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Until Death Do Us Part Katarina Radovic

Belgrade 2011


IMPRESSUM

Publisher: Katarina Radovic Texts: Jim Casper, Nebojša Pajkic, Katarina Mitrovic, Jonathan Boulting, Katarina Radovic Design & layout: Saša Janjic Translation: Zorica Petrovic Proofreading: Jonathan Boulting Print run: 500 Printed & bound: Publikum, Belgrade

Frontispiece: Scottish and American wedding, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), May 2010


FOREWORD

Wedding ceremonies can be quirky most of the time. Bizarre, centuries-old rituals, traditions, and superstitions reign on most wedding days. When cultures collide and bring unlikely foreign customs together, the ceremonial conglomeration can be downright funny, strange, touching, and intriguing. A wedding is intended to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, and it can be one of the most significant days in someone’s life. So, the photo album — the official and unofficial wedding pictures — all take on great significance. Having the evidence and proof of the event (preserving the moment) can often seem as important as the moment itself. This idea of photographic ‘proof’ of the marriage event, and as a souvenir, came into existence immediately after the birth of photography itself. Indeed, the first known photograph to document a wedding was made for Prince Albert and Queen Victoria in 1840 — even though that first wedding photograph had probably been made after the real wedding — a re-enactment photographed to record a moment in history after the fact. The contemporary genre of wedding photography has its own set of traditions, rituals, expectations and assumptions. Many weddings are orchestrated by seasoned wedding photography professionals, who call the shots and herd members of the wedding party through a series of premeditated moments to be captured on film. These staged events (staged happiness and togetherness and perfection) obviously vary from culture to culture. But there are entire photographic industries dedicated to generating and recording ‘memories’ of the special day. This is where the significance of Katarina Radovićc’s two-year project becomes so timely and interesting. As an outsider who has requested an invitation to attend and photograph many, many cross-cultural wedding ceremonies, she has compiled a sociological overview of

modern 21st century weddings throughout Europe that are at once unusual, candid, mundane, amusing, poignant, and abundantly informative. Katarina Radovićc was not there to stoke the fantasy or generate the gloss of propaganda. She was there to record what happened, and how it looked from an outsider’s perspective. Beyond the frame of the staged, posed, perfect pictures photographed for posterity — a whole other reality exists. Her photographs capture tender situations, as well as awkward moments, silly times, and when people seem to have stepped outside of their real selves and day-to-day lives to play a role for a day. Many of the ceremonial situations feel a bit forced, with everyone outside their normal comfort zones, yet trying to stay on their best behavior, to not offend, to play along. Each wedding is a unique, rare occasion, in which a bunch of people are tossed together (by choice or obligation) from all walks of life for less than 24 hours – a short coming-together of disparate characters, only to disperse again, remaining connected only through the photographs in a wedding album, which is then cherished like a personal trophy. Katarina Radovićc’s photographs record what happened when cultures collided, on-stage, behind the scenes, and just outside the frames, as witnessed by a sharp observer, not officially part of the party. The detached photographer shows us some awkward moments, not with a mean spirit, but just for what is there. Her gaze is neutral, with no judgment, merely stating the facts, and perhaps catching what was not intended to be caught by a camera. This is a rich trove of treasures for all of us — a universal cross-cultural wedding album from the early 21st century. Jim Casper, editor-in-chief of LENSCULTURE


Hungarian wedding, Backo Petrovo Selo (Serbia), October 2009


Indian and Mauritian wedding, Paris (France), April 2010


Romanian and Moldavian wedding, Slatina (Romania), July 2010 German and Uzbekistani wedding, Geneva (Switzerland), September 2009


Serbian and Vietnamese wedding, Sremska Mitrovica (Serbia), January 2010


Croat and English wedding, Medjugorje (Bosnia and Herzegovina), May 2009

Roma wedding, Boljevci (Serbia), August 2009


Roma wedding, Boljevci (Serbia), August 2009


Turkish wedding, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), March 2009


Croat and English wedding, Medjugorje (Bosnia and Herzegovina), May 2009


Romanian and Moldavian wedding, Slatina (Romania), July 2010


French and Israeli wedding, Paris (France), June 2009 Turkish and German wedding, Istanbul (Turkey), July 2009


French and Costa Rican wedding, Saintes (France), July 2009


Scottish and American wedding, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), May 2010


French and Israeli wedding, Paris (France), June 2009


German wedding, Solingen (Germany), June 2009 Dutch and Slovenian wedding, Amerongen (The Netherlands), June 2009


Romanian and Moldavian wedding, Slatina (Romania), July 2010


French and Israeli wedding, Paris (France), June 2009 English-American and Brazilian wedding, Prague (Czech Republic), June 2010


Greek and Austrian wedding, Lindos, Rhodes (Greece), June 2010


Croat and English wedding, Medjugorje (Bosnia and Herzegovina), May 2009


French and Vietnamese wedding, Montpellier (France), May 2009 Belgian wedding, Antwerp (Belgium), August 2010


English-American and Brazilian wedding, Prague (Czech Republic), June 2010


Spanish and Nigerian wedding, Aranda de Duero (Spain), May 2009


French and Israeli wedding, Paris (France), June 2009 Dutch and Japanese wedding, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), March 2009


Hungarian wedding, Sipito (Hungary), July 2010


French and Israeli wedding, Paris (France), June 2009


German wedding, Solingen (Germany), June 2009


Spanish and Pakistani wedding, Barcelona (Spain), May 2009


Belgian and BurkianbĂŠ wedding, Antwerp (Belgium), August 2009 Scottish and American wedding, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), May 2010


French and Israeli wedding, Paris (France), June 2009


German and Uzbekistani wedding, Geneva (Switzerland), September 2009


German-Swedish and Norwegian wedding, Hamburg (Germany), August 2010


German wedding, Solingen (Germany), June 2009


Roma wedding, Boljevci (Serbia), August 2009 Croat and English wedding, Medjugorje (Bosnia and Herzegovina), May 2009


Romanian and Moldavian wedding, Slatina (Romania), July 2010


German and Uzbekistani wedding, Geneva (Switzerland), September 2009


Slovak and English wedding, Bratislava (Slovakia), July 2010


Dutch and Slovenian wedding, Amerongen (The Netherlands), June 2009


Serbian and Italian wedding, Belgrade (Serbia), April 2009 Croat and English wedding, Medjugorje (Bosnia and Herzegovina), May 2009


German and Turkish wedding, Leichlingen (Germany), June 2009


Turkish and German wedding, Istanbul (Germany), July 2009


Hungarian wedding, Sipito (Hungary), July 2010


Indian and Mauritian wedding, Paris (France), April 2010


Scottish and American wedding, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), May 2010 Slovak and English wedding, Bratislava (Slovakia), July 2010


Serbian and Montenegrin wedding, Belgrade (Serbia), May 2009


Spanish and Nigerian wedding, Aranda de Duero (Spain), May 2009


Indian and Mauritian wedding, Paris (France), April 2010


Slovenian and Irish wedding, Otocec (Slovenia), May 2010 Indian and Mauritian wedding, Paris (France), April 2010


Dutch and Japanese wedding, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), March 2009


French and Swiss wedding, Saint Remy en Provence (France), June 2009


Belgian and BurkianbĂŠ wedding, Antwerp (Belgium), August 2009


BurkianbĂŠ and Belgian wedding, Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), December 2010 BurkianbĂŠ and Belgian wedding, Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), December 2010


Turkish and German wedding, Istanbul (Turkey), July 2009


Turkish wedding, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), March 2009


Spanish and Nigerian wedding, Aranda de Duero (Spain), May 2009


Dutch and Slovenian wedding, Amerongen (The Netherlands), June 2009


English and Serbian wedding, Norwich (United Kingdom), August 2009


Roma wedding, Boljevci (Serbia), August 2009 Scottish and American wedding, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), May 2010


English-American and Brazilian wedding, Prague (Czech Republic), June 2010


English-American and Brazilian wedding, Prague (Czech Republic), June 2010 German wedding, Solingen (Germany), June 2009


Belgian wedding, Antwerp (Belgium), August 2010


Belgian wedding, Antwerp (Belgium), August 2010


Romanian and Moldavian wedding, Slatina (Romania), July 2010 Belgian and BurkianbĂŠ wedding, Antwerp (Belgium), August 2009


Indian and Mauritian wedding, Paris (France), April 2010


Spanish and Nigerian wedding, Aranda de Duero (Spain), May 2009


Roma wedding, Boljevci (Serbia), August 2009


BurkianbĂŠ and Belgian wedding, Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), December 2010


Indian and Mauritian wedding, Paris (France), April 2010 French and Israeli wedding, Paris (France), June 2009


BurkianbĂŠ and Belgian wedding, Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), December 2010


Dutch and Japanese wedding, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), March 2009


Belgian wedding, Antwerp (Belgium), August 2010 German wedding, Solingen (Germany), June 2009


Nebojša Pajkić UNTIL DEATH DO US PART / DOK NAS SMRT NE RASTAVI Katarina Mitrović A DAY TO REMEMBER / DAN ZA PAMĆENJE Jonathan Boulting “IT MIGHT BE LONELIER/ WITHOUT THE LONELINESS” “MOGLO BI DA BUDE USAMLJENIJE/ BEZ SAMOĆE” Katarina Radović … TO ETERNITY / … DO VEČNOSTI


Nebojša Pajkić

UNTIL DEATH DO US PART

I think that conflict, a term central to all the so-called dramatic arts, and at first glance not necessarily immanent in the various differently calibrated representational arts, is a good point from which to start thinking about the photographs of Miss Katarina Radović – or, more precisely, understanding the diverse components interwoven into her project Until Death Do Us Part, which has been conceived and carried out in a way one might call totalitarian. What we have here is a multitude of images, the result of nearly two years’ work throughout the regions of Europe, dedicated to recording wedding ceremonies which in most cases represent the joining in marriage of individuals belonging to different cultures, at the least, or, in more exceptional cases, to different races, or, even more radically, to the same sex. Hence, the first field of conflict is to be found in the very basis of the project, in its thematic fixation (the wedding ceremony) and in its connotative or, more obviously, its conceptual nomination (until death do us part). That is to say, a wedding, apart from its ritual, ceremonial manifestation, represents an act of social organisation whose raison d’etre is the continuation of the species, and this is opposed to, indeed, imposed on the idea of death in every respect, creationist or evolutionist. In that sense, all archetypal images, which in their infinitely repetitive ceremonial parades arrive at their ironic stereotypes, actually rest upon the mythic potential of collective joy, upon a mood that celebrates life, victory over death, the confirmation of cosmic infinity against material finitude.

Even though it may not be of significance for this paradox (this conflict), which is in the focus of Miss Radović’s focus (to avoid a pleonasm via a tautology), there is no harm in drawing attention to the fact that Eastern Christian, as opposed to Vatican-Protestant doctrine, treasures the prospect of an eschatological post-material unity as the final embrace. But, quite apart from that doctrinal antagonism, the question of death raises further questions which it is important we keep in mind, particularly when photography is at the center of our attention. It is well known that André Bazin, the creator or at least spiritus movens of the ‘politique des auteurs’ (auteur theory) and an impassioned philosopher of realism, in his study “The Ontology of the Photographic Image” centered his discourse on the fact that the invention of the camera lens released the art of painting from the complex of realism, the obsession with verisimilitude. However, on this occasion, more important than this questionable thesis of his is his expository observation which recognizes in the Egyptian tradition, in the technique of embalming and the figure of the mummy, the impulse to defy time and consequently to overcome death as a restrictive temporal unit. Furthermore, in the European tradition – in painting for instance – Bazin recognizes in the idea of portraying similarity a further secularized battle for continuance which, without magic potential, will be reduced to similarity as something in which posthumous memory may place hope. However, for Miss Radović’s project, much more indicative is the occult dimension of embalming and, we might even say, the metaphor of the mummy – mummification, as it is sometimes called.

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This qualmish tension (of mummification) is, in fact, covertly present in an endless myriad of these photographs, which, across various religions, cultures and races, revolve the parabolic feeling of an end before a beginning, of death before birth – the death, possibly, of cultures before they have reached their cosmic paroxysmal numbness. It is almost as if a Nietzschean Dionysian orgiastic trance were being extinguished in a Schopenhauerian apologia for self-annihilation. It is difficult to know when Miss Radović is being ironic, and when she is just witnessing the inherent ironic potentials of disintegrating rites. However, when she refers to the meta-Darwinian sarcasm of Oliver Curry, who expects a synthesis of the beautiful and the intelligent in opposition to the mentally and physically deficient, she gives to her comprehensive work a remarkable elliptical momentum, which takes us back to her basic auctorial conflict. This concerns the relationship between premeditation and intuition. For example, one of Curry’s most authoritative evolutionist transtopian precursors, Theodosius Dobzhansky, in his capital work Mankind Evolving (1962), while looking at the problems of species and races, modalities and perspectives, points out that racial hybridization, mixed marriages or the mingling of races, has occurred whenever human races have at any time lived next to one another. Further on he says, “races are capable of exchanging genes and do exchange genes.” “Perhaps there is no recorded instance of intermarriage between some races, say of Eskimos with Papuans, but Eskimos as well as Papuans do interbreed with other races; channels however tortuous, for gene exchange exist between all human races.” Well, in this comprehensive overview of pre-hybridization rites or, at least, of rituals or their secondary, accompanying off and off-off phenomena, it seems to me there are no Eskimos or Papuans, unless I have missed them. However, the exhaustivity that the author emanates seems to be forcing us to think about the level of conceptual premeditation. On the other hand, the unrestrained diversity of motifs, details, totalities, panoramas, passages, inserts and composed, precomposed, discomposed, decomposed and non-composed vistas indicates an openness, a theatrical rapture which, although it does not necessarily disguise its roots in a romantic suffragist emancipationalism à la Clara Sipprell, captivates with its approach – ludic, in a certain sense infantile, we might even say auto-erotic; but in any case, anarchic rather than positivist, emotional rather than rational. Indeed, her approach to the idea of a wedding is quite fascinating. If we have in mind the previous, equally consistent and equally ironic sequential project of Miss Radović (A Husband in Paris), a relatively random selection of partners for a crypto-marital photo-exposure, we will see that the author is more than focused on a question that could be said to trouble her personally. This

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personal moment, this angle and attitude, is the way Miss Radović transcends the track she is unconsciously travelling. While she is navigating the currents of the post-conceptual renewal of photography, i.e. of the photographic camera as a tool superior to the hated easel, she enters the sphere of professional, almost professionalist effectiveness, in keeping with her acquired and inborn meticulousness, her ‘akribeia’. Her photographic perfectionism, despite the ironic texture, could, in its exhaustivity, be compared to the practical execution of a mission assigned to a military, police or judicial photo expert. This is not an objection, and it would be a misinterpretation if it were to be taken as one; since this professional competence, this agonistic perfectionism, inspired by a fundamentally serious wonder at the institution of marriage – the institution which, as we saw in Dobzhansky, is essentially meant for further evolutionary processes, i.e. posterity – blossoms forth in the mysterious sexually appealing charm of these ventures. This constant wonder on the part of the author at the basic question of the human community legitimates Miss Radović as an author who breaks the mould in every sense, transcending the usual questions dealt with by both the iconodules and the iconoclasts; which means that her work in its personal identification is inimicable to systematizations related to any terminology preceding or following the aesthetic. What we have here is a consequentiality, the defined world of an author and an almost fanatical preoccupation which, it would seem, might surpass the frame of the topic as well as – and even more aggressively – the frame of the medium. Even though these friezes, these metaphysical convulsions immortalized in photographs, present the paradox of a wedding in the deadliest of ways, this ironic Panopticum still seems to be crying out for its choreographic continuation. These images look as if they want to flicker towards decoding their own arcana that are presented in 24 frames per second. As André Bazin once observed, “on the other hand, of course, cinema is also a language”. And the impressive thing in the dialectical conflict of the intuitive and the premeditated in Miss Radović’s ‘weddings’ is their petrified kinesthetics. It is precisely this implosion of frozen movement which seems to radiate all the theatrical aura of an altered reality whose self-directed ceremoniousness is in its essence amazing, so remote from its own meaning that its codification is actually equal to that of a spell, arrested at its magical and mythical pre-historic root. It is fascinating that this petrification, originating in forgotten ritual choreographies, can be deciphered without the expression of recorded movement, without film. However, I believe that a film as well as a wedding are creative inevita-


bilities for Miss Radović, sooner or later. But this prediction must first of all be approached through the prism of the photographer’s vocation. We should keep in mind that the avant-garde as a whole, on its path from the Decadent movement, through Neo-Dada, to Post-postmodernism, etc, from Man Ray to Warhol-Morrissey and now to Katarina Radović, has superimposed its own auctorial standpoint on the medium, the craft, the manner and, if need be, the style. Because the angle comes from the standpoint, and on the angle depends the choice of lens, or camera, or … I have presented here my attitude toward these magic photographs that are inviting the author to exercise her right to set them moving, to provide them with sound and to do with them whatever she pleases in her creative frenzy, without ideological, vocational, media or other prejudice or restriction. Nothing is off limits to the artist.

