
people’s hearts now for at least 2 more generations I’m afraid.”

“…as I told you i couldn’t stop thinking about Georgia, and you and all your efforts. also, i felt, or i was burning with guilt actually, because i remember clearly that I said “something is cooking up, this country is getting ready for war, people”. and you knew what I meant, even our translator didn’t know… I saw people adjusting their eyes to the sight of big military trucks filled with soldiers. once that becomes normal and not noticeable, the war has entered through the back door. and when you add Russia to that situation, oh my! it is an explosion, and it gets too late to give peace point of view in bitter times of conflict…
so, the guilt made me think and think…

… I hate russian government! I hate putin and medvedev! and that doesn’t make me a lover of georgian government, which i hate too! will I forever be on the side that everybody claims is impossible:)))?” – was a part of my response.

I am back. Yes, I got a couple of silly threats, I even got just purely hate mails:) some women wrote to me about my physical ugliness. I erased such comments, I found mercy for those who mistake my blog for “face of the year” contest, and my self-portraits an attempt to look nice, instead of a place to read some thoughts and reflections, and some images that express ideas, emotions, something in the air. It would only humiliate the writers of those comments, if I actually post their clumsy notes.

My first real text is coming tomorrow, as I have work to do, starting my film shoot in some days (guerilla in culture and film making), starting a lot more then that. In work to come, I find a lot of inspiration for my blog. I hope to make a decent comeback. And I do not fear. Those are words. And words I read.

Good night!

detail from my work in progress /collage side of my activity/

detail from my work in progress /collage side of my activity/

This piece is 1×1,70m large, or so. It is called “floating in the stardust”. I chose the photo out of focus, I will replace it some day:)

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freedom

start

start

this reminds me of freedom!

this reminds me of freedom!

 

There. 2 photos I cought the other day. Instead of writing a text, I spent too much time reading blogs today. I failed my probation period as a photographer of food for a supplement magazine on food of one daily newspaper. I wonder why I failed it… My photos are getting published, but I behieved not well. I showed I didn’t like the fact that tasks are getting multiplied before we talk about the contract. Then, I came to a session, when the editor changed his opinion and wanted the photos already taken brought to another place, as he postponed the session for the next day… so he had to wait for me to bring the discs. I only had a camera on me. He was angry that it took me some time. I was tired and was paying taxies all day. Should I be honored to photograph fish, and pay my taxy rides to do it? I failed. I fired myself. The other option was to be on the stand by and see if the editor gets less angry for I haven’t been on the stand by all the time… I gave in 2 discs from 2 sessions. I payed about 5 taxi rides and got 1 meal, nice fish. I was also given a lesson on how things are not getting done for papers. Finaly, I sent an SMS firing myself, not quiting, just so that I give a lesson back, on how things are supposed to be done when you deal with someone you are not satisfied with, as editor was not with me. i wonder weather I am vain and cannot take such a lesson, or I was exhausted, or simply at the age of 34 I cannot afford to volunteer and be at the disposal until they offer me a contract, which here takes always much longer then agreed at start… Maybe it is the same elsewhere, I wouldn’t know. I feel relieved, I must say.

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Indeed I start this text with my answer to Sarah’a comment on self-centered society of mine:

sarah, you get much more then my point, now as ever!
the combination is tragic, sure, in full and real, not figurative sense, for so many lives have been brutally taken away in wars, violently, by force, against natural flow… this story about arrogant attitude as a conventional style of acting of Serbs, particularly Belgradians, brings unpleasant feelings in me on daily bases, and I live with those unwillingly…
Arrogant attitudes provoked by nothing I met before, or saw in other places, like Paris, for example. And just as you said, there is an essential difference: one arrogance is just stupid/the Parisian one, and the Belgradian one is both stupid and tragic.
Believing that Belgrade/Serbia is the point of release of all the important worlds’ news, Belgradians support the common local denial we discuss so often, the denial of genocide, ethnic cleansing and war crimes, denial of civic responsibility for States’ politics. It fascinates me how easily the image of arrogance is seen as a turn on, for example, inside the same isolated society that sees itself as main and central instead isolated and unimportant! Like: the more arrogant you are, the more they respect you! Tragic and stupid mixed together, that is a genuine attitude of a randomly picked person from Belgrade…
Further more, there is another thing that bugs me: Belgrade is particularly arrogant to the rest of Serbia. Often you hear over here: Belgrade is not Serbia, not like the rest of Serbia.
Such statement means: Belgrade is better, more advanced, more open, more cosmopolitan, more Europe, then the rest of the country. What a denial! In fact, Belgrade is the centre of all evil that commanded wars and crimes, that ordered massive executions as well as political assassinations… The only difference is that Belgrade is bigger and more expensive then the rest of the country. Oh yeah, and more money circulates in Belgrade then in the rest of Serbia, so there are more possibilities to make a living, to grab a piece of cake! And it gets on my nerve! Sarah, I will copy this into a new short post and maybe go on, it is getting long, and you got me started:)

