Five Years of Hate and Devotion

Text: Ksenija Baronica
Translation: Zana Šaškin

Projekt6 again in the SC Gallery!
After five years, six artists of a younger generation – Tea Hatadi, Zdravko Horvat, Igor Juran, Martina Miholić, Maja Rožman and Karla Šuler – have returned to the «crime scene», to the place of their first exhibition and first group presentation to the public. That exhibition was a continuation of their unpublished group work, initiated in 2006. Although the individual activity of group’s members was known thanks to their solo and group exhibitions, here, in a new context and within an enclosed unit of mutual reactions, it got a new dimension.
Individual ideas and creations, and individual work and representation of the authors grew into an open communication, discussions and joint performances, what contributed to consciousness-raising of their work and positioning within the profession and society.
For some authors, the activity within Projekt6 was a driver and initiator of a greater engagement in their own work and an impulse for opening and coming out of the position of a self-sacrificing artist. For others, it calmed and quieted down violent reactions and loud performances. Personal preoccupations and focus on oneself and one’s own ego is pushed to the background, at disposition of other members to comment and react. In that way, the artists within the group that functions as a micro unit tend to see the situation from another point of view and achieve detachment from their own limitations of perception and understanding of things. With a strong link between topic, media and authorial personality, but without strict theoretical guidelines, the group opened a number of questions from private and social spheres.
Their cooperation on the first exhibition was an interesting and valuable experience that encouraged them to continue with the project. Good feedback of their fi rst performance encouraged new ideas and challenges. This was followed by exhibitions and guest performances in Croatia and abroad: Zagreb (Karas, VN), Križevci, Rijeka, Osijek and Bristol, London, Sarajevo, Beograd. They had more than enough ideas, wishes and plans, and many of them were achieved despite occasional disagreements and swift discussions and dispersal of members and their staying abroad (Karla Šuler in Dublin, Martina Miholić in London). The group even managed to function in those conditions; new experiences and detachment from the group and their own environment influenced the way they understand things, which they could see more clearly and objectively from the distance. Each author tried, in this new context, to adapt to the common goal and maintain the continuity of group work. To coordinate six artistic personalities was truly not an easy task…
The formation of a collective and joint group activity made their work easier and more difficult at the same time, work that was primarily based on close collaboration, communication, understanding. Accepting differences, overcoming disagreements and making joint efforts is the way in which Projekt6 functioned during these five years of temptations and reflections on group activity. They defined them as years of hate and devotion, openly acknowledging the difficulties and responsibilities of group functioning. The works on this anniversary exhibition clearly express the abovementioned situation and also reveal the details of the creation process within the collective. It is a look back and look from within this group of six members gathered around a project that at the same time motivated, affirmed and confronted them. This is the recapitulation of their thoughts on the role of the group and an individual within it in the context of art and real life situations, presented through works based on memory, observation, judgment. Layers of events are presented to us through words, photographs, drawings, objects, videos, documents collected in the story of creation, compliance and disappearance.

Zdravko Horvat refers to Maja Rožman’s work from the first exhibition and to her reference to his work, which referred to viewers’ comments about that year’s Big Brother participants. Zdravko is now in the role of Big Brother who overlooks everything and monitors e-mail communication within the group and provides an insight for the visitors. Text, or messages, are presented indirectly; he intervenes in them, combines them and assembles them into a new unity, at the same time making them neutral and unrecognizable in terms of reference to specific person and situation. Therefore this exposure to public is only partial and manipulated by the author’s intervention. In this way the participants remain protected from direct disclosure of their identity and situations, and visitors have the possibility of interaction with the work with their own interpretation of the content.

Karla Šuler uses the setting of a reality show of direct and complete insight into functioning of an individual and group, fully and to the extreme. She openly offers an insight into all e-mails of Projekt6 ever recorded and saved into the memory of her computer; she exposes them in totality, uncensored, in integral version. Given correspondence shows the complexity and drama within the group and the efforts to overcome them. “Making things visible” (B. Groys), to show them completely, expose totally and demystify them, and present them to the public as such…The author writes these e-mail messages all over again, repeating the process until the exhaustion of resources. From the initial integrity of the text that is readable and recognizable in form and expression through constant repetition of the process and disappearance of the traces she leads us to a cathartic disappearance of words, meanings, communication.

In her work, as a term of reference Tea Hatadi uses a dimension of time. She primarily considers it within the context of group activity and act of creation, but also as an important category in every life process. “Being is determined as presence by time. Time and being determine each other.” (M. Heidegger) Philosophical postulates of time here question their own role and presence in the process of creation. The unstoppable flow of time, of which Tea reminds us in the sound installation Tonski prijelaz, is recorded as a memory of life and artistic achievements and collecting of the past. Confronting with ephemerality, recording of memories, remembering of important moments and their evaluation inevitably raises the question of effects and achievements in that time. The look back and hindsight offer the evaluation of the achieved and the analysis of the planned. Could it have been done better and in some other way? Is the time slipping away, while we are only halfway through? The journey is uncertain, the planned trip is far away, and train has just started to speed up.

Igor Juran, as a lover and connoisseur of plants, in the centre of his interest places palm tree, planted at the time of creation of Projekt6 and placed in his apartment, the meeting point of the group. The palm (full name Trachycarpus Fortunei) has the whole time been present at those meetings as a silent witness and follower of the group activity. Igor has been gathering data about it and in photographs and records followed its growth and development. He has simultaneously followed the group activity and at the exhibition he presents the chronology of events within Projekt6 together with the growth of the plant. In a video work in slow motion, adapted to the frequency of plant life, the palm gets its meaning in the role of a devoted and patient listener and witness of conversations and discussions among group members. The palm, according to Igor’s knowledge and belief, feels and experiences outside the limits of human perception and as an undercover observer it absorbs impressions from its environment.

The observation of the plant in that context erases the illusion of static, stance and indifference and requires focus, slow motion and calmness. By referring to her work Tagbox from the exhibition in Karas Gallery in 2008, Martina Miholić continues the process by which she wants to make people think and become aware of terms and meanings they use in describing and seeing other people. Their inclusion in the role of an observer in judging and in the role of an active participant as the signifier creates a label of a certain subject for themselves and for the relation towards the specific subject. By participating in identification of the other and interaction with the other she raises a question of how important is that process in the perception of the self, in creation of one’s own identity and perception of self. How to accept the description and perception of the others towards us as relevant and compatible with our own personality, and whether such thinking has a real basis? Do we start to believe it after many similar or same statements? As a starting point Martina takes the opinion of others about her and faces the question about the truthfulness of their claims. With an on-line questionnaire and the received answers she continues the story by recording comments to their answers…”The result is a video work that records the exposing process of my struggle with that topic, i.e. writing of a text in which I write, erase, shift thoughts, sentences, rewrite and never finish that text, and everything is in the loop…” (author’s record about the work).

«A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.»
For the story about relationship and its determinant Maja Rožman uses the given quote from the movie Annie Hall by Woody Allen in which he, as always, problematizes the whole spectre of emotions within a relationship that are usually too complex for any kind of norms of behaviour and their application. By equating a love relationship with Projekt6, which the author perceives as a being without the possibility of movement that actually represents life, she problematizes the complexity of human relationships and meaning of terms like love, hate, commitment. In search of definition of the given terms, based on the Internet research, Maja uses the description of a lifetime of a relationship / relationship in six phases in which every phase has its expiration date and whose end is inevitable.
In Maja’s own voice, the sound installation explains the relationships within Projekt6 in a fictive dialogue based on the given phases of a relationship. Duration of the relationship and its (un)success is left for listeners to judge.