P.S. Sometimes, however, things have to be seen from the opposite perspective (from above, from below, perhaps from the inside), through the mirror or behind it, totally backwards or upside down, or with one stocking on – because, from time to time, with (satyric) Capricorn tropic and Cancer rising, the Joke may rebound on the Trickster. So, it may be that these countless weddings, all these ceremonies here in the occupied Kingdom of Earth, could merely be the material equivalent of one dream (wedding) to be celebrated in the eschatological dimension, where there is no cytoplasm, but only after death brings all of us together; where a vow is not written in red blood, nor perhaps even in blue, but rather in pure and invisible ink. Converte te supra, converte te infra. As God wills.

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Nebojša Pajkić

DOK NAS SMRT NE RASTAVI

Mislim da je konflikt, pojam koji je centralan u takozvanim dramskim umetnostima, a na prvi pogled nije nužno imanentan u drugačije impostiranim prikazivačkim poduhvatima, dobar zamajac za razmišljanje o fotografijama gospođice Katarine Radović, tačnije za razumevanje raznolikih komponenti koje su utkane u njen, moglo bi da se kaže totalitaristički zamišljani i izvođeni projekat, Dok nas smrt ne rastavi. Reč je o mnoštvu fotografija nastalih tokom, skoro pa dvogodišnjeg rada, diljem evropskih regija, posvećenih registrovanju svadbenih ceremonija koje su najčešće prikaz bračnih spajanja osoba koje pripadaju u najmanju ruku različitim kulturama, u krajnjem slučaju različitim rasama, ili još radikalnije istim polovima. Dakle, u samoj se osnovnoj postavci ovog projekta, u njenoj tematskoj fiksaciji (svadbena ceremonija) i njenoj konotativnoj ili, očiglednije, konceptualnoj nominaciji (dok nas smrt ne rastavi) uspostavlja prvo konfliktno polje. Naime, venčanje, izvan svoje obredne, ritualne manifestacije, predstavlja jedan akt socijalne organizacije čiji je rezon d’etr produžavanje vrste, što je u svakom pogledu, kreacionističkom ili evolucionističkom, suprotstavljeno ili nadređeno ideji smrti. U tom smislu sve arhetipske slike koje kroz beskrajno opetovane ceremonijalne parade stižu do svojih ironijskih stereotipija, zapravo, počivaju na mitskom potencijalu kolektivne radosti, jednom raspoloženju koje slavi život, pobedu nad smrću, afirmisanje kosmičkog beskraja naspram materijalne konačnosti. Mada za ovaj paradoks (konflikt) koji je u fokusu fokusa gospođice Radović (da tautologijom izbegnemo pleonazam) to ne može da bude od značaja, nije škodljivo da se skrene pažnja da istočno-hrišćanska doktrina, naspram vatikansko-protestantske, vrednuje eshatološko post-

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materijalno jedinstvo kao konačno spajanje, ali pitanje smrti izvan te doktrinarne opreke izaziva još podpitanja koja je važno imati u vidu, naročito kada je fotografija u središtu naše pažnje. Poznato je da je Andre Bazen, tvorac ili bar spiritus movens francuske filmske politike autora i ostrašćeni filosof realizma, u svojoj fabuloznoj studiji „Ontologija fotografske slike” centrirao svoju raspravu na činjenicu da je izum foto-objektiva oslobodio slikarstvo realističkog kompleksa iliti opsesije sličnošću (sa stvarnošću). No, za ovu priliku, važnije od te njegove diskutabilne teze je ekspoziciono zapažanje koje u egipatskoj tradiciji, u tehnici balzamovanja, u figuri mumije, prepoznaje impuls suprotstavljanja vremenu te konsekventno prevazilaženje smrti kao granične temporalne jedinice. Bazen, nadalje, u evropskoj tradiciji, u slikarstvu, npr. prepoznaje, u ideji portretske sličnosti, dalju, sekularizovanu borbu za trajanje koja će se bez magijskog potencijala, svesti na sličnost kao neku uzdanicu posthumne memorije. Ali, za projekat gospođice Radović mnogo je indikativnija okultna dimenzija balzamacije, i sada se već može da kaže, metafora mumije. Nekada se kaže i mumifikacija. Taj zebnjivi napon (mumifikacije), zapravo, je prikriveno prisutan u beskrajnom mnoštvu ovih fotografija koje kroz razne regije, kulture i rase, obrću jedno parabolično osećanje kraja pre početka, smrti pre rođenja. Smrti, može biti kultura pre nego su stigle do svog kosmičkog paroksističkog utrnuća. Skoro kao da se jedan ničeanski dionisijski orgijaški trans gasi u šopenhauerovskoj apologiji samoukinuća. Teško je da se zna kada je gospođica Radović ironična, a kada samo svedoči o unutrašnjim ironijskim potencijalima rasapljenih rituala. No, kada se poziva na meta-darvinistički sarkazam Olivera Karija koji oče-


kuje sintezu lepih i inteligentnih nasuprot mentalno i fizički manjkavim, ona ipak daje svom taksativnom delu jedan izuzetan eliptični zamah koji nas vraća njenom osnovnom autorskom konfliktu.

ustanove braka, te ustanove koja je kao što smo videli kod Dobžanskog, esencijalno namenjena daljim evolucionim procesima, tj. nasledstvu, rečju – deci.

On se tiče pitanja odnosa predumišljaja i intuicije. Npr. jedan od najautoritativnijih evolucionističkih preteča Karijeve transtopije,

Ta dosledna autorska zapitanost nad osnovnim pitanjem ljudske zajednice, legitimiše gospođicu Radović kao autora koji u svakom smislu izlazi iz okvira, koji transcendira uobičajena pitanja kojim se bave kako ikonoduli tako ikonoklasti, što će reći da njen rad personalnom identifikacijom ne trpi nikakve sistematizacije koje se tiču terminologije koja prethodi ili posleduje estetici.

Teodosijus Dobžanski, u svom kapitalnom delu Mankind Evolving (1962), razmatrajući problematiku vrsta i rasa, modaliteta i perspektiva, ističe da su se rasna hibridizacija, mešanje rasa ili mešoviti brakovi javljali kada su god ljudske rase živele jedna kraj druge, u bilo koje vreme. Dalje kaže, „rase su sposobne da razmenjuju gene, a to i čine”. „Može biti da nije zabeležen nijedan primer mešovitog braka između pripadnika pojedinih rasa, recimo između Eskima i Papuanaca, ali i Eskimi i Papuanci ukrštaju se s drugim rasama, ma koliko bili vijugavi, putevi za razmenu gena između svih ljudskih rasa postoje.” Hm, nemamo ili mi se tako pričinilo ili mi je promaklo, Eskima i Papuanaca u ovom taksativnom prikazu predhibridizacijskih obreda ili bar rituala ili njihovih sekundarnih, pratećih, off i off–off pojava, ali iscrpnost koju autor emanira, kao da nas tera da razmišljamo o stepenu konceptualnog predumišljaja. S druge strane razuzdana raznovrsnost motiva, detalja, totala, panorama, pasaža, inserata, prekomponovanih, komponovanih, akomponovanih, dekomponovanih, nekomponovanih vizura ukazuje na jednu otvorenost, na jedan artificijelni zanos koji, mada ne mora da prikriva korene romantičnog sifražetskog emancipacionalizma jedne Klare Siprel, pleni ludističkim, u izvesnom smislu infantilnim, ili bi se smelo reći masturbantnim, u svakom slučaju pre anarhičnim nego pozivitističkim, pre emocionalnim nego racionalnim pristupom. Pristupom ideji venčanja, zapravo. Ako se ima u vidu i prethodni, jednako dosledan i jednako ironičan sekvencijalni projekat gospođice Radović (Muž u Parizu), relativno nasumično biranje partnera za kripto-bračnu foto-eksponažu, videće se da je autor više nego usredsređen na jedno pitanje za koje bi moglo da se kaže da ga lično tišti. Time se gospođica Radović, tim personalnim momentom, uglom, stavom, izdiže iz jedne pruge kroz koju neosetno prolazi. Dokle se kreće tokovima postkonceptualne obnove fotografije, tj. fotoaparata kao alata iznad omraženog štafelaja, ona sledstveno usvojenoj i urođenoj akribiji ulazi u sferu profesionalne, profesionalističke skoro – egzekutivnosti. Njen fotografski perfekcionizam, uprkos ironijskoj teksturi, taksativnošću bi mogao da se poredi sa pragmatičnom profesionalnom misijom kakvog vojnog, policijskog ili pravosudnog foto-eksperta. Ovo nije primedba, i bilo bi pogrešno shvaćeno ako se tako uzme, jer ta profesionalna kompetencija i kompeticija nedri seksepilno tajanstveni šarm ovih poduhvata ispred kojih je pak, ispred kojih je ipak, prevashodno ta ozbiljna zapitanost oko

Ovde je reč o jednoj konsekventnosti, o definisanom autorskom svetu i skoro pa fanatičnoj preokupaciji koja bi, po svemu sudeći, mogla da izađe, kako iz okvira teme, tako još agresivnije iz okvira medija. Iako ti frizovi, taj metafizički grč koji ovekovečuje fotografija, na najubojitiji način prezentuju paradoks svadbe, ipak taj ironijski panoptikum kao da vapi za svojim koreografskim produžetkom, te slike kao da žele da zatrepere ka dešifrovanju vlastite arkane predstavljene kroz 24 sličice u sekundi. Kao što je onomad zaključio Andre Bazen, „a film je s druge strane jezik.” A ono što impresionira u tom dijalektičkom konfliktu intuitivnog i predumišljanog u „svadbama“ gospođice Radović, to je njihova petrifikovana kinestetičnost. Upravo iz te implozije zaleđenog pokreta kao da isijava sav taj teatralizam jedne prekrojene stvarnosti čija je samorežirana ceremonijalnost u svojoj osnovi začudna, toliko udaljena od vlastitog smisla da je njena šifrovanost zapravo ravna bajalicama, zapretena u magijskim i mitskim pred-istorijskim korenima. Fascinantno je da se ta zapretenost, proistekla iz zaboravljenih obrednih koreografija, može da odgonetne bez ekspresije snimljenog pokreta, bez filma. Verujem da su i film i venčanje kreativna neminovnost za gospođicu Radović, pre ili posle. Ali, ovu prognozu pre svega moramo da posmatramo kroz prizmu fotografske vokacije, treba da imamo u vidu da je cela avangarda na svom putu od dekadencije, preko neo-dade, do post-postmodernih, itd. od Man Reja preko Vorhol-Morisija pa evo do Katarine Radović, vlastiti autorski stav nadređivala mediju, zanatu, maniru pa, ako treba i stilu. Jer iz stava proishodi ugao, a od ugla zavisi izbor objektiva ili kamere ili – ili... Ja sam ovde izneo moj stav o volšebnim fotografijama koje prizivaju pravo autora da ih pokrene, da ih ozvuči i da im uradi sve što mu se prohte u njegovom kreativnom zanosu bez ideoloških, zanatskih, medijskih ili inih predrasuda i ograda. Umetnici je sve dozvoljeno.

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P.S. Ali, ponekad, stvari moraju da se sagledaju i iz suprotnog ugla (gornjeg, donjeg, možda unutrašnjeg) kroz zrcalo ili iza njega, sasvim unatrag ili naopačke, ili naizvrat (s jednom čarapom) – jer s vremena na vreme, u jarčevoj (satirskoj) obratnici sa rakom u aksidentu, umesto da đavo odnese šalu, šala može da savlada lukavog. Tako, na primer, sve ove bezbrojne svadbe, sve ove ceremonije, ovde u okupiranom carstvu zemaljskom, mogu da budu naprosto materijalni ekvivalent samo jedne snivane (svadbe) koja treba da se održi u eshatološkoj dimenziji, tamo gde nema citoplazme, tek pošto nas sve smrt sastavi; tamo gde se zavet ne piše ni crvenom, a možda ni plavom aristokratskom krvlju, već nepatvorenim i nevidljivim mastilom. Converte te supra, converte te infra. Kako Bog naređuje.

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Katarina Mitrović

A DAY TO REMEMBER

Until Death Do Us Part is a meticulously planned two-year art project of research, collection of material, organizing and photographing. Between March 2009 and October 2010, Katarina Radović travelled to over 20 countries and attended over 40 wedding ceremonies. All these ceremonies took place on the European Continent, apart from one, which was in fact a double wedding, first arranged in Europe, then in Africa. At every one of these ceremonies, the artist took on average 300 photographs, thus creating a series of approximately 12000 images. This photographic project focuses on two issues. The first concerns the meaning of the wedding in modern European society, in its ritual life as much as its symbolic representation, while the other one refers to intercultural relations as realized in mixed marriages or marriages on the margins of the dominant cultures of a community. All the weddings the artist has photographed are characterized by the fact that they are culturologically “curious” in a variety of ways. For example, there are the cases of the weddings between members of minority groups in countries, such as the Peruvian wedding in Barcelona, the Hungarian wedding in Bačko Petrovo Selo (Serbia), the Roma wedding in Boljevci (Serbia) or the wedding of the Hungarian Hare Krishna devotees. Others of them are extraordinary due to the fact that the partners are of the same sex, especially in view of the fact that gay couples have only just recently won the right to marriage or some kind of registered cohabitation in most European countries, while in many other countries, Serbia included, they still have not secured that right. What makes the majority of the weddings unusual is that the partners are of different national or ethnical origin, or of different religious confessions. Thus, mixed couples line up in the photographs: Greek with Austrian, Spanish with Nigerian, British-American with Brazilian, Dutch

with Slovenian, Croatian with English, German with Turkish, French with Israeli, Serbian with Vietnamese, Indian with Mauritian, Belgian with Burkinabé, and so on. The artist has pointedly avoided the conventions of wedding photographs, which are often charged with schmaltzy sentiment, such as the scenes of the exchange of rings, and of the bride and the groom gazing amorously at each other and posing for the photographer in a “romantic” setting. Her series of photographs is envisaged as a document rather than as the series of conventional wedding photographs usually intended for an album. This documentary character of her photographs is reflected in the variety of the wedding iconography, ranging from entire areas specially chosen and decorated, to the details that accompany them. The project is wholly inclusive, and this huge series of photographs records everything, without distinction, from a traditional wedding costume, a white wedding dress, or a national costume, rings, garters, and the indispensable flowers, to wedding cakes, tents, bows, a red carpet, and food arrangements on the tables. When it comes to wedding participants, the artist also avoids the conventions of typical wedding photographs. Indeed, the bride and the groom are not always the main protagonists, nor does the artist stick to any kind of hierarchy of representation. Everyone present is equally in evidence in the photographs, whether they are guests, relatives or friends, or musicians or waiters. The photographs record wedding participants in moments when they themselves are posing and controlling the picture, but they also “catch” them, paparazzo-style, when they least expect it – their glances, moments of dressing, discreet adjustment of hair-dos, moments of deadly boredom or frenetic gaiety, moments of relaxed conversation, of resting their feet after what was probably a long and

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tiring period of standing or dancing. This enables the photographs of Katarina Radović to offer the observer the specific impression that she/ he is taking a peek “backstage” and that he/she has access to unplanned memory, some sort of a blind alley where wedding participants would never wander themselves. When I was talking to Katarina Radović about this project, we kept returning to the question of the essence of a wedding. Why are weddings necessary? Statistics in the EU countries show that between 1970 and 2007, the number of marriages dropped by 38%. In that same period, marriages became more and more unstable, which is indicated by the increase in the divorce rate from 0.9 per 1000 citizens in 1970 to 2.1 in 2007.1 What is the point of marriage? If you are not getting married “for papers”, or out of some other “interest”, that is, if the system you live in does not discriminate based on whether you are married or not, and if giving birth to and taking care of children does not depend on your marital status either, and if many countries recognize common law marriages, it is then quite logical to ask yourself: What is marriage for? Why tire yourself out arranging the ceremony and spending huge amounts of money organizing a grand celebration, picking the clothes, the restaurant, the menu, the music? Another question that presents itself to us while looking at Katarina’s photographs is, to what extent is a wedding a private and personal, and to what extent a public and social act? We know that in our history the idea of a marriage as an emotional union between two individuals is rather new and radical. From times immemorial, marriage has been a matter of political arrangements, tribal alliances or lucrative family contracts. In the Middle Ages, marriage became institutionalized through the Church as a universal mechanism of social control and the only legitimate framework for producing offspring. Therefore, marriage has been first and foremost a social category, but has now, it would seem, come a long way from the social to the personal. Of all the events of life, a wedding is among the most exciting. Apart from birth and death, there is no other act that baffles us as much as getting married. We could say that Katarina Radović is, in a way, obsessed with weddings. In her previous project A Husband in Paris, she took on the role of an Eastern European girl who, searching for a better life in one of the EU countries, walks the streets of Paris “on the look-out for” a future husband. After obtaining the consent of the “candidates” chosen as husbands, the artist performed before the camera with her “fiancé” in one of the conventional poses typical of couples. In the project Until Death Do Us Part she also uses the marriage theme, deepening its potential, in order thereby to problematise important issues in European society today.