Here we are, and there, no doubt, depends on whom. I am in this place above other places, or ironically so. It seams, from my lines, that I hate the place and being here. But neither of those are true. I love my city and I had occasions to leave it. I lived in another country for only 2 years of my life. I did travel often all my life and I want to do it in future too. But I am here by my own will, interest and curiosity. It happened so that I haven’t traveled abroad lasr year, but the world kept coming to my place, and I thank my friends for that, I thank you Saeah, above all. Right now I have 2 foreign guests staying with me. I love keeping my place open for visits. And I do so to such an extent that I have been accused by one friend of mine from over here as guilty for having my own small apartment: why do I have it and not him? what on earth gives me that privilege? How dare I present myself as an equal to him? He lives with his parents and is of my age. His position is one of the victim, while I am fraud, the rich bitch who is given more and pretends we are all equal… Hey, many times before that, I had offered him to live with me, as an equal flat mate, I didn’t ask for money. Hey, as students, I rarely could have afforded a cup of coffee during the break, and never any snack. He used to always have chocolate on him – his mama used to put one in his pocket every morning. I never thought we were not equal because I couldn’t afford food and he had even chocolate – money for chocolate in the 90ies in Serbia meant you could provide for decent food too. Then, for some time, we were both renting apartments. We both worked for the national TV as associates, I had excellent reviews on several of my shows, each piece I made was worshiped, my work had brilliant reputation, yet he as a person, a mail, had a better reputation then me as a female. I had experience in working for ARTE, I held an award for feature documentary, yet I was getting less jobs on the national TV then him. He even had to be my supervisor on my first piece for redaction of culture! All that while my CV and professional experience were much stronger then his, while my shows were a dream come true to all editors I worked with… all those editors still preferred working with a male. They called him a genius. There was no name for me. Just my brilliant work. I still thought we were equal. Then I got my small attic to live in, and he went back to his parents. And we became unequal, with him being victimized by my kind that pretends so well… Today he has a feature fiction behind him, which I still don’t. I believe his film is average, he can do much better, and I wouldn’t allow myself to waist the opportunity while making a feature fiction by making it average. Also, that same person became recently a LDP member, the small emancipatory political party (that I vote for), claiming that he is politically more left then me. That his short membership comes at the moment when my 10 years of activism means nothing when compared to his political engagement. He is one of most intelligent persons I know here. The arrogance he allows himself is outrageous, considering the fact that for many years after genocide in Srebrenica, he was denying it.

You see, I use personal stories and experiences to make certain points: arrogance that I started this text on, is actually a deeply patriarchal issue. Even intellectuals are arrogant in a stupid, opportunist ways, in chauvinistic spirit, but in the name of justice. Because some of those intellectuals of some recognized authority are victimized by me. Because my parents sold away the big apartment and got a smaller one, until we renovated together a piece of some roof we also bought and made it my place. His family is much richer then mine, mine had many hungry times, still does. Like I still do. But I do not give a shit. I want to tell all my readers that this arrogant place is manipulated by patriarchal minds, even among the democrats. Men here will never learn that they have victimized women, but the second they see a woman standing on more concrete grounds, in any field of life, they will scream out: where is equality?

women working, image stays invisible...

women working, image stays invisible...

Where was equality when my talent was proved and judged higher and i was valued less? That is still the case: how did one less talented person get to make a feature fiction film, and I did not? I work and work and get rejected. But what I manage to self produce is uncompromising. And is not arrogant. The only not arrogant art here can become in such way, in my opinion. Films even weaker, incomparable with the one I mentioned as average by my friend, are even more arrogant for being called art! And as that very same friend said in one of his articles, the problem of Serbian film production is that there is no market, no commercial films that will make money, or at least pay themselves back, there are only films produced with state or city budget. (He intelligently explained how the same people from film business keep that business only their own privilege, since open market would make more opportunities for more people! this way, same people switch from juries to applicants and keep awarding each others! the rest of us stand no chance, unless some obscure ties and bounds mingle in, all on political bases…) Is that not an arrogant way to produce the important part of one country’s culture? I judge that as a patriarchal model as well!

I say: patriarchal way of thinking produced wars! That way of thinking was preserved in all generations of this country, in all its societies, in all its circles! I exposed my personal example in some details, because I find it is a clear, plastic example of patriarchal thinking which is running many strams here, main and alternative/if we consider my friend alternative. and he is alternative. but patriarchal, yet intelligent to fight those better, stronger, more talented, fight them with self victimization! (over one small attic that was offered to him to share…) Arrogant alternative stream that is run by patriarchal minds, friends or not, are a sly, sneaky, thus dangerous phenomenon, very seductive in offering that alternative side opposed to the ugly mainstream, is in fact more my cultural enemy then alliance. I dare say it!

Arrogance. The more arrogant you are here, the more they respect you. I will never be arrogant. I chose to be a bitch who speaks her mind. And I need not to get paid and motivate myself in that way to write an article for an online magazine. I write here what I have to say. I do not sell out. Ha! Yet, I am alive and I hunt many minds, by barely being. I make no other efforts, I just go straight the way I chose. And I do not bitch arround, using my blog. My blog is read by less people then the article by my friend, in which he proclaims all people of his generation his fake friends, in case they have a place to live alone. He uses that one aspect to divide people and to challenge everybody to apologize for living alone, forgetting all other aspects which offer him safety that some of us have never been given or provided. Yes, I fight back the sly tricky article in which I am judged as a suspicious parasite member of society, while I was working 24/7 for crunches of bread, not allowing any humiliation, not standing a chance as a talented female to be called genius even in a joke, not standing a chance to gain a minimum of means to make a film, because it would kick ass! everybody’s in this country! it will, actually. Because yes, one culture, may it even be Serbian, cannot artificially keep a mass media like film only in frames of state budget production, and yes, I will make a film for the market that will pay itself back and make more money! That is the logic of film making, art or not! In that name, I will reveal one more of my poems that I will post separately in “my poems” category. It is a poem, hopefully lyrics for some bands’ song…

my grand mother and me, both have done a lot for others, that has never been seen. I love her, I respect her!

two women: my grand mother and me, both have done a lot for others, that has never been seen. I love her, I respect her!

Free thinker, quite modern

Self-proclaimed, recognized

Or

A very manly song

I tell you

He told me

She knows, she told me

He told me, she told me

He thinks, she knows

It’s something to talk about

Why am I the last to know

Fuck you all

I will rock

On top

In power

Limited but I, I, I, I, I

You’ll never get as far as I got

I’ll make sure

I have to rock and I learned how

There are things you cannot learn

There are things you cannot learn

There are things you cannot learn

Cannot learn, cannot

I have learned

I’ll be the first to know all

I judge

I rock or will rock, I studied how

You give me all my credits now

And always

I saw, it works that way

Get on your knees

I have to rock, I, I, I, I, I

I have to rock and be above

On your knees now

There are things you cannot learn

There are things you cannot learn

There are things you cannot learn

Cannot learn, cannot

But congrats for all the efforts

And open evil deeds and words

Go ahead rocking, you even grew a beard

He knows she told me

He thinks he confirmed

I know I heard she told me

I rock, I wanna rock

They tell me things when you wouldn’t

I wanna rock I, I, I, I, I

There are things you cannot learn

There are things you cannot learn

Cannot learn, cannot

Yet congratulations

Some guts you got

There are things you cannot learn

Cannot learn, cannot

I, I, I, I, I

Dignity, victimized

Victory, modesty

Freedom, all against me one

Beard

Glasses

Authority

It’s all about the looks, the pose

Spirituality is on my side

I rock, I, I, I, I, I

Photos: 1) an old family photo of my grand mother and her friends working taken by unidentified person

2) taken by a guest of the house

I will fill this post with more photos, when I get into a situation where I have conditions to do it!

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center of universe

to just add a thought to the previous article, i live among the very self centered. People. Persons. I mainly get to hear and see people who show their strong believe they live in the centre of the world, in the center of all interests, in a place observed by every eye in this planet (they also show strong believe in God, such as presented by Serbian Orthodox church, but that believe is secondary in this passage). And outside the planet, satellites must have been where they are just to have a better overview of what we do here in the land of SHLJIVAs. nothing else matters.

Have I ever met a place whose inhabitants were more certain that they are the world’s most interesting representatives? No. Usually people care more about the rest of the planet, or equally. Here, only Serbia produces news, is important, relevant, core of civilization. And I get cynical. Or no, just called such, for admitting I live in the middle of nowhere, in the poor place forgotten by God, that only attracted a few cameras over unexpected atrocities… I am rater ashamed. Among the proud.