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No matter how much our personal integrity as individual human beings is uncompromisingly protected by the law, there is no other act that affects us to such a degree, not even today when people get married and divorced more easily than ever before, nor one that changes our identity so much as a wedding. Joining yourself with another individual still has some of the fatalistic echo of the phrase “until death do us part”. It is because nobody gets married with the idea of getting divorced. When they decide upon the act, a person projects him- or herself as member of a couple, choosing their life companion. As in any other performative ritual, self-affirmation, whether of an individual or a group, is the basis of a contemporary wedding in much the same way as it was in the past. This need is so strong that it may be the only possible explanation for the practice of getting married, which has become totally redundant if we take it that the relationship in question is merely an emotional one. The project Until Death Do Us Part reveals that wedding celebrations nowadays have a lot of the carnival spirit, in the Bakhtinian sense. Their structure is basically the same: the ceremonial, official part, in which a legal union is made between two individuals, and the less official part, the celebration. There are also the changes in the behavior of the participants. The first part is full of gravity and dignity, the appearance is meticulously prepared, the clothes are ceremonial, the posture upright, and the movements controlled. After the formal ritual joining the two persons in marriage, there comes the celebration, the part of the wedding in which control is loosened. In some countries, the period for weddings comes immediately after a long period of religious restrictions, such as fasting and restraint from other pleasures. Katarina Radović’s photographs point to the fact that weddings today are still collective celebrations in which the participants transgress the limitations of everyday life, forgetting their usual duties, their job and position, and surrendering themselves to excess, to purely carnal pleasure, intoxication, overeating, uncontrollable laughter. There is copious evidence of this in the large number of photographs in the series which have food as their focus. Food is present in its extraordinary festal abundance. There are photographs of cakes or roast meat, especially in its simple “rustic” form, both of which are the kinds of food that have been so rare throughout the greater part of history that even today, in the time of consumer culture, they have preserved their clear associations with ritual sacrifice and human beings’ predatory instincts. Not only is the structure of weddings that of a ritual, but weddings also share another characteristic with rituals – that of repetition. A wedding is imagined in a time context. It is a planned memory. Ritual repetition connects us with the past more than the nature of modernism itself


would allow. For modernism separates us from the past, it always proposes and supposes something new, something radical, a break with tradition, with the ancestors. That is why contemporary wedding ceremonies contradict the idea of modernity. In a way, they represent repetition, and the repetition of a wedding ceremony in a time when weddings are becoming obsolete, is one of the most durable performative modes of remembering. If we think we have discarded rituals, weddings prove the opposite. By performing the wedding ritual, by repeating the ancient customs, by inventing new ones, by mixing and combining them, we actually connect with each other, and with past, but also with future generations. The meaning of marriage as an institution has been called into question by the development of civic society itself. The right of an individual defies any limitation, and marriages are abandoned at the same rate at which they are made. This has caused marriage to become an increasingly personal matter. As it has become more and more a question of personal choice and less and less a means of social coercion, marriage has gradually been transformed into a field of minimum risk. So, if we pose the question today: Why get married?, we could just as pertinently ask ourselves: Why not? We cannot lose anything, our freedom is guaranteed. And so is our right to leave, when love has faded or our interests no longer match. For Katarina Radović, this pragmatic and selfish individualism leads unmistakably to a new understanding of marriage in contemporary society, in an era in which information technologies incite us to individualistic lifestyles and impose a fast pace of life. Inspired by the study of a Norwegian social anthropologist, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, concerning the contemporary culture of the tyranny of the moment, i.e. of our times, in which the only thing we ever more increasingly miss is time, the artist sees marriage as a kind of inevitable “vent”. And indeed, it seems that entering a marriage in the context of globalised contemporary society and the ever greater acceleration of time, provides a sense of consistency and reveals a need for some kind of balance, or at least, an illusion of stability. Working on this project, the artist had in mind one far-reaching consequence of mixed marriages, as predicted by the geneticist Oliver Curry, in whose distant future of the human race we find a gradual disappearance of the contemporary races and the appearance of two new ones – one superior and the other inferior. This point of view seems to be a logical consequence of observing the global world of today and how the world’s wealth is controlled. The erosion of strictly defined racial and ethnic boundaries is followed by the mingling of different cultures. Nowadays, cultural traditions are no longer obligatory, they have become folklore, a kind of ethnographic note that one can

manipulate. Traditions, with their customs, costumes and rituals, have become spaces in which one can intervene, which one can summon or reject at will, depending on our needs. The very act of getting married, as well as the cultural traditions invoked in any cross-cultural ceremony, are in themselves departures to other spaces, distant worlds. They are a form of practical ethnography, in which, by calling upon diverse cultural traditions, we temporarily erase the fact of cultural uniformity in the contemporary global world. Intercultural dialogue, the existence of cultural diversity and tolerance are values which have been promoted by the EU for decades. However, on October 16, 2010, in a convention of the youth wing of the Christian Democratic Union in Potsdam, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared, to the general amazement of all of Europe, that the German concept of a multicultural society had utterly failed.2 Not long after her, the British Prime Minister David Cameron repeated a similar judgement in his speech at a security-related conference in Münich.3 Katarina’s photographs celebrate the differences, but they also remind us that in the culturally unified environment of the greater part of a Europe dominated by uniformity and impersonality, the exploitation of cultural differences is threatening to become more and more a screen for ideology. Rather than in real life, shaped by the cruel logic of the development of technology, cultural diversity is being pursued in the sphere of the imaginary. Differences are displayed in ephemeral events, festivities and passing rituals. They are less and less a part of everyday life. Instead, they belong in the sphere of entertainment, of something childlike and non-committal. To understand the work of Katarina Radović more fully, we have to keep in mind that her interest in cross-cultural weddings in European countries is also connected with the artist’s specific background. She comes from a country which used to be part of Yugoslavia, a country in which multiculturalism and multi-ethnicity were values promoted long before the creation of the EU. Before the narrow-mindedness of the nationalist ideologies of the 90s, life in Yugoslavia meant at least a superficial awareness of the culture, history and folklore of the different nations and ethnic groups inhabiting the country, and the state ideology of “brotherhood and unity” had its application in everyday life with the huge number of “mixed marriages”. Now, after a decade of wars and interethnic and international hatred, multiculturalism is being recommended to all the countries which emerged from former Yugoslavia. The experience of a person who lived this multiculturalism at a time when it was not even called that, is significant as regards her position when initiating this project.

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Collecting field material in the classical sense of the methodology of anthropological research, the artist acts as a typical privileged observer armed with a scientific view of the world. The artist’s background plays an important role here as well. Within Europe itself, the Balkans, as an exotic, culturally remote “Other”, has for centuries been the object of an occidentalist view, articulated in literary and artistic genres, from travel literature to paintings and photographs. In this relationship, the Balkans is, as Marija Todorova has formulated it, an “imaginary” area of constant conflict, of bizarre contrasts, of odd people and phenomena which, compared to the dominant Western culture, represent a certain anomaly. In her project, Katarina Radović assumes the role of a superior observer. She is the one observing, travelling, doing research, collecting and documenting “odd” phenomena throughout the European continent, thus thematising the very acts of observation and the political (hegemonic) pretensions underlying the very practice of collecting and forming collections of images. That is the background to be kept in mind when it comes to Katarina Radović’s project. The moments she has recorded are mainly out-of-sight scenes, most of which would probably never find their place in a wedding album. That is what makes these pictures unambiguously revealing and the people in them uncompromisingly exposed. In a way, they have been caught red-handed, unaware of the fact that they are participants in a visual performance that presents a colourful and amicable multicultural world attempting to overcome all the tensions that could shatter its tranquility. It is that part of the planet which is called Europe and which likes to think it has found ways to incorporate tradition into modern culture, to establish a balance between the old and the new and to reconcile all the differences successfully. It is only through careful interpretation that the complex structure of Katarina Radović’s art project is revealed. Through thematising the wedding as an anthropological phenomenon and displaying the contents of its performative artistry, the project actually problematises contemporary social contradictions. The artist warns us that the personal is always also political, and that no ritual is sheer form, but rather always articulates certain processes in society, which, in the final analysis, have a far-reaching effect.

1

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Marriage_ and_divorce_statistics 2

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11559451

3

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12371994

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Katarina Mitrović

DAN ZA PAMĆENJE

Dok nas smrt ne rastavi je pažljivo planirani dvogodišnji umetnički projekat istraživanja, prikupljanja materijala, organizacije i fotografisanja. Katarina Radović je od marta 2009. do oktobra 2010. godine proputovala preko 20 zemalja i prisustvovala na preko 40 svadbenih ceremonija. Sve ove ceremonije odigrane su na evropskom kontinentu, osim jedne, koja je zapravo bila jedino dvostruko venčanje, upriličeno prvo u Evropi, a potom u Africi. Sa svake od ceremonija umetnica je snimila u proseku oko 300 fotografija, napravivši tako seriju od približno 12000 slika. Ovaj fotografski projekat je fokusiran na dva pitanja. Prvo se bavi smislom venčanja u modernom evropskom društvu, podjednako u njegovom ritualnom životu i simboličkoj reprezentaciji, dok se drugo odnosi na interkulturne relacije koje se ostvaruju u mešovitim brakovima ili onima koji su na marginama dominantnih kultura u jednoj zajednici. Sva venčanja koja je umetnica fotografisala, karakteristična su po tome što su na najrazličitije načine kulturološki „neobična“. Tako na primer, venčanja između pripadnika manjinske grupe u jednoj zemlji poput, peruanskog u Barseloni, mađarskog u Bačkom Petrovom selu (Srbija), romskog u Boljevcima (Srbija) ili svadba mađarskih sledbenika Hare Krišne. Mnoga su neobična i po tome što su partneri istog pola, posebno ako uzmemo u obzir da su se gej parovi tek nedavno izborili za pravo na brak ili neku vrstu registrovane kohabitacije u većini evropskih zemalja, dok u mnogim zemljama, među kojima se nalazi i Srbija, još nisu ostvarili to pravo. Većina venčanja je neobična po tome što su partneri različitog nacionalnog ili etničkog porekla, ili verske pripadnosti. Tako se na fotografijama ređaju mešoviti parovi: grčko austrijski, špansko nigerijski, britansko-američko brazilski, holandsko slovenački, hrvatsko engleski, nemačko turski, francusko izraelski, srpsko vijetnamski, indijsko mauricijski, belgijsko burkinski itd.

Umetnica je upadljivo izbegavala konvencije svadbenih fotografija, često opterećenih sladunjavom sentimentalnošću, poput scene razmene prstenja, mlade i mladoženje koji se zaljubljeno gledaju i poziraju fotografu u „romantičnom“ ambijentu. Njene fotografije su zamišljene kao dokument, a ne kao konvencionalne venčane fotografije kakve se prave za album. Ovaj dokumentarni karakter njenih fotografija ogleda se u šarenilu svadbene ikonografije, od čitavih posebno odabranih i uređenih prostora do detalja koji ih prate. Projekat je u potpunosti inkluzivan, a serija ogromnog broja fotografija beleži sve, bez razlike, od tradicionalnog svadbenog kostima, bele venčanice, ili nekog nacionalnog kostima, prstenja, podvezica, obaveznog cveća, do svadbenih torti, šatora, mašni, crvenog tepiha, aranžiranih stolova sa hranom. I kada su učesnici svadbe u pitanju, umetnica izbegava konvencije tipičnih svadbenih fotografija. Jednostavno, mladenci nisu uvek „glavni“, niti se poštuje bilo kakva hijerarhija predstavljanja. Na fotografijama su svi prisutni ravnopravno zastupljeni, bilo da se radi o gostima, rodbini i prijateljima ili muzičarima i kelnerima. Fotografije beleže učesnike svadbe u trenucima kada oni sami poziraju i kontrolišu sliku, ali ih i „hvataju“ kada najmanje očekuju, poput paparazza, njihove poglede, trenutke oblačenja, diskretnog nameštanja frizure, smrtnog dosađivanja ili frenetične veselosti, momente opuštene konverzacije, odmaranja nogu nakon verovatno dugog i napornog stajanja ili igranja. Ovo daje fotografijama Katarine Radović sposobnost da posmatraču pruže jedan specifičan utisak da zaviruje u „backstage“, da ima pristupa u neplaniranu memoriju, neku vrstu slepe ulice u koju sami učesnici svadbe ne bi nikad zalutali. Razgovarajući sa Katarinom Radović o ovom projektu stalno smo se vraćale na pitanje o suštini venčanja. Zašto su ona potrebna? Po stati-

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stičkim podacima u zemljama Evropske unije je broj sklopljenih brakova od 1970. do 2007. godine opao za 38%. U istom periodu, brakovi su postali sve nestabilniji, što pokazuje porast stope razvoda sa 0.9 na 1000 stanovnika u 1970. na 2.1 u 2007. godini.1 Koji je smisao braka? Ako se ne udajete/ženite „za papire“, ako ne dobijate ništa, odnosno ako vas sistem u kome živite ne razlikuje prema tome da li ste u braku ili ne, ako rađanje i briga o deci takođe ne zavise od vašeg bračnog statusa, ako je u mnogim zemljama pravno priznata i vanbračna zajednica, onda je sasvim logično zapitati se: čemu onda brak? Zašto se zamarati i zakazivati ceremoniju, potrošiti gomilu novca na organizaciju grandiozne proslave, birati odeću, restoran, jelovnik, muziku? Drugo pitanje koje se nameće pri posmatranju Katarininih fotografija je koliko je venčanje privatni i lični, a koliko javni i društveni čin? Znamo da je u našoj istoriji, ideja o braku kao emocionalnoj zajednici između dve individue prilično nova i radikalna. Brak je od daleke prošlosti bio stvar političkih dogovora, plemenskih saveza, ili porodičnih lukrativnih ugovora. U srednjem veku se brak posredstvom crkve institucionalizuje kao univerzalan mehanizam društvene kontrole i jedini legitimni okvir za stvaranje potomstva. Prema tome, brak je prevashodno društvena kategorija, ali od društvenog do ličnog, bar prividno, prešao je dug put. Od svih događaja u životu čoveka, venčanje je jedno od najuzbudljivijih. Osim rođenja i smrti, nijedan nas čin ne zbunjuje toliko kao venčanje. Može se reći da je Katarina Radović, na neki način opsednuta venčanjima. U svom prethodnom projektu Muž u Parizu ona je preuzela ulogu istočnoevropske devojke koja u potrazi za boljim životom u nekoj od zemalja EU, šeta Parizom i „traži“ budućeg muža. Nakon pristanka odabranih „kandidata“ za muža, umetnica i njen „verenik“ su pozirali u nekoj od konvencionalnih poza tipičnih za parove. U projektu Dok nas smrt ne rastavi ona takođe koristi temu venčanja, produbljujući njene mogućnosti, da bi kroz nju problematizovala važna pitanja u današnjem evropskom društvu. Ma koliko naš lični integritet kao individualnih bića bio beskompromisno pravno zaštićen, nijedan čin nas toliko ne određuje, čak i danas kada se brakovi sklapaju i razvode lakše nego ikada ranije, niti menja naš identitet, kao venčanje. Udruženje sa drugom individuom još uvek ima nešto od fatalističkog prizvuka fraze „dok nas smrt ne rastavi“. Jer niko se ne venčava sa idejom da će se razvesti. Kada se odluče na taj čin, ljudi projektuju sebe kao deo para, birajući svog životnog saputnika. Kao i u svakom drugom performativnom ritualu, samopotvrđivanje, bilo pojedinca ili grupe, nalazi se u osnovi savremenog venčanja isto kao što je to bilo u prošlosti. Ta potreba je toliko jaka da se jedino njome može objasniti današnja praksa venčanja koja je, ako uzmemo da je

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samo emocionalna veza u pitanju, postala potpuno izlišna. Projekat Dok nas smrt ne rastavi otkriva da današnja venčana slavlja imaju mnogo od karnevalskog u bahtinovskom smislu te reči. Njihova stuktura je u osnovi ista: ceremonijalni, oficijelni deo, u kome se formalno-pravno sklapa savez između dvoje pojedinaca, i manje zvanični deo, proslavljanje. Oni se razlikuju i u ponašanju učesnika. Prvi deo je pun ozbiljnosti i dostojanstva, izgled se pažljivo priprema, odeća je svečana, a držanje tela uspravno, dok su pokreti kontrolisani. Nakon formalnog rituala sklapanja bračnog saveza, nastupa slavlje, deo svadbe u kome dolazi do popuštanja kontrole. U nekim zemljama period venčanja sledi neposredno posle dugotrajnih religijskih zabrana oličenih u raznim vrstama postova i odricanja od zadovoljstava. Fotografije Katarine Radović ukazuju na to da je venčanje i danas kolektivna svečanost u kojoj učesnici prevazilaze ograničenja svakodnevnog života, zaboravljajući svoje uobičajene dužnosti, svoj posao, položaj, prepuštajući se preterivanju, čisto karnalnom zadovoljstvu, opijanju, prejedanju, neobuzdanom smehu. O tome rečito govori veliki broj fotografija u ovoj seriji koje u svom fokusu imaju hranu. Ona je pristuna u svom nesvakidašnjem prazničnom obilju, to su slike torti ili pečenog mesa, posebno u njegovom „rustičnom“ jednostavnom obliku, obe vrste hrane koja je tokom većeg dela istorije bila toliko retka da je i danas u vreme potrošačke kulture, zadržala jasne asocijacije na obredne žrtve i predatorske nagone ljudi. Ne samo što je struktura venčanja ritualna, već venčanja sa ritualima dele još jednu odliku – ponavljanje. Venčanje se zamišlja u vremenskom kontekstu. Ono je planirana uspomena. Ponavljanje rituala nas povezuje sa prošlošću više nego što bi to sama priroda modernizma dozvolila. Jer modernizam nas odvaja od prošlosti, on pretpostavlja uvek nešto novo, radikalno, neki raskid sa tradicijom, sa precima. Zato su savremene svadbene ceremonije kontradiktorne sa idejom modernosti. One na neki način predstavljaju ponavljanje, a ponavljanje svadbene ceremonije u vreme kada venčanja postaju suvišna, je jedan od najpostojanijih performativnih načina sećanja. Ako mislimo da smo prevazišli rituale, svadbe nam dokazuju suprotno. Kroz izvođenje svadbenog rituala, ponavljanje drevnih običaja, izmišljanje novih, kroz njihovo mešanje i kombinovanje, mi se zapravo povezujemo jedni sa drugima, sa prošlim, ali i budućim generacijama. Smisao braka kao institucije je doveden u pitanje samim razvojem civilnog društva. Pravo individue prkosi svakom ograničenju, a brak se razvodi istom brzinom kojom se i sklapa. To je učinilo da brak sve više postaje lična stvar. Kako se postepeno pretvarao u pitanje ličnog izbora, a prestajao da bude sredstvo društvene prinude, brak je polako postajao i polje minimalnog rizika. Zato, ako danas postavljamo pitanje: Zašto se venčati?, sa istim pravom se možemo upitati: A zašto da ne?


Ništa ne možemo da izgubimo, naša sloboda je zagarantovana. Naše pravo da odemo, kada ljubav prestane, ili nam se interesi više ne poklapaju. Za Katarinu Radović, ovaj pragmatični i sebični individualizam nepogrešivo vodi do novog razumevanja braka u savremenom društvu, u eri u kojoj informacione tehnologije podstiču individualističke stilove života i nameću brze ritmove življenja. Inspirisana studijom norveškog socijalnog antropologa Tomasa Hilanda Eriksena o savremenoj kulturi tiranije trenutka, odnosno o našem vremenu u kome samo vreme počinje sve više da nam nedostaje, umetnica brak sagledava kao neku vrstu nužnog „ventila“. I zaista, čini se da sklapanje braka u kontekstu globalizovanog savremenog društva i sve veće akceleracije vremena, daje osećaj stalnosti i otkriva potrebu za nekom vrstom ravnoteže, ili bar iluzijom stabilnosti. Radeći na ovom projektu umetnica je imala na umu i jednu dalekosežnu posledicu mešovitih brakova, pozivajući se na genetičara Olivera Karija, u čijem predviđanju daleke budućnosti ljudske vrste se nalazi postepeno išćezavanje savremenih i pojavljivanje dve nove rase – jedne superiorne i druge inferiorne. To gledište izgleda kao logična posledica posmatanja današnjeg globalnog sveta i kontrole nad svetskim bogatstvom. Ukidanje čvrsto definisanih rasnih ili etničkih granica praćeno je mešanjem različitih kultura. Danas kulturne tradicije više nisu obavezujuće, one su postale folklor, neka vrsta etnografske beleške sa kojom se može manipulisati. Tradicije su, sa svojim običajima, kostimima, ritualima, postale prostor u kome se može intervenisati, možemo ih pozvati kada nam se prohte, ili ih odbaciti, ako nam ne odgovaraju. I sami činovi venčanja su, kao i kulturne tradicije koje se primenjuju u svečanostima ukrštenih kultura, odlazak u neke druge prostore, u neke udaljene svetove. Oni su neka forma praktične etnografije, u kojima se prizivanjem različitih kulturnih tradicija privremeno briše činjenica o uniformnosti kulture u savremenom globalnom svetu. Interkulturni dijalog, postojanje kulturne različitosti i tolerancija su vrednosti koje je Evropska unija decenijama propagirala. Međutim, 16. oktobra 2010. godine na skupu mladih Demohrišćanske unije u Podsdamu, nemačka kancelarka Angela Merkel izjavila je, na opšte zaprepašćenje čitave Evrope, da je nemački koncept multikulturalnog društva u potpunosti propao.2 Nedugo nakon nje sličnu ocenu je ponovio i britanski premijer Dejvid Kameron, u svom govoru na konferenciji posvećenoj bezbednosti u Minhenu.3 Katarinine fotografije beleže razlike ali i opominju da u kulturološki unificiranom ambijentu većeg dela Evrope kojim dominira uniformnost i bezličnost, eksploatacija kulturnih razlika preti da postane sve više ideološki paravan. Umesto u stvarnom životu, oblikovanom surovom logikom razvoja tehnologije, kulturni diverzitet se odvija u oblasti imaginarnog. Razlike se ispoljavaju u efemernim do-

gađajima, festivalskim svečanostima i prolaznim ritualima. One su sve manje deo svakodnevnog života, već pripadaju oblasti zabave, nečeg dečijeg i neobavezujućeg. Da bi se potpunije razumeo rad Katarine Radović, mora se imati u vidu da je njeno interesovanje za kroskulturalna venčanja u evropskim zemljama povezano i sa specifičnim poreklom umetnice. Ona dolazi iz države koja je nekad bila deo Jugoslavije, zemlje u kojoj su multikulturalnost i multietničnost bile proklamovane vrednosti mnogo pre nastanka Evropske unije. Pre isključivosti nacionalističkih ideologija iz 90-ih, život u Jugoslaviji je podrazumevao bar površno poznavanje kulture, istorije, folklora različitih nacija i etničkih grupa koje su nastanjivale zemlju, a državna ideologija „bratstva i jedinstva“ je imala i svoju životnu primenu u ogromnom broju „mešovitih brakova“. Sada se, nakon decenije ratova i međuetničke i međunacionalne mržnje, svim državama koje su nastale od nekadašnje Jugoslavije preporučuje multikulturalnost. Iskustvo nekog ko je živeo tu multikulturalnost u vreme kada se to nije tako ni zvalo, značajno je kao deo njene pozicije prilikom iniciranja ovog projekta. Skupljajući materijal sa terena u klasičnom smislu metodologije antropološkog istraživanja, umetnica se ponaša kao tipični privilegovani posmatrač naoružan naučnim pogledom na stvarnost. Poreklo umetnice i ovde igra značajnu ulogu. Unutar same Evrope, područje Balkana je kao egzotični, kulturološki udaljeni „drugi“, vekovima bilo predmet okcidentalističkog pogleda, artikulisanog u književnim i umetničkim žanrovima, od putopisa, do slika i fotografija. U tom odnosu Balkan je, kako je to Marija Todorova formulisala, „imaginarni“ prostor stalnog konflikta, neobičnih kontrasta, čudnih ljudi i pojava, koje su naspram zapadnjačke dominantne kulture svojevrsna anomalija. U svom projektu Katarina Radović ulazi u ulogu superiornog posmatrača. Ona je ta koja posmatra, putuje, istražuje, skuplja i dokumentuje „čudne“ pojave širom evropskog kontinenta, tematizujući time i same činove posmatranja i političke (hegemonističke) pretenzije koji leže iza same prakse skupljanja i formiranja kolekcija slika. To je pozadina koju treba imati na umu kada je reč o projektu Katarine Radović. Trenuci koje je ona snimila su uglavnom skriveni prizori od kojih većina verovatno ne bi zauzela mesto u svadbenom albumu. To ove slike čini nedvosmisleno otkrivajućim, a ljude na njima beskompromisno izloženim. Oni su na neki način uhvaćeni na delu, nesvesni da su deo vizuelne predstave o šarenom miroljubivom multikulturnom delu sveta koji nastoji da prevaziđe sve napetosti koji mogu da razbiju njegov spokoj. To je deo sveta koji se zove Evropa i koji voli da misli da je našao način kako da tradiciju inkorporira u modernu kulturu, koji je uspostavio ravnotežu između starog i novog, i uspešno pomirio sve razlike. Tek u pažljivom

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tumačenju, umetnički projekat Katarine Radović otkriva svoju kompleksnu strukturu. Tematizujući venčanje kao jedan antropološki fenomen i pokazujući sadržaj njegove performativne artističnosti, ovaj projekat zapravo problematizuje savremene društvene protivrečnosti. Umetnica nas upozorava je lično uvek i političko, da nijedan ritual nije prazna forma, već da on uvek artikuliše određene procese u društvu koji u svom ukupnom zbiru imaju dalekosežne posledice.

1

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Marriage_ and_divorce_statistics 2

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11559451

3

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12371994

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Jonathan Boulting

“IT MIGHT BE LONELIER/ WITHOUT THE LONELINESS”

To wed, and thereby cross the threshold into the world of married life – Jonathan Swift´s world of “bad words in the day, bad smells in the night” (“For Love has pitched his mansion in/ The place of excrement” – and it wasn’t just about Eros Yeats’ Crazy Jane was speaking to the Bishop, but the Lord of the “many mansions”). With photographs, we neither hear those words nor smell those smells: the photographic image, relieved of all acoustic, olfactory, textural context – relieved of climate – assures us of a safe distance from the dangerous matters at hand, the imminent entanglements of wedlock. We will not even hear the nicely chosen ‘nice’ words or smell the odours or perfumes of the wedding day itself. Ours is the safe distance of the voyeur, that comfortable somewhere between envy and repulsion. A grateful distance, too, should one be suffering from delusions of extra-marital freedom (everyone is hopelessly ‘married’ to someone or something – be it only oneself). A photograph of a moment one has experienced deepens one’s feelings of loneliness, since it testifies to the absence of that moment (for evermore? until the end of Time?) It has passed away, metamorphosing into a memory. In the words of Emily Dickinson, with whom Miss Radović shares a solitary fascination with the Beloved Other: “Perception of an object costs/ Precise the Object’s loss – “. But a photograph distances one from the memory of the moment also: it presents what is in fact a camera´s memory, and is therefore, by its very otherness, a reminder of the loneliness of one’s own memory. A photograph is nobody’s past, nobody’s memories.

This is partly why wedding photos possess a particular poignancy. A wedding, the union not only of two individual human beings but also of the millions of other beings, human but also animal, vegetable and mineral (stardust included) present in their genetic make-up, promises an end to all loneliness – a universal union. A photograph, on the other hand, if absorbed by a truly naked eye, can only bear witness to solitude. Here we enjoy and suffer the paradoxical experience of the camera as a chamber of solitudes, but solitudes which are celebrations of human unions at their most intimate, most universal. What is additionally ‘particular’ about this solar plexal poignancy, which perhaps constitutes the essence of Miss Radović’s art, is that it introduces – I was going to say, ‘us’, but perhaps I should say ‘me’, the isolated observer – to the other half of the truth about marriages: that maybe there is no ‘other half’ – that there are moments (on the Cross, for instance) when one feels “One is one and all alone/ And ever more shall be so”. Indeed, in the mountains of Bosnia-Herzegovina (where one of these weddings is celebrated), newly-weds are exhorted to love and honour one another as one another´s ‘crosses’ – gratefully, as the cruces of one another’s immortalities. 2 is the loneliest of numbers (unless you are a swan and at one). But among all these newly-weds, only one (perhaps two?) seems to have realised that s/he is already solo – that where 2 = 1, 1 = 2, the key equation in the mathematics of the heart (this more conscious newly-wed is probably the more loved, less loving of the two, since there is more burdensome loneliness in being loved than in loving.) And if the occasional (female) wedding guest seems slightly envious of the couple’s

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innocence, doesn’t she also derive a furtive solace from the knowledge that that innocence will eventually surrender to experience… probably to babies too (and their unexemplary behaviour!)? Was it Ogden Nash who remarked, your spouse isn’t someone you can be with, but someone you cannot be without? Promising marriages start with promises – with what G.K. Chesterton called ‘rash vows’. Since these photos show trans-tribal and often secular European weddings, in most cases it is unclear what kind of promises have been made, and in the presence of which goddesses, gods or God. However, whether she knows it or not, the wide-eyed, dead-pan Miss Radović is both an intuitive and a logician – a laterally somnambulant detective? – and a prophetic eye will discern in her photographs some small detail, such as the lift of an eyelash, a crease in a jacket or reflection off a dress, a twist to a finger, a bite in an abandoned bit of wedding-cake, or a shaft of light across a kitchen bin, which augurs with infallible accuracy for the imminent ‘lover’s night’ (every night is a ‘first night’) and for the future of the marriage, its duration or intensity. (And duration and intensity are not necessarily incompatible dimensions - it will partly depend on the lighting. The discovery of Uranus, planet of divorce, coincided with the discovery of electricity, and there can be no doubt that the principal cause of divorce is the electric light bulb. Constant wattage monotonises the face of the beloved. Face and body were never meant to be seen under a static light, but under sun, moon and stars, firelight and candlelight… ) However, another thing these photographs promise us is that none of the marriages are going to be boring – least of all the boring ones! There is truth in W.H.Auden’s gaily perverse dictum, “The most boring marriage is infinitely more interesting than the most passionate romance”. The interest lies in the mystery of cohabitation. That the attraction should be so strong or the repulsion so weak that two beings should choose to share the same miniscule corner of an immense universe must be especially fascinating for a visual artist, such as a photographer, whose Prima Materia is space (in light). And some of these photographs reveal, in the odd gesture of hand or foot, couples already rehearsing the dance that will negotiate their territory. Weddings remind us that sex is only part of the story. We see here evidence of other instincts driving towards marriage: food, territory, will-tomeaning; sleep, death; here and there, traces of fear. Most couples, in the reality of their appearances, are either incestuous mirrors or complementary opposites of one another, and Miss Radović´s samples provide no exceptions to this rule. Interestingly, the cultural &/

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racial differences the photographer celebrates here often seem to mask an incest. In all of the marriages I sense considerable ‘interest’ and at least a modicum of ‘respect´. In only one do I perhaps detect the betrayal of a Shakespearian “Married Chastity” (à la Phoenix-&-Turtle), the diversion of a passionate attraction from its creative teleological imperative towards a probable merely genital consummation. With another wedding, I wonder whether it isn’t perhaps a not uncommon case of two people finally getting married in order to separate for ever. And am I right in suspecting that for one of the grooms, it is just about to dawn that in marrying him, his bride is marrying her mother? But, alas (for a nostalgic Byronian such as myself), with none of the brides (except one?) do I feel that the lady is destined for an old-style ‘cavalier servante’. Despite the frequently secular appearances, Christianity still casts its mysterious ninth-hour shadow over these ‘post-Christian’ European celebrations – the protective, forgiving shadow, I would suggest, of a religion which originated in the deophile ‘adultery’ of a 15-year-old Jewess, and Whose Divine Son’s first miracle was performed at a wedding feast: the Dionysian transformation of the water of the Law into the wine of Love. Celibacy was urged as the ‘better option’ by St. Paul not because he was a Balkan Bogomil, but simply because he believed that Christ’s Return and the End of the World were imminent and there was no further point to procreation. The Abrahamic imperative had always been, “Be fruitful and multiply!” But for the uninitiated, who seem to imagine that ‘religion’ (i.e. Christianity) = marital fidelity, it will come as a surprise to discover that the miracle at Cana was a miracle of marital inebriation… and that in the Christian Heaven, there is “no giving or taking in marriage”. Marianne Moore, another inspired spinster, raises an apposite question: “This institution,/ perhaps one should say enterprise/ out of respect for which/ one says one need not change one’s mind/ about a thing one has believed in,/ requiring public promises/ of one’s intention/ to fulfill a private obligation:/ I wonder what Adam and Eve/ think of it by this time…” We all know of ‘public marriages’, tragical-farcical unions with no secret core of privacy, whose imaginable (as well as economic) factuality can only be preserved by the attention of the media – marriages which depend for their very survival on their existence in the mind of the ‘Public’. I can think of at least one such marriage, almost touchingly grotesque, in Belgrade. And of quite a few others in London. My own family, for instance, boasted a film director heavily invested for some years in pseudo-scandalous wedlock to a former Hollywood childstar even wealthier than himself and less than half his age. It was, in fact, one of the most boring ‘middle-aged’ marriages one could ever


hope to fall asleep in. What kept it going for an empty while were the distractions of jealousy (she of his past, he of her future lovers) and the voyeuristic attentions of the interviewers and photographers. Strange to say, only rarely does one feel that the Miss Radović’s camera has been invited to help validate any of these unions. Or was the photographer’s gently ironic posture too apparent to permit of masquerade? Nevertheless, all weddings are in some sense public spectacles. Paradoxically, as with other public spectacles, it is perhaps side-, back- or off-stage where the important things are usually happening – the ‘butterfly effect’ of Chaos Theory, be the ‘butterfly’ a wide-eyed child, an ancient widow or divorcée, an uneaten fruit, a closed window, an empty chair, a billboard, a patient radiant tree, or even (shocking in a photograph) a painting. Or (also living that loneliest of numbers perhaps), a couple of horses, a couple of dogs. Things happen centre-stage too, with the couples themselves, in a glance off-guard, or somewhere between the lips and the teeth. I have found it illuminating to view these fascinating documents alongside Veronese’s ‘Marriage at Cana’, where Christ, although &/ because He is absolutely centre-stage, is almost invisible, although &/ because He is the worker of the miracle. The photographer of these weddings seems to participate in the same creative modesty, or auctorial invisibility. When we come to Tintoretto’s ‘Cana’, however, at Santa Maria della Salute (inspiration for Laza Kostić’s beautiful poem of that name, the strangest epithalamium ever composed), I must stop – or risk (another) fight! Here is where the chiaroscuro of a Master silences photography. Photos offer glimpses of how we actually look at life – intermittently, promiscuously. So photographs are perfectly suited to the reality of weddings as we actually experience them. They even offer us a little extra time to experience the experience. But Tintoretto is how we could – or (dare I say it?) should – see life. “At the touch of a finger” Miss Radović´s camera has threatened, in Walter Benjamin’s words, “to fix an event for an unlimited period of time”. But this is only a nightmare: photographs too pass on into our memories, entering the soul and participating in its metamorphoses, its infinite evolution. They provide us with absent glimpses of moments wholly and eternally present only in the Mind of God (from every angle, including inside-out, and including the camera’s) – a God Who is always in Three Minds… a God of Triangles… My most vivid memory from Until Death Do Us Part is of the photograph – or rather, the still? – of heels, houghs and hems… That photograph says it all.

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Džonatan Boulting

»MOGLO BI DA BUDE USAMLJENIJE/ BEZ SAMOĆE«

Venčati se, i tako preći prag u svet bračnog života – u svet „neprijatnih reči danju, neprijatnih mirisa noću” po rečima Džonatana Svifta („Jer Ljubav je podigla svoju palatu/ Na tom đubrištu” – i Jejtsova Luda Džejn nije govorila Biskupu samo o Erosu, već i o Gospodaru „mnogih palata”). Na fotografijama, niti čujemo te reči, niti osećamo te mirise: fotografska slika, oslobođena svakog akustičnog, olfaktornog, teksturalnog konteksta – oslobođena klime – čini da poverujemo da postoji bezbedna udaljenost od opasnih stvari pred nama, od preteće zamke braka. Čak nećemo čuti ni pažljivo odabrane ‘slatke’ reči ni osetiti mirise ili arome samog dana venčanja. Nalazimo se na bezbednoj distanci voajera, na tom nekom udobnom mestu između zavisti i odbojnosti. To je takođe zahvalna distanca, u slučaju da čovek pati od zabluda o vanbračnoj slobodi (svako je beznadežno ‘venčan’ za nekoga ili nešto – pa makar i samo za sebe samog). Fotografija trenutka koji je čovek iskusio produbljuje njegovo osećanje usamljenosti, pošto ona svedoči o odsustvu tog trenutka (zauvek? do kraja Vremena?): On je minuo i pretvorio se u sećanje. Rečima Emili Dikinson, sa kojom gospođica Radović deli usamljeničku fascinaciju Voljenim Bićem: „Opažanje predmeta ima za cenu/ Upravo gubitak tog Predmeta – ”. Ali fotografija takođe distancira čoveka od sećanja na taj trenutak: ona predstavlja ono što je zapravo sećanje fotoaparata, i zato je, zbog same svoje drugosti podsetnik na usamljenost sopstvenog sećanja. Fotografija nije ničija prošlost, to nisu ničija sećanja. Ovo je delimično razlog zašto fotografije venčanja poseduju neku osobenu oštrinu. Venčanje, ujedinjenje ne samo dve ljudske individue već i

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miliona drugih bića, ljudskih, ali i životinjskih, biljnih i mineralnih (uključujući i zvezdanu prašinu) prisutnih u njihovom genetskom sklopu, obećava kraj svakoj usamljenosti – univerzalno ujedinjenje. Fotografija, s druge strane, ako se upija istinski golim okom, samo može da bude svedočanstvo usamljenosti. Ovde uživamo i patimo u paradoksalnom iskustvu fotoaparata kao komore samoće, ali samoće koja slavi ljudske saveze u njihovom najintimnijem, najuniverzalnijem obliku. Ono što je dodatno ‘osobeno’ kod ove oštrine u solarnom pleksusu, a koja možda čini suštinu umetnosti gospođice Radović, jeste da ona upoznaje – hteo sam da kažem ‘nas’, ali možda bi trebalo da kažem ‘mene’, izolovanog posmatrača – sa drugom polovinom istine o brakovima: da možda nema ‘druge polovine’ – da postoje trenuci (na Krstu, na primer) kada osećamo da „Čovek je jedan i potpuno sam/ I tako će biti za sva vremena”. I zaista, u planinama Bosne i Hercegovine (gde se slavilo jedno od ovih venčanja), mladenci se podstiču da svako od njih voli i poštuje onog drugog kao svoj ‘krst’ – sa zahvalnošću, kao zagonetku svoje besmrtnosti. 2 je najusamljeniji broj (osim ako ste usklađeni kao labudovi). Ali među svim ovim upravo venčanima, samo jedno (možda dvoje?) izgleda kao da je shvatilo da je on/ona već solo – da gde je 2=1, 1=2, ključnu jednačinu u matematici srca (ovo koje je svesnije od dvoje mladenaca je verovatno ono biće koje je više voljeno, a koje manje voli, jer ima više tegobne usamljenosti u tome da budete voljeni nego u tome da volite). I ako poneki gost (gošća) na venčanju izgleda kao da pomalo zavidi tom paru na njihovoj nevinosti, ne nalazi li takođe potajnu utehu u saznanju da će se ta nevinost na kraju predati pred iskustvom... verovatno i bebama (i njihovom neprimerenom ponašanju!)? Da li je Ogden Neš bio taj


koji je primetio da vaš bračni drug nije neko sa kim možete da budete, već neko bez koga ne možete? Brakovi koji obećavaju počinju obećanjima – onim što je G.K. Česterton nazvao ‘ishitrene zakletve’. Pošto ove fotografije prikazuju međuplemenska venčanja i često sekularna evropska venčanja, u većini slučajeva nije jasno kakva su obećanja data, kao ni u prisustvu kojih boginja, božanstva ili Boga. Međutim, bez obzira da li je toga svesna ili ne, gospođica Radović, krupnih očiju, bez ekspresija na licu, istovremeno sledi i intuiciju i logiku – lateralno mesečarski detektiv? – i proročko oko razaznaće na njenim fotografijama neki mali detalj, kao što je podizanje trepavice, nabor na sakou ili odblesak od haljine, neobično izvijen prst, ogrizak ostavljenog parčeta svadbene torte, ili zrak svetlosti preko kuhinjske kante, koji sa nepogrešivom tačnošću predskazuju predstojeću ‘noć ljubavnika’ (svaka noć je ‘prva noć’) i budućnost tog braka, njegovo trajanje ili intenzitet. (A trajanje i intezitet nisu nužno nekompatibilne dimenzije – delimično će zavisiti od osvetljenja. Otkriće Urana, planete razvoda, koincidiralo je sa otkrićem električne energije, i ne može biti sumnje da je glavni uzrok razvoda električna sijalica. Svetlost konstantne snage čini lice voljene osobe monotonim. Nije bilo predviđeno da se lice i telo gledaju pod statičnim svetlom, već pod svetlošću sunca, meseca i zvezda, vatre i sveća... ) Ipak, još jedna stvar koju nam ove fotografije obećavaju jeste da nijedan od ovih brakova neće biti dosadan – a najmanje od svih oni dosadni! Ima istine u veselo perverznoj tvrdnji V. H. Oden-a, „Najdosadniji brak je beskrajno interesantniji od najstrastvenije romanse”. Interesantan deo leži u misteriji zajedničkog života. Činjenica da je privlačnost toliko jaka ili odbojnost toliko slaba da dva bića odaberu da dele isti sićušni kutak ogromnog svemira mora biti posebno fascinantna za jednog vizuelnog umetnika, kao što je fotograf, čija je Prima Materia prostor (u interakciji sa svetlošću). A neke od ovih fotografija otkrivaju, u nasumičnom pokretu šake ili stopala, kako parovi već uvežbavaju ples kojim će pregovarati svoju teritoriju. Venčanja nas podsećaju da je seks samo deo priče. Ovde vidimo dokaze o drugim instinktima koji nagone ka braku: za hranom, teritorijom, željom za smislom; za spavanjem, smrću; tu i tamo tragove straha. Većina parova su, u svojoj pojavnoj realnosti, ili incestuozna ogledala ili komplementarne suprotnosti jedno drugom, i uzorci gospođice Radović nisu izuzetak od ovog pravila. Interesantno je da kulturološke i/ili rasne razlike koje fotograf ovde veliča često kao da maskiraju incest. U svim ovim brakovima osećam značajan ‘interes’, i bar malčice ‘poštovanja’.

Samo u jednom, možda, primećujem izdaju šekspirovske „Čednosti u braku” (à la Feniks i Grlica), skretanje strasne privlačnosti od njenog stvaralačkog teleološkog imperativa ka verovatno isključivo genitalnom konzumiranju. Kod jednog drugog venčanja, pitam se ne radi li se možda o neretkom slučaju da se dvoje ljudi konačno venčaju kako bi se zauvek rastavili. I da li sam u pravu kada sumnjam da jednom od mladoženja samo što nije sinulo da se udajom za njega njegova mlada udaje za svoju majku? Ali, avaj (za nostalgičnog bajronovca kakav sam ja), nema mlade (sa izuzetkom jedne?) za koju osećam da je ta dama namenjena nekom ‘uslužnom kavaljeru’ starog kova. Uprkos često sekularnoj spoljašnosti, hrišćanstvo i dalje baca svoju misterioznu senku devetog sata na ove ‘post-hrišćanske’ evropske proslave – zaštitničku, opraštajuću, sugerisao bih, senku religije koja ima poreklo u deofilnoj ‘preljubi’ petnaestogodišnje Jevrejke, Čiji je Božanski Sin svoje prvo čudo izveo na jednoj svadbenoj svečanosti: dionizijsku transformaciju vode Zakona u vino Ljubavi. Sveti Pavle je podsticao na celibat kao ‘bolju opciju’ ne zato što je bio balkanski bogumil, već prosto zato što je verovao da predstoji Hristov Povratak i Kraj Sveta i da nadalje nema svrhe rađati. Avramovski imperativ je oduvek bio „Budite plodni i razmnožavajte se!” Ali za neupućene, koji izgleda zamišljaju da je ‘religija’ (t.j. hrišćanstvo) = bračna vernost, biće iznenađujuće da otkriju da je čudo u Kani bilo čudo bračne opijenosti … i da u hrišćanskom raju „nema davanja ili prihvatanja u brak”. Merien Mur, još jedna inspirisana usedelica, pokreće prikladno pitanje: „Ova institucija,/ možda bi trebalo reći poduhvat/ iz poštovanja za koju/ čovek kaže da ne treba da menja mišljenje/ u vezi sa nečim u šta veruje,/ koja zahteva javna obećanja/ u vezi sa nečijom namerom/ da ispuni privatnu obavezu:/ Pitam se šta Adam i Eva/ misle o tome do sada… ” Svi znamo za ‘javne brakove’, tragično-farsične saveze bez tajnog jezgra privatnosti, čiju zamislivu (kao i ekonomsku) stvarnost može sačuvati jedino pažnja medija – brakove čiji sam opstanak zavisi od toga da li postoje u umu ‘Javnosti’. Mogu da se setim barem jednog takvog braka, gotovo dirljivo grotesknog, u Beogradu. I jos priličnog broja sličnih u Londonu. I moja porodica, na primer, dičila se filmskim režiserom koji je godinama značajno ulagao sebe u pseudo-skandalozni brak sa nekadašnjom holivudskom devojčicom zvezdom koja je bila čak i bogatija od njega i skoro duplo mlađa. Bio je to, zapravo, jedan od najdosadnijih ‘sredovečnih’ brakova u kojima bi se čovek mogao nadati da će utonuti u san. Ono što ga je održavalo u životu jedan praznjikavi period vremena bila je ‘razonoda’ u vidu ljubomore (u njenom slučaju na njegove prošle, u njegovom na njene buduće ljubavnike) i voajerska pažnja novinara i fotografa. Neobično, ali samo retko čovek oseća da je fotoaparat gospođice Radović pozvan da učini punovažnim bilo koji

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od ovih saveza. Ili je blago ironični stav fotografa bio suviše očigledan da ostavi mogućnost maskarade? Pa ipak, sva venčanja su na neki način javni spektakli. Paradoksalno, kao i sa drugim javnim spektaklima, važne stvari se verovatno obično dešavaju pored, iza ili sasvim izvan pozornice – što je poznato kao ‘efekat leptira’ u teoriji haosa, bilo da je taj leptir dete krupnih očiju, prastara udovica ili raspuštenica, nepojedena voćka, zatvoren prozor, prazna stolica, bilbord, neko strpljivo blistavo drvo ili čak slika (što je šokantno na fotografiji). Ili par konja, ili par pasa (koji možda takođe žive svoj život u tom najusamljenijem od svih brojeva). Stvari se takođe dešavaju na pozornici, gde su akteri sami parovi, u letimičnom pogledu uhvaćenom u trenutku nepažnje, ili negde između zuba i usana. Bilo mi je prosvetljujuće da posmatram ova fascinantna svedočanstva uporedo sa Veronezeovom slikom ‘Svadba u Kani’, gde je Hrist, iako i/ili zato što je On apsolutno centralna figura, skoro nevidljiv, iako i/ili zato što je On taj koji je izveo to čudo. Fotograf na ovim venčanjima kao da učestvuje u istoj kreativnoj skromnosti, istoj autorskoj nevidljivosti. Pred Tintoretovom ‘Kanom’, međutim, u Santa Maria della Salute (koja je inspiracija za divnu pesmu Laze Kostića istog imena, najneobičniju svadbenu pesmu ikada sastavljenu), moram da zastanem – ili rizikujem (još jednu) svađu! Ovde kjaroskuro jednog Majstora prigušuje fotografiju. Fotografije nam na trenutak pokazuju kakav je zapravo pogled koji imamo na život – isprekidan, zbrkan. Tako fotografije savršeno odgovaraju onoj realnosti venčanja koju mi zapravo doživljavamo. One nam čak nude nešto dodatnog vremena da iskusimo to iskustvo. Ali Tintoreto je pogled koji bismo mogli – ili (smem li da kažem?) koji bi trebalo – da imamo na život. „Na dodir prsta” fotoaparat gospođice Radović zapretio je, prema rečima Valtera Benjamina, „da fiksira jedan događaj na neodređeni period vremena”. Ali ovo je samo noćna mora: fotografije takođe prelaze u naše sećanje, ulazeći u dušu i učestvujući u njenim metamorfozama, u njenoj beskonačnoj evoluciji. One nam pružaju neprisutne letimične poglede na trenutke koji su potpuno i večno prisutni samo u Umu Boga (iz svakog ugla, uključujući i naopačke, i uključujući ugao fotoaparata) – u Umu Boga koji se uvek troumi... Boga Trouglova... Moje najupečatljivije sećanje iz ciklusa fotografija Dok nas smrt ne rastavi je sećanje na fotografiju – ili bolje rečeno, filmski kadar? – potpetica, kolena otpozadi i poruba... Ta fotografija sve govori.

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Katarina Radović

... TO ETERNITY

It took a certain amount of time, and some rather striking events, the shaking or shattering of every prejudice and fixation from the past, and my being quite perturbed by all sorts of temptations, in order for the image of wedding and marriage to acquire what may be for me an entirely new form, dimension and significance… In the course of my two-year project of exploring the wedding ceremony – as one of the oldest anthropological genres – I had a chance to step into different corners of the European continent (and even further); to meet for the first time with what weddings are like in reality; to witness probable and incredible stories and customs; to taste something from each of those plates; to experience states of both rapture and melancholy; and to produce a firsthand record of all those scenes. Then, having completed my odyssey, I stumbled over the mine of an ‘ideal’ marriage, which in its pre-explosive state showed me that the ‘ideal’ can only feed on infusion and artificial respiration; after which, to top it all, I received a proposal of marriage for the Kingdom of Heaven(!) So, after all these experiences, with the accompanying perichoreses, peripeteia and kairotic moments, perhaps it might have been expected that I would step out of the whole cycle with entirely new feelings and attitudes(?) However, now, at this moment of giving final shape to my project Until Death Do Us Part, I still find myself facing the same, extremely difficult, recurrent metaphysical questions: A beginning before an end? A beginning of an end? Or, an end before a beginning? The idea of a wedding, and therefore, of marriage, has always carried a certain weight for me, as if the horizon were suddenly blurred, and madness extinguished to allow eternity to take its place. “What shall we do before eternity?”, asks the bride of her groom during the whirl of their wedding feast in John Berger’s novel To The Wedding (1996). On

their wedding night, Ninon will take off her shoes and dance with Gino. They will dance as though they will never tire, as though their happiness is absolute, as though death will never disturb them. This almost archetypal image could be affixed to most of the weddings I was present at: a photograph of the moment of bliss, love and happiness, of triumph over transience. But every love story contains from the beginning an inkling of its own collapse. Eventually, whether death do us part or do us bring together will remain hovering there as a question of doctrinal or intuitive conviction. If marriage, as a social institution, was originally conceived with the idea of procreation in mind, as has been the most common attitude over the centuries, it could be said that it represents the journey, not the final destination. However, as a consequence of many historic changes, some new questions are moving into the foreground: What is the point of getting married if nearly half of marriages nowadays end in divorce? What is the connection between evolution and the ever more frequent marriage ‘for papers’? What is the social goal of gay marriage or of marriage between elderly people? Does everything, as my ninety-two-yearold grandmother has so often and so aptly declared, only come down to “mutual respect and interest”? Or can getting married actually be a gesture of pure and unconditional love? In Berger’s novel, we encounter an example of marriage in which, in spite of devastating sorrow and hopelessness, love conquers all, even death: a young girl infected by AIDS gets married to a man who insists on marrying her because he loves her; she resists the idea at first, but eventually accepts it; the wedding feast is prepared, the lamb roasted, the various dishes cooked; and the family members are gathered, the courtyard around the house is tidied. And, yet, just the two of them, and a few close friends, know that she can only hope to live for a few more

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uncertain years. Every morning she wakes up and looks at herself in the mirror, searching for evidence of pain and blemish… The hour-glass is running too fast, and this wedding, like a vortex, draws both the characters in the novel and us, the spectators, to the very core of the problem related to the social meaning of marriage. In such a delicate situation, and in the face of the absurdities of existence and of the evolutionist idea of marriage, a strong need to love prevails. Here, marriage is only a temporary station on the way to eternity… In his Essays in Love (2006), Alain de Botton implies a similar standpoint when he states that the logical climax of “immature love” (immature because it is “absolute”, and has nothing to do with age) comes in death, symbolic or real, whereas the climax of “mature love” is in marriage, and in attempts to avoid death via routine. Yet, it would seem ‘death’ is likely to arrive sooner when things are defined, fixed… Marriage deprives us of the consoling option of perpetual possibility. It is, above all, a binding contract which implies a recognised long-lasting relationship between (in most cases) two people, who are expected to invest all their efforts in a cohabitation and agree on a division of duties and resources, with the aim of raising future generations. But there is nothing more desirable than what will soon disappear or what is forbidden or unattainable. Human beings are not monogamous, and infidelity is more a problem of a psychological than a physical nature. However happy we may be with our partner, it is our love for him or her that inevitably prevents us from pursuing alternatives. But why should that bother us at all if we truly love our partner, unless our love has started to fade? Why are we sometimes saddened by the impossibility of living more than one of the many life scenarios that we archive in the immense area of the imaginary? As if, at certain moments, we feel nostalgia for the times when a definite choice was not a necessity. Neither Church nor State likes divorce. The marriage vow ‘until death do us part’ could, throughout its history, be interpreted as offering at least a tiny release clause. However, apart from a certain floating uneasiness, rarely do we have the image of ‘the end before the beginning’ at the moment we are entering the state of marriage. There is, primarily, that comforting feeling of planning and preparing for the future, a kind of investment in time; credit that it will certainly take a long time to repay, and sometimes with great difficulty; and, in the worst scenario, a spanner in the works of the future control system, which could remain mercilessly screwed up. Although there is no absolute guarantee for the future – and exactly because it is the present which is the most difficult to live in – there is an intensified need for security and for earthing in the ‘here’ and ‘now’, expressed via an appeal to a common destiny.

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It is the wedding ceremony that metaphorically projects and reflects that appeal, that potential image of the future of couple, often crowned by the eschatological dimension, which gives meaning to everything through the prism of eternity. Yet, there always seems to remain that thin, slightly disturbing ‘crevice’, that latent fear of ‘the beginning of the end’, of loss, confronted with the suppressed doubt as to the rightness of one’s choice and decision. And that ‘crevice’ is also photography, so complex and contradictory as a medium, which, by some analogy, ominously announces ‘death’ with its every recorded moment, while at the same time presenting its ambitious, though precarious, claim to the truth. A photograph that documents triggers further thoughts, such as whether an image, along with its magical potential and its bipolarity – between mortalisation and realisation – can really contain its content? From the moment my camera’s shutter snapped, each of these photographs of wedding ceremonies, of parades and their personages, has borne in itself a seed of absence, of some a priori melancholy. The seed of absence also from the moment of that solemn act of union which will remain, if nothing else, a test of personal, and then, collective memory. Freed from the obligations of an official photographer, I wanted to record a wedding as a uniform visual narrative containing within itself a multitude of socially and culturologically conditioned differences, but eventually reduced to one organism – a body without skin, whose form is clearly defined by its skeleton and its inner organs, and where no sign or ritual has the same meaning outside of its context. In the spirit of Walter Benjamin’s “unconscious optics”, the camera, in its merciless neutrality penetrates the cellular structure of things that would otherwise remain unconscious. But here, apart from the anatomical precision, it is also the personal attitude and acquired experience of experience that are shown in all these images: in a fluctuating embrace, between celebration, humanity, closeness, nostalgia… and excess, vanity, humour, absurdity… Lived and observed, lined up in these photographs are ceremonies and rituals – old and new, often culturologically hybrid – either crucial for the evolution of a marriage, providing for a happy family and offspring, or protection against the evil eye, or merely present in the form of practical jokes, as an excuse for showing off and partying. On the wedding day, everything has to be perfect, because if something goes wrong, the whole marriage could turn into a failure. Hence, everything has to look as perfect as possible: settings, details of decorations, flowers, food arrangements on tables, clothes, shoes, jewelry, hats… On this day, everybody is at their best, and that is also part of the investment in the future. The wedding feast is the happiest moment in one’s life – but apparently


not for everyone: while for some it means a new beginning, the somewhat gloomy looks of those who have moved away from the beginning a long time ago are evidence that there is always a flutter of uncertainty in love, that there is a ‘before’ and an ‘after’, and that nothing is as simple as it seems. The portraits of all these participants, brides and grooms, family members and friends – with their exultant or expressionless looks, their dignified or slouching postures, seated or in a dance trance – reveal the subtle details of human behaviour in such a sublime moment, and the different psychological states and motivations, which, with their numerous nuances, confirm and celebrate the complex nature of human affinities, leaving as much room for fantasies and happiness as for failures and vulnerability. At the moment of the joining of two people, they all become as one, and every such new beginning rekindles this appetite, even for those who lost it long ago. All wedding guests, as in Berger’s novel, symbolically turn into a single animal, a half-mythical creature, like a satyr with thirty or a hundred or more heads. Such a creature lives for a very short time, only a day or two, and will be born again when there is something new to celebrate, because it consists of those who briefly ‘got lost’ in happiness and spectacle, in order to store those moments in their memory. The role of wedding photographs in the complex network of individual memory points, above all, to their private meaning; their greatest importance is to those who are in them, and as such, they most often remain in hermetic circles of families and friends. However, as usual, the established ideologies of groups can overrule the inclinations of individuals. Thus, the officially commissioned wedding photographs, in their conventionality, can be more than merely the way in which individuals wish to be seen; presented to the public, they become signs in the interpretation of family and social histories. As material evidence, they meet certain expectations, but they provide even greater satisfaction because they show family structures as capable of straddling the tensions between ideal presentation and real experience. On the border line between private and public, free of imposed canons, these colourfully ambiguous photographs of weddings and their protagonists are displaced in a different context of presentation and interpretation, and in this way, not only call attention to themselves as objects of general significance, and raise a number of questions, but also point subtly to both the Persona and the Anima of a social act such as wedding ceremony. However strange it may sound, it could be said that almost all weddings are the same. There is something in the very spirit of that event that equates them, regardless of their cultural specificities. Yet even when they fully recognise the obvious social norms and send out all the ex-

pected signals, there is always room left for exceptions and surprises. And that is the case with weddings between couples of different cultures or different races, and couples who are in conflict with society or on its margin. Then, the question arises as to in what way the rituals and customs, as well as the mere wedding celebration, actually serve to strengthen the feeling of individuality and community, when two different sets of cultural conventions meet and either find their melting point or sometimes cannot avoid confronting each other – evidence that personal histories can have a hard time fitting into family histories, and family histories an even harder time fitting into histories of communities, nations, races, continents… Even since ancient times, when the enamoured Zeus, disguised as a bull, seduced and abducted the young nymph Europa, daughter of the Phoenician King Agenor – a myth according to which the European continent seems to have taken its name from an emigrant from Asia – there have been numerous contrasting peoples, races, languages, religious beliefs and ideologies on European soil. Encouraged by many centuries of migrations, conflicts and changes, these diversities have opened up an almost unlimited number of possible mixed marriages. Although historians and anthropologists insist that the group, be it family, tribe, nation or state, always comes before the individual, it could be interesting to return, however briefly, to personal histories, as in these photographs. In love, be it “mature” or “immature”, in our quest for ‘the absolute’, ‘the eternal’, or just “interest and respect”, we often long and search for something exotic, remote, something that is missing in our courtyard. As if it were a rule, the initial spasm of love finds its inspiration in something unfamiliar; and by choosing partners from other cultures, or even races, we become attached to values that are missing in our own culture. We fall in love with the other, the ideal, because we want to get away from our own deficiencies and insecurities. Therefore it seems easiest and most logical to fall for someone who is entirely foreign, in no way conditioned by our knowledge, about whom and about whose tradition and culture we know next to nothing. Perhaps it is only then, in our moments of bliss, that we can fully ‘escape’ from ourselves. But afterwards comes the natural instinct to discover the being we have come to love and who has accepted us as we are, and at that paradoxical juncture of solipsism and emotionally coloured exoticism, in the process of our acclimatisation to the other, we often become victims of a xenophobic feeling of exile from our own tradition and our original expectations. It is then that history and anthropology take over again. Therefore it is no wonder that the photographs presenting the wedding ceremonies and feasts of mixed couples are replete with indications of national, religious and other identities – symbols that assert one as op-

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posed to another. The climax of the game is reached with the crisscrossing of those symbols, which is quite permissible, even very welcome, on the day of the wedding celebration because, it is moment for the reconciliation of all differences. One is curious to know how, at these moments, members of different cultures and traditions see one another – whether Europeans in African boubou dresses seem weird and funny to the Africans themselves, whether Indians in Scottish kilts look to the others like characters in a theatre play, or whether we can take the Hungarians seriously enough in their performance of the Hare Krishna wedding ritual. In the end, the experiencing and propagation as opposed to the innate fear of differences, is much more complex and delicate, sometimes, even, a more human and personal process, that it might at first seem. After all, this is the case with everything to do with human relationships. Following the line of European thought, from the Nietzschean revolt against Christianity, through the sexual revolution, to the Baudrillardian ‘illusion of the end’, marriage and family have been experiencing a major transformation. In his essay “On Gay Marriage and Revolution: The Metamorphosis of the Western Family“ (2003), Michel Onfray, reminds us how Christianity at its beginnings established an ideal of abstinence and renounciation of this world, offering as the sole option against the extinction of civilisation: marriage(!) – in other words, absolute monogamy, life under the same roof without secrets, and sexuality at the service of reproduction, with everything else to be considered a sin under the threat of eternal damnation (whether behind that threat there is a dogma, or more radically, a wife or a husband). On the other hand, libido and the life force have been paving their own way through the centuries, so that cuckolds and betrayed wives are continuous proof that conditioned faultlessness is mere anesthesia, that the body and personal choice also exist outside of the family, and that this world is more than sufficient without the next one, so that it needs neither philosophy nor religion. The classical family, wriggling free from the embrace of the Church, has given way to the so-called ‘postmodern family’, which transfers the determinism of nature and the authorities more and more to the freedom of culture. Interethnic, interracial, interreligious and homosexual models of cohabitation are obtaining a status equal to that of a classical heterosexual marriage registered within one community. Conceived in this way, and supplemented by freedom in the sphere of reproduction, the family is being increasingly transformed into a locus of conscious agreement, where personal feelings and aspirations for happiness prevail over any other religious or moral value, and where an individual begins to control his/her own destiny. Viewed from this ‘onfrayistic’

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angle, life in a couple, married or unmarried, is actually a “philosophical and existential construct“ – one might also say, an experiment. Be that as it may, the time has come for me to complete my two-year project with this selection of photographs, which do not conceal a certain degree of wonder at the phenomenon of marriage, shown in its many contemporary forms and from a number of perspectives. Although undomesticated to the environment that was the subject of my research, I wanted to express a personal viewpoint, in which a photographic image as an end result does not count for much more than what precedes or succeeds it in the long chain of events, thoughts, emotions and decisions. All these images, observed as a whole, besides their denotative meaning about the institution of marriage and the wedding ceremony today, emit the already well-known message that no matter how perfect something may seem in its flickering and suavity, deep down it is hiding unfathomable secrets and inextricable knots. In the cosmic process of time unwinding, in countless life plots and denouements, involutions and evolutions, in subordination or emancipation, what triumphs, in the end, is the need for procreation, and humanity but in the broad sense of the word – humanity in all its gradations of beauty and ugliness, kindness and cruelty, comedy and tragedy, pleasure and pain, ups and downs... And that is what makes this life interesting. But let us for a moment return to eternity. With today’s collapsing reality of a continuous present, and the experimental nomadic subjectivity experiencing its many little deaths every day, the idea of immortality is being increasingly deconstructed and dissected. The question arises as to what principle is at the source of the human need (or right) not to disappear – as a counterbalance to the creation of the species. In his book The Illusion of the End (1994), Jean Baudrillard implies that there is no history without Utopia, but criticises contemporary man’s need for an artificial biological survival at any cost, in a kind of prophylactic Utopia, as opposed to the lost metaphysical Utopia that had originated in the vision of an ultimate Christian empathy. Expanding on the medieval question as to the concrete forms of bodily resurrection, by asking whether we shall resuscitate with all our wishes, secrets, neuroses, handicaps, viruses, deliriums – in short, with our unconscious, Baudrillard ironically alludes to the simulacrum of ‘ideal resurrection’, which excludes all negative features, and eliminates the distinction between reality and representation. Well, if that really is possibile, if we could indeed expect everything to be purified, immunised, idealised and filled with love – fragrance of paradise?! – then, I would gladly think about that marriage proposal...


Katarina Radović

... DO VEČNOSTI

Trebalo je da prođe određeno vreme, da se izređaju dovoljno upečatljivi događaji, da se svaka fiksacija i predrasuda od ranije poljulja ili razbije, i da ja budem dovoljno uzburkana svakojakim iskušenjima, da bi slika o venčanju i braku dobila u mojim očima možda sasvim novu formu, dimenziju, smisao... U svom dvogodišnjem projektu izučavanja svadbenih ceremonija – kao jednog od najstarijih antropoloških žanrova – imala sam priliku da zakoračim svuda pomalo na evropskom kontinentu (pa i šire); prvi put se susretnem sa tim kako izgledaju svadbe u realnosti; svedočim verovatnim i neverovatnim pričama i običajima; okusim ponešto iz svakog tanjira; doživim i stanje zanosa i melanholije; zabeležim iz prve ruke sve ove brojne prizore; da bih, po povratku sa putešestvija, nagazila na minu jednog ‘idealnog’ braka koja je u svom predeksplozivnom stanju pokazala da ‘idealno’ može da opstane samo uz pomoć infuzija i veštačkog disanja; i da bih, kao krunu svega, dobila ponudu za brak u Carstvu Nebeskom(!) Dakle, nakon svih ovih iskustava, sa pratećim peripetijama i perihorezama, trebalo je iskoračim iz čitavog ciklusa možda sa nekim sasvim novim stavom i osećanjem(?) A upravo sada, u trenutku kada zaokružujem ovaj svoj projekat Dok nas smrt ne rastavi, iznova sebi postavljam ono isto, krajnje teško i rekurentno metafizičko pitanje: Početak pre kraja, početak kraja, ili kraj pre početka? Ideja o venčanju, a samim tim i braku, oduvek je za mene nosila neku posebnu težinu, kao da se najednom zamagljuje horizont, gasi se ludost i ustupa mesto večnosti. „Šta ćemo da radimo pre večnosti?”, pita junakinja Džon Bergerovog romana Na venčanje (1996), svoga mladoženju, u vihoru svadbene fešte. U noći svog venčanja, Ninon će izuti cipele i plesati sa Đinom; oni će plesati kao da se nikada neće umoriti; kao da je njihova sreća apsolutna; kao da ih smrt nikada neće poreme-

titi. Ova skoro arhetipska slika mogla bi da se pripiše većini svadbi na kojima sam bila prisutna: fotografija trenutka sreće, zanosa i ljubavi, koji trijumfuju nad prolaznošću. Ali, svaka ljubavna priča osuđena je da od početka sadrži u sebi nagoveštaj svog kolapsa. Na kraju, da li će nas smrt razdvojiti ili spojiti, ostaje da lebdi kao pitanje doktrinalnog ili intuitivnog ubeđenja. Ako je brak, kao društvena institucija najpre zamišljen sa idejom produžetka vrste, a kroz vekove se na to najčešće gledalo tako, moglo bi da se kaže da on predstavlja putanju, a ne krajnju destinaciju. Međutim, kao posledica raznih istorijskih preokreta, neka nova pitanja se nameću u prednji plan: Čemu ulaženje u brak ako se danas skoro polovina zaključenih brakova razvodi? Kakva je relacija između evolucije i sve češćih brakova ‘za papire’? Kakav je društveni cilj sklapanja gej brakova ili brakova starijih ljudi? Da li se sve, kako moja devedesetdvogodišnja baka često oštroumno izjavljuje, svodi samo na „uzajamno poštovanje i interes”? Ili, sklapanje braka zapravo može da bude i gest čiste i bezuslovne ljubavi? U Bergerovom romanu nailazimo na primer venčanja u kome, i pored poražavajuće tuge i beznadežnosti, ljubav nadvladava sve, pa i smrt: devojka zaražena sidom, udaje se za mladića koji insistira da je oženi zato što je voli, ona se prvobitno opire ideji, zatim pristaje na brak, sprema se svadba, peče se jagnjetina, kuvaju se razna jela, sakuplja se rodbina, sređuje se dvorište oko kuće, a oni, samo njih dvoje i još nekolicina najbližih, znaju da njoj preostaje još nekoliko neizvesnih godina. Svakog jutra ona se budi i zagleda u ogledalu, tražeći po sebi svedočanstvo bola i ljage... Peščani sat curi ubrzano, a ovo venčanje, kao vrtlog, uvodi i učesnike romana i nas posmatrače u samu srž problema koji se tiče društvenog smisla braka. U jednoj tako delikatnoj situaciji,

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pobeđuje ipak snažna potreba za ljubavlju, uprkos apsurdnosti samog postojanja i evolucionističkoj ideji o braku. Ovde je brak samo privremena stanica na putu do večnosti... U svojim Esejima o ljubavi (2006), Alen de Boton implicira slično stanovište kada kaže da je logični klimaks „nezrele” ljubavi (nezrela je zato sto je „apsolutna”, i nema veze sa uzrastom) zapravo u smrti, simboličnoj ili pravoj, dok je vrhunac „zrele” ljubavi u braku, i u nastojanjima da se smrt izbegne uz pomoć rutine. Međutim, kao da ‘smrt’ pre nadolazi kod stvari koje su definisane, fiksirane... Brak zamrzava komfor izbora. On je najpre obavezujući ugovor koji podrazumeva dugotrajnu priznatu vezu između (najčešće) dvoje ljudi koji bi trebalo da ulažu sve svoje napore u zajednički život, uz dogovor o podeli dužnosti i imovine, i sa ciljem odgoja budućih generacija. Ali nema ničeg poželjnijeg od onoga što će uskoro nestati ili što je zabranjeno i nedostižno. Ljudsko biće nije monogamno , ali neverstvo je kod ljudi više problem psihološke, nego fizičke prirode. Koliko god bili srećni sa svojim bračnim partnerom, ljubav prema partneru neminovno ometa traganje za alternativama. Ali, zašto nas to uopšte pogađa ako svog izabranika istinski volimo, osim ukoliko je naša ljubav počela da jenjava? Zašto nas ponekad rastužuje nemogućnost da živimo više od jednog, ili čak čitavo mnoštvo, životnih scenarija koje arhiviramo u nesagledivom području imaginarnog? Kao da nam se, u određenim trenucima, javlja nostalgija za vremenom u kome nije bilo potrebno načiniti definitivan izbor. Ni Crkva ni Država ne vole razvod, a bračni zavet ‘dok nas smrt ne rastavi’ mogao je, kroz istoriju svoga postojanja, suptilno da upućuje na jedini majušni ventil. Ipak, i pored izvesne lebdeće teskobe, retko se prilikom stupanja u brak ima pred sobom slika ‘kraja pre početka’. Tu je najpre onaj utešni osećaj planiranja i pripremanja budućnosti, kao neka vrsta uloga u vreme; kredit koji se zasigurno dugo, a ponekad veoma teško otplaćuje; u najgorem scenariju, šraf u budućem sistemu kontrole koji nekada ostaje nemilosrdno ušrafljen. Iako ništa ne uliva apsolutnu garanciju za budućnost – a upravo zato što je u sadašnjosti najteže živeti – javlja se pojačana potreba za sigurnošću i uzemljenjem ‘ovde‘ i ‘sada‘, a koja se izražava apelom na zajedničku sudbinu. Svadbene svečanosti metaforički projektuju i reflektuju taj apel, tu potencijalnu sliku budućnosti u dvoje, na šta se često nadovezuje i eshatološka dimenzija, davanje smisla svemu kroz prizmu večnosti. Ipak, kao da ostaje ta tanka blago uzemirujuća ‘pukotina‘ – taj latentni strah od gubitka, od ‘početka kraja’, a koji se povremeno konfrontira sa potisnutom sumnjom u pravi izbor i pravu odluku. A ta ‘pukotina‘ je i fotografija, tako kompleksna i kontradiktorna kao medijum, koja, kao po nekoj

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analogiji, ominozno nagoveštava ‘smrt‘ svakim svojim zabeleženim trenutkom, dok ujedno nudi svoju ambicioznu, mada sumnjivu, pretenziju na utemeljenje istine. Fotografija koja dokumentuje, pokreće na dalja razmišljanja poput toga da li slika, i pored svog magijskog potencijala, u svojoj bipolarnosti – između mortalizacije i realizacije, zaista može da sadrži svoj sadržaj? Svaka od ovih fotografija venčanja, svadbenih parada i njihovih karaktera, nosi u sebi seme odsutnosti, neke a priori melanholije, od trenutka kada je škljocnuo moj fotoaparat. Seme odsutnosti, i od trenutka tog svečanog ujedinjenja koje će ostati, ako ništa drugo, test za lično, a zatim i kolektivno sećanje. Oslobođena obaveza zvaničnog fotografa, želela sam da zabeležim svadbu kao jedan uniformni vizuelni narativ koji u sebi sadrži mnoštvo društveno-kulturološki uslovljenih razlika, ali se na kraju svodi na jedan organizam, jedno telo bez kože, čije su forme jasno definisane pomoću skeleta i unutrašnjih organa, i gde ni jedan ritual ili znak nema isto značenje izvan svog konteksta. U duhu Valter Benjaminovog „optički nesvesnog”, fotoaparat, u svojoj nemilosrdnoj neutralnosti, prodire u ćelijsku strukturu stvari koje bi inače ostale nesvesne. Ali ovde se, pored anatomske preciznosti, radi i o jednom ličnom stavu i o stečenom iskustvu iskustva koje pokazuju sve ove slike: u nestalnom zagrljaju, između svečanosti, humanosti, bliskosti, nostalgije... i ekscesa, taštine, humora, apsurda... Posmatrani i proživljeni, nižu se na ovim fotografijama ceremonije i običaji – stari i novi, često kulturološki hibridni – bilo da su presudni za dalji razvoj braka, obezbeđenje srećne porodice i potomstva, kao zaštita od zlih sila i uroka, ili su tu, u vidu praktičnih šala, samo kao alibi za pokazivanje i veselje. Na dan venčanja sve mora da bude savršeno, jer, ukoliko bi nešto krenulo loše, čitav brak mogao bi da bude neuspešan. Stoga, sve mora i da izgleda savršeno, koliko god je to moguće: ambijenti, detalji dekoracije, cveće, aranžmani hrane na stolovima, odeća, obuća, nakit, šeširi... Toga dana svi su u svom najboljem svetlu, i to je takođe deo ugradnje u budućnost. Svadbeno veselje je najsrećniji trenutak u životu – međutim, kako za koga, jer dok za neke označava sasvim novi početak, pomalo sumorni pogledi onih koji su od početka davno odmakli svedoče o tome da u ljubavi uvek treperi neizvesnost, da postoji ‘pre’ i ‘posle’, i da ništa nije tako jednostavno kako izgleda. Portreti svih ovih učesnika, mladenaca, članova familije i prijatelja – od egzaltiranih do bezizraznih pogleda, od otmenih do raspuštenih poza, u sedećem stavu ili u zanosu plesa – govore o suptilnim detaljima ljudskog ponašanja u jednom uzvišenom trenutku, i o različitim psihološkim stanjima i motivima, koji kroz brojne finese svoje pojavnosti potvrđuju i proslavljaju kompleksnu prirodu međuljudskih odnosa, ostavljajući prostora fantazijama


i sreći, ali i neuspesima i ranjivosti. U trenutku spajanja dvoje ljudi, svi postaju jedno, a svaki novi početak otvara na momenat apetit i onima koji su ga davno izgubili. Sve svadbene zvanice, kao kod Bergera u romanu, simbolično se pretvaraju u jednu veliku životinju, neko polu-mitsko biće, poput satira sa trideset, sto, ili više glava. To biće, kao takvo, živi vrlo kratko, samo dan ili dva, a ponovo će se roditi onda kada se nešto novo bude proslavljalo, jer njega čine oni koji su se momentalno ‘izgubili’ u sreći i spektaklu, da bi se kasnije toga samo sećali. Uloga svadbenih fotografija, u kompleksnoj mreži individualnog sećanja, ukazuje najpre na njihov privatni značaj i smisao; one najviše znače onima koji su na njima protagonisti, i tako najčešće ostaju u hermetičnim krugovima porodica i prijatelja. Međutim, kao i u svemu, ustanovljene ideologije grupa nadjačavaju sklonosti pojedinaca. Tako i zvanično naručene svadbene fotografije, u svojoj konvencionalnosti, mogu da budu više od pukog načina na koji pojedinci žele da budu viđeni; uvedene u javnost, one postaju znakovi u tumačenju porodičnih i društvenih istorija. Kao materijalni dokazi, one ispunjavaju određena očekivanja, ali pružaju još veće zadovoljstvo upravo stoga što su na njima porodične strukture prikazane tako da opkoračuju tenzije između idealne predstave i realnog iskustva. Na graničnoj liniji između privatnog i javnog, oslobođene nametljivih fotografskih kanona, ove šaroliko dvosmislene fotografije venčanja i njihovih aktera, izmeštene su u drugačiji kontekst prezentovanja, a samim tim i tumačenja. Kao takve one teže ne samo tome da prizovu pažnju na sebe kao predmete od opšteg značaja, i da glasno postave mnoga pitanja, već i da suptilno ukažu i na Personu i na Animu jednog društvenog čina kao što je svadbena ceremonija. Ma koliko čudno zvučalo, moglo bi da se kaže da su skoro sve svadbe iste. Postoji nešto u samom duhu tog događaja što ih neminovno izjednačava, bez obzira na kulturne specifičnosti. Međutim, čak i kada u potpunosti uvažavaju očigledne društvene norme i emituju sve očekivane signale, uvek ima prostora za iskorake i iznenađenja. To je slučaj upravo sa venčanjima parova koji pripadaju različitim kulturama ili različitim rasama, i parova koji se nalaze u sukobu sa zajednicom ili su na njenoj margini. Tada se nameće pitanje kako rituali i običaji, kao i samo svadbeno slavlje, zapravo služe da ojačaju osećaj individualnosti i zajednice kada se dva različita niza kulturnih konvencija susretnu i stope u jedno, ili se ponekad neminovno suprotstave, pokazujući kako se lične istorije teško uklapaju u porodične, a porodične još teže u istorije zajednica, nacija, rasa, kontinenata... Još od antičkog doba, kada je zaljubljeni Zevs prerušen u bika zaveo i oteo mladu nimfu Europu, kćer feničanskog kralja Agenora – mit po

kome ispada da je evropski kontinent dobio ime po jednoj emigrantkinji iz Azije – bilo je i biće na tlu Evrope brojnih različitih naroda, rasa, jezika, religijskih ubeđenja, ideologija... Pojačane vekovnim migracijama, sukobima i promenama, ove različitosti otvorile su puteve skoro neograničenom broju mešovitih bračnih kombinacija. Iako istoričari i antropolozi instistiraju na tome da grupa, bilo da je u pitanju porodica, pleme, nacija ili država, uvek stoji ispred pojedinca, zanimljivo je na trenutak načiniti taj put unazad, put do ličnih istorija, poput priča na ovim fotografijama. Tako u ljubavi, „zreloj” ili „nezreloj”, u potrazi za ‘apsolutom’ ili ‘večnošću’, ili samo „interesom i poštovanjem”, često tragamo i čeznemo za nečim egzotičnim, dalekim, nečim čega nema u našem dvorištu. Inicijalni grč ljubavi kao po pravilu pronalazi svoju inspiraciju u nečemu nepoznatom; biranjem partnera iz drugih kultura, ili pak rasa, vezujemo se za vrednosti koje nedostaju u našoj kulturi. Zaljubljujemo se u drugog, idealnog, jer želimo da pobegnemo od sopstvenih manjkavosti i nesigurnosti. Stoga se možda čini najlakše i najlogičnije zaljubiti se u nekoga ko nam je potpuno stran, ničim određen, o kome i o čijoj tradiciji i kulturi ne znamo baš ništa. Možda jedino tada, u trenutku zanosa, možemo potpuno da ‘pobegnemo’ od sebe. Ali onda sledi prirodna potreba za otkrivanjem bića koje volimo i koje je prihvatilo nas onakve kakvi jesmo, a u tom paradoksalnom spoju solipsizma i emocionalno obojenog egzotizma, u procesu aklimatizacije sebe na drugoga, često postajemo žrtva ksenofobičnog osećaja izgnanstva iz sopstvene tradicije i prvobitnih očekivanja. Tada reč ponovo preuzimaju istorija i antropologija. Otuda nije ni čudo što se na ovim fotografijama svadbenih ceremonija i veselja mešovitih parova smenjuju obeležja nacionalnih, verskih i drugih identiteta – simboli kojima se ističe jedno naspram drugog. Vrhunac igre je kada dođe do unkarsnog preuzimanja simbola, koje je sasvim dopustivo, čak veoma dobrodošlo, na dan svadbene svetkovine, jer to je trenutak ujedinjenja svih razlika. Zanimljivo je zapitati se kako u tim trenucima jedni druge posmatraju pripadnici sasvim različitih kultura i tradicija, da li Evropljani u afričkim bubu haljinama Afrikancima izgledaju čudno i zabavno, da li Indusi u škotskim kiltovima asociraju na karaktere iz neke pozorišne predstave, a da li se Mađari mogu shvatiti dovoljno ozbiljno za vreme izvođenja venčanog rituala prema obrascu Hare Krišna pokreta. Na kraju, iskustvo razlika, i njihovo isticanje, čak propagiranje, u odnosu na urođeni strah od istih, mnogo je kompleksnije i delikatnije, ponekad čak mnogo humanije i ličnije nego što na prvi pogled može da izgleda. Uostalom, kao i sve u vezi sa međuljudskim odnosima.

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Prateći liniju evropske misli, od ničeanskog revolta protiv hrišćanstva, preko seksualne revolucije, do bodrijarovske ‘iluzije kraja’, brak i porodica doživljavaju svoju veliku transformaciju. Mišel Onfre nas, u svom eseju „O homoseksualnom braku i revoluciji: metamorfoze porodice na Zapadu” (2003), podseća na to kako je izvorno hrišćanstvo postavilo ideal u apstinenciji i odricanju od ovog sveta, nudeći kao jedinu opciju protiv gašenja civilizacije: brak(!) – drugim rečima, apsolutnu monogamiju, život pod istim krovom bez tajni, i seksualnost u službi reprodukcije, nasuprot čemu je sve ostalo greh pod pretnjom večnog prokletstva (bilo da iza pretnje stoji dogma ili, radikalnije, sama supruga ili suprug). S druge strane, libido i životni princip kroz vekove krče sebi put, te su i rogonje i prevarene žene neprestani dokaz da je uvežbana bezgrešnost puka anestezija, da telo i lični izbor postoje i izvan porodice, da je ovaj svet više nego dovoljan i bez onostranog, te mu nisu neophodne ni filozofija ni religija. Klasična porodica, otrgnuta iz naručja Crkve, ustupila je mesto tzv. ‘postmodernoj porodici’, koja determinizam prirode i autoriteta sve više prepušta slobodi kulture. Međuetnički, međurasni, međuverski, i homoseksualni modeli kohabitacije, dobijaju jednak status kao i klasičan heteroseksualni brak sklopljen u okviru jedne iste zajednice. Ovako koncipirana, a dopunjena slobodom u sferi reprodukcije, porodica se sve više pretvara u mesto svesnog sporazuma, gde lična osećanja i težnja za srećom odnose pobedu nad svakim drugim religijskim ili moralnim razlogom, i gde pojedinac počinje sam da vlada svojom sudbinom. Gledano iz ‘onfrejisitičkog’ ugla, život u paru, bračan ili vanbračan, je zapravo „filozofska i egzistencijalna konstrukcija” – moglo bi da se kaže, eksperiment. Bilo kako bilo, došlo je vreme da zaključim ovaj svoj dvogogodišnji projekat izborom fotografija koje ne kriju izvestan stepen zapitanosti nad temom braka, u brojnim njegovim savremenim formama, i posmatrano iz više perspektiva. I pored neodomaćenosti u okruženju koje je bilo predmet mog istraživanja, želela sam da iznesem jedno lično viđenje u kome fotografska slika kao krajnji rezultat nije ništa značajnija u odnosu na sve ono što joj prethodi ili sleduje u dugom lancu događaja, misaonih procesa, emocija i odluka. Sve ove slike, posmatrane kao celina, pored svog denotativnog značenja o instituciji braka i svadbene ceremonije danas, odašilju i već dobro poznatu poruku da koliko god nešto može da deluje savršeno u svojoj uglađenosti i treperavosti, duboko u sebi krije nedokučive tajne i nerazmrsive čvorove. U kosmičkom procesu odmotavanja vremena, u bezbrojnim životnim zapletima i raspletima, podređenosti ili oslobađanju od autoriteta, na kraju ipak pobeđuje potreba za produžetkom vrste, pobeđuje humanost, ali u širem smislu reči – humanost u svim gradacijama lepog i ružnog, plemenitog i surovog, komičnog i tragičnog, patnje i zadovoljstva, uspona i padova... A to je ono što i čini ovaj život zanimljivim.

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Ali, vratimo se za trenutak večnosti. U kolabirajućoj realnosti neprekidne sadašnjosti i eksperimentalne nomadske subjektivnosti koja danas doživljava više malih smrti svakodnevno, i ideja o besmrtnosti se sve više secira i dekonstruiše. Postavlja se pitanje iz kog je principa nastala ljudska potreba (ili pravo) da se ne iščezne – suprotno postanku same vrste. U svojoj Iluziji kraja (1994), Žan Bodrijar govori o tome da nema istorije bez utopije, ali kritikuje savremenu potrebu čoveka za artificijelnim biološkim opstankom po svaku cenu u nekoj vrsti profilaktičke utopije, naspram koje je metafizička utopija, nastala iz ultimativne hrišćanske empatije, davno izgubljena. Proširujući srednjevekovne dileme o konkretnim formama uskrsnuća tela na pitanje da li bismo uskrsli i sa svim svojim željama, tajnama, neurozama, hendikepima, virusima, delirijumima – ukratko, i sa našim nesvesnim, Bodrijar ironično aludira na simulakrum 'idealnog uskrsavanja' koje iz sebe isključuje sve što je negativno, brišući razliku između realnosti i reprezentacije. Hm, ako je zaista tako, ako možemo očekivati da sve bude očišćeno, imunizovano, idealizovano i puno ljubavi – miriše mi na raj?! – razmisliću sa zadovoljstvom o onoj bračnoj ponudi...


Roma wedding, Boljevci (Serbia), August 2009


Dutch and Japanese wedding, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), March 2009


Spanish and Nigerian wedding, Aranda de Duero (Spain), May 2009 Serbian and Montenegrin wedding, Belgrade (Serbia), May 2009


Dutch and Slovenian wedding, Amerongen (The Netherlands), June 2009


French and Israeli wedding, Paris (France), June 2009


English-American and Brazilian wedding, Prague (Czech Republic), June 2010


Roma wedding, Boljevci (Serbia), August 2009


German wedding, Solingen (Germany), June 2009


German-Swedish and Norwegian wedding, Hamburg (Germany), August 2010 French and Swiss wedding, Saint Remy en Provence (France), June 2009


English and Indian wedding, Glasgow (United Kingdom), August 2009


Belgian and BurkianbĂŠ wedding, Antwerp (Belgium), August 2009


Turkish and German wedding, Istanbul (Turkey), July 2009


German and Uzbekistani wedding, Geneva (Switzerland), September 2009


BurkianbĂŠ and Belgian wedding, Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), December 2010 BurkianbĂŠ and Belgian wedding, Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), December 2010


English and Serbian wedding, Norwich (United Kingdom), August 2009


Scottish and American wedding, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), May 2010


French and Costa Rican wedding, Saintes (France), July 2009


Hungarian wedding, Backo Petrovo Selo (Serbia), October 2009


German and Turkish wedding, Leichlingen (Germany), June 2009 BurkianbĂŠ and Belgian wedding, Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), December 2010


Spanish and Nigerian wedding, Aranda de Duero (Spain), May 2009


Dutch and Japanese wedding, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), March 2009


BurkianbĂŠ and Belgian wedding, Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), December 2010


Serbian and Italian wedding, Belgrade (Serbia), April 2009


French and Costa Rican wedding, Saintes (France), July 2009 Albanian and American wedding, Budva (Montenegro), October 2010


Roma wedding, Boljevci (Serbia), August 2009


Belgian wedding, Antwerp (Belgium), August 2010


English-American and Brazilian wedding, Prague (Czech Republic), June 2010


Serbian and Montenegrin wedding, Belgrade (Serbia), May 2009


English and Indian wedding, Glasgow (United Kingdom), August 2009


Belgian wedding, Antwerp (Belgium), August 2010


Serbian and Italian wedding, Belgrade (Serbia), April 2009

Hungarian wedding, Backo Petrovo Selo (Serbia), October 2009


French and Costa Rican wedding, Saintes (France), July 2009


German wedding, Solingen (Germany), June 2009


Hungarian wedding, Sipito (Hungary), July 2010


Romanian and Moldavian wedding, Slatina (Romania), July 2010


English-American and Brazilian wedding, Prague (Czech Republic), June 2010


Roma wedding, Boljevci (Serbia), August 2009


German wedding, Solingen (Germany), June 2009


Belgian wedding, Antwerp (Belgium), August 2010


Turkish and German wedding, Istanbul (Turkey), July 2009


POSTSCRIPT

This book was envisaged as a collection of images and texts that represent the final stage of the two-year project Until Death Do Us Part, about the phenomenon of the wedding ceremony in early 21st century Europe. The photographing part was carried out in the period between early spring 2009 and late autumn 2010, during which I registered with my camera about 40 different weddings in about 20 different European countries (including one wedding held in both Europe and Africa). The final result of this body of work is a collective and multi-layered socio-anthropological image not only of modern weddings with their numerous intercultural aspects and their many personal histories, but also of modern European society in the process of becoming global, despite all the diversities, preconceptions and constraints. The visual material in this book consists of 134 photographs. As the result of a long and careful selection process, the presented images are arranged in 7 thematic sections, whose boundaries are rather fluid, leaving enough space for the viewer to create his or her own stories. The selection was not based on the principle of proportion (such as between the number of visited countries and photographed weddings) or following a ‘rule’ that the major protagonists of each wedding should inevitably be shown. On the contrary, priority was given to particular photographs that carry greater artistic potential in themselves and that contribute to a more consistent picture of the whole experience.

The texts in the book are organised in such a way as to constitute a separate section – a book inside the book, and distinct from the shorter introductory text at the beginning. I have found it interesting to invite writers not only from the domain of photography, but also from other branches of the arts and/or criticism, such as film, theatre, literature, history, anthropology and so forth, to make their contributions to this publication. I am glad to say that most of them have pointed to different aspects of my project and made remarkable and insightful commentaries, which are published here; some of them have also opened entirely new perspectives for my future work. As there are always exceptions to rules, this book, intended for international distribution, has been printed mostly in English, but also contains, in the separate section, the Serbian versions of the texts that have originally been written in Serbian, as well as a text written in English.


KATARINA RADOVIĆC was born in 1976, in Belgrade (Serbia). She was educated in Art History at the University of Sussex in Brighton (UK), and in photography at the Academy of Arts in Belgrade (in the class of Milan Aleksićc), whence she graduated in 2006. She currently lives and works in Belgrade. As a free-lance visual artist Katarina has participated in a number of solo and collective exhibitions and photography festivals in Serbia, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Egypt, Japan, etc. In 2007, she received the Kultur Kontakt artist-in residence grant, in Vienna (Austria), and has recently completed the two-year photographic project Until Death Do Us Part (2009-2010) supported by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF). Katarina’s works are in several public art collections in Europe and her photographs are published in a number of international magazines. She awaits Mr. Right.

JIM CASPER is the founder and director of Lens Culture, a popular online platform for international contemporary photography (www.lensculture.com). Through Lens Culture, Casper organizes several international photography events, awards, workshops and lectures. Highlights include: Lens Culture International Exposure Awards (a group exhibition shown at galleries in San Francisco, New York and Paris in 2011); the first large-scale international portfolio review sessions in Paris: “Lens Culture FotoFest Paris”, in conjunction with FotoFest International, Paris Photo and Spéos Paris Institute of Photography; and, in partnership with Fotografiska (the Swedish Museum of Photography), the first international portfolio reviews in Sweden, as part of the annual Stockholm Photography Week. Casper also produces a series of audio and video interviews, titled “Lens Culture Conversations with Photographers”. He serves on juries of several international photo competitions, curates shows, lectures, and writes about photography. Casper is based in Paris, and he is happily married

JONATHAN BOULTING, 60’s, British poet, essayist, translator, editor, teacher, with experience in theatre & film. M.A. Eng. Lit. Trinity Cambridge, has lived, worked, published in London, Valparaiso, New York, Berkeley, Deya, Bremen, Paris, Barcelona, Dublin, Belgrade, Mostar, Medjugorje. Currently lecturer at universities in Barcelona and Belgrade. Unmarried, 4 children, practising Catholic.

KATARINA MITROVIĆC was born in 1974, in Belgrade (Serbia). She graduated at the Philosophical Faculty in Belgrade, where she acquired an MA degree at the Department of Art History. She currently lives and works in Belgrade. During her studies, Katarina was already engaged in a number of projects, from field research to writing critical essays on a variety of subjects, ranging from small village churches in the south of Serbia to the contemporary Belgrade art scene. In 2005, she received the Pavle Beljanski Award for the best written work on national art history. She is a member of the AICA Serbia (International Association of Art Critics). Katarina is employed as a curator in the Historical Museum of Serbia, where she has so far organised a number of exhibitions. She writes critical essays in the field of art history and visual culture. She is happily married.

NEBOJŠA PAJKIĆC was born in 1951, in Visoko, Bosnia and Herzegovina, ex Yugoslavia. A screenwriter and film critic, he is a full-time professor of film dramaturgy at the Faculty of Drama Arts (FDU) in Belgrade, Serbia. He started his career in the Student Cultural Centre (SKC) in Belgrade, in the late 1970’s, where he was in charge of the program, promoting the so-called ‘New Wave’ movement with its alternative rock ’n’ roll bands and experimental theatre, that were linked to conceptual art scene. Pajkicć has been an inspiration to a group of film critics, the founder of the so called “Pajkićc” generation, ardent defenders of genre cinema, especially American, and he has written many critical essays about film, rock ’n’ roll, photography, etc. He is in an Ideal marriage.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

My sincere thanks are due to all who have contributed in many ways towards the production of this publication, from the first steps of looking for weddings and making plans and contacts, through the travelling phase, all the way to the final process of selection and preparation for printing. First and foremost, this book and the accompanying exhibition Until Death Do Us Part would not have been possible without the generous grant I have received from the European Cultural Foundation (ECF). I would like to express my thanks to the entire staff, and especially to Odile Chenal, my project supervisor, who always offered great support, as well as to Mascha Ihwe, Esther Claassen, Maite Garcia-Lechner, Nada Chourbaji and others, for their many kindnesses, technical assistance, patience and understanding. I must express my thanks to all the wedding couples and their families for their kind invitations and for their willingness to take part in my project. It is to my dear friend and colleague Vesna Mićcovićc from Belgrade that I owe special thanks for encouraging me to apply for the grant in the first place, and giving me her constant attention and support in the course of the project. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all those who helped or attempted to help me make contacts and find couples who were getting married in different places in Europe, those who offered me their generous hospitality, accompanied me to different places, showed their sincere faith in my project, and/or helped me in the selection of the photographed material for both the exhibition and the book: to my dear Ljiljana Keravica from Amsterdam who, among many other things, assisted me when buying my photo equipment; Jean-Marc Caracci from Montpellier and his connections (Christine Burchardt and Lauren Pasche from Switzerland, among others), without whom I would not have been able to find some of those interesting weddings; Desanka Berber, her daughter Mirjana Haarsma, and their colleague R. from Stopera in Amsterdam; Irena Spasićc from ‘Emotion’ in Belgrade; Elisabeth Assamair from Vienna town hall; Franz Schefbaumer from Salzburg town hall; Eva Keilwerth and Natalie Dlouha from ‘White Agency’ in

Prague; Aleš Blatnik from Ljubljana; Žana Kapa from Montenegro; Mindaugas Kavaliauskas from Lithuania; Jelena Stojanovićc from Belgrade; to my dear James Balder from Barcelona, whose apartment is my favourite in the world, and who has the best African music collection I know of, and without whom I would never have caught that train to Montpellier; to my dear Elena Vilallonga, the perfect woman from Barcelona; Susana Sanz from Madrid; Francisco Martinez from Madrid, whose kindness always touches me; to darling Sanja Jandrićc from St. Tropez, Bethsabee and Nicolas Beau from Paris, and Brigitte Bauer and Pierre Seguin from Arles, and their friend Josephine Forge, for their kind hospitality and the beautiful moments we shared together; to Tijana Pakićc-Feterman, Diaga Seck and Clara Elalouf, my dear friends from Paris, who always sent good vibrations; my dearest German friend, Lilian Muscutt from Solingen, with whom I share some of the best memories from student days in England; Taja Vovk van Gaal from Amsterdam, one of the brides in the project and a former ECF colleague, who always offered kind words of support, and her stepson Wester, with whom I remember some nice moments; Mira Gojkovićc with her husband Stefan from Antwerp, Jacqueline and Slobodan Cvetanovićc from Lausanne, Larry Boulting from London, and Silvana Kuzmanovićc, Nikola and Nataša Gajićc from Brussels, for their kind hospitality; Agathe Ouedraogo from Paris and her sister Alice Kouenati from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; my cousin Pera Srbinovski from Macedonia; Vanja Jovanovićc from Montenegro; my dear friend Dalibor Jovanovićc, who was great company in Istanbul; Mihael Milunovićc, for accompanying me to Sicily, Africa and Romania and helping in the preparation of the exhibition; Susa Schintler-Zürner, Leo Pilgerstorfer and Bernhard Hetzenauer from Vienna; Anne Ashen from Amsterdam; Alen Aligrudićc from Copenhagen; Ágnes Juhász from Hungary; Marmen Ochoa Lacar from Paris; Dušica Stefanovicć Drobnjak from Belgrade; Violeta Milovanovićc from Gothenburg; Maria Giovanna Musso from Italy; Mihajlo Dimitrijevićc from Belgrade; Xristos Kasiotis from Rhodes; Maja Djokic from Barcelona, Vladisav Rakićc and Risto Markovićc from Belgrade, and others.


I am more grateful than I can sufficiently express here to all my dear friends, colleagues and neighbours based in Belgrade: Jadranka Ilićc, Šejma Prodanovicć and Florian Ferré, Sanja Pajovićc, Nataša Mitrovićc, Branka Nedimovićc, Miroslav Karićc, Ana Stojanovićc, Marija Backicć, Irena Šimićc, Mihailo Vasiljevićc, Andrijana Pajovićc, Milica Rakicć, Aleksandrija Ajdukovićc, Ivan Petrovićc, Jelena Karajovićc, Mirjana Gavrićc, Milijada Markovićc, Zuma Balićc, Snežzana