Good night.

and good luck:) (i did like that film)

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Here and there worlds’, unfortunately domestic public too, still follow up on events about Karadzic arrest. As if the trial and its preparations were of no importance, while in fact they are the main thing, the reason for the capture, the reason for Karadzic’s transport to Holland… what is wrong with us?

Opportunism – to in one way or another be part of an event of global importance. An event, I said, not process. That’s the catch. Process is by its nature long, often painful, sometimes boring, gets stuk or obstructed every once in a while – especially processes of trials taking place in the Hague tribunal for war crimes in ex Yugoslavia. So uneasy to follow up, to watch, to be interested, when there is others – media – to filter events from the processes, like outstanding pieces of behaviour of the prosecuted, full of shameless words, insults and challenges (as if Seselj’s or other prosecuted challenges are to be met!). Yes, media work of some kind of filter, for people to choose attractions and avoid processes. That I find stupid, arrogant, superficial – opportunistic. That is the reason people over here are still in denial of their own country’s past! They are just lazy! But, hey, When Seselj starts a hunger strike, everybody gets interested! For it’s a piece of news, trivial event.

These lines I write because for two days I haven’t heard anyone in my surrounding mention another word about Karadzic. And my surrounding is mainly people voting democrats, LDP even more of them… I do not mingle much among the Radicals! Like our responsibility as citizens has ended there. No more to be done. Just the lament of Radicals remain, their threats and curses, sure. But for me, that doesn’t represent any potential of sane politics, just retrograde hardly human reacting. Again, I repeat, I do not intend to report on the news. I want to know what people I live among think, how they act, where their limits are. And this is one of the conclusions I come to: arrest is over, Karadzic in the Hague, end of story for democratic electoral body.

How sad! I live in a monster state. To be a bitch I am already called, I will add in the fact that during over 10 years of my political, peace, feminist activism, I have met more women activists trying to grab personal achievements, then making efforts to influence this scarade society and make it more civic, free, better! I have seen organizations filling in application forms for big Funds to fit into those Funds agendas, and not to meet the needs of our society! So this text applies to almost everyone around me, really to my society. We pull down the curtains when the performance is done. We care not a bit for becoming part of the proccesses, thus for learning more and making a difference. The difference that can only be achieved by participating, not only observing spectacular bits and pieces.

I said it before, we accept new trends set by events. How sick is that? Media can give us a trial proccess on a silver plate, we will ignore it, for it has no attractions, it is boring. So we stand in one place, waiting for foreign investments and better future in EU. While neither authorities, not citizens do the proper job to deserve that future. And guess what? If I speak out, I am kindly ask not to prejudge, to keep quite, because I might irritate others.

I am not meaning to say that we all have to watch every trial, but to be informed on historical facts once for good. To then act in our professional fields, so that those facts enter our reality on all levels. Instead of nurturing young generations born after wars, which have never seen an Albanian, but hate them all.

And I am not afraid of being attacked, I was many times, on many places and occasions. Only my victimization is none of anybody’s business, I in fact do not feel like a victim at all! I do not have a blog in Serbian because it wouldn’t make a difference. this way, I globaly look for people whi think more deeply over certain issues, and i stand better chances to find them. I am still a bad blogger, I know how to go and see pages of certain people who read me, but I still do not know how to put them on myy blog roll:) i am getting more literate, for now I ask Sarah to help me out with that. I believe that different points of stand that each person holds can give interesting interaction. So I blog in a global language:)

This is not a complaint. It is my observation, that does make me angry. This “mind your own business” never defined what my business is! And it has been said long ago that politics is to important to be left to — only (fill in the blank). As it has been said that personal is political. So I bring in nothing new. I only warry, and for a good reason. I say, I haven’t heard Karadzic’s name in two days from any of the citizens I met or talked on the phone to in this country. Curtains are down, until next spectacle, event, party, protest, or other outstanding attractions.

I shell go to my poetry now, and post the photos later.

I was thinking about why my blog is not in Serbian. And I know it. I would only provoke more attacks on me, and still change nothing. So I have my art. A good way to spread a message. Hard as it is, since I keep mainly self-producing, it remains my only chance to make any influence, to make one mind think things over… small steps, I am taking small steps. Just like I did in my active days in Women in Black, before they became a big brand with big, massive projects. Before my 100 deeds became less important then one single failure – like one thing i had no time nor strength to accomplish. Before even the civic sector became, in all its parts, an industry. I felt the idea is getting lost on the way, and stepped away.

what a lonely feeling!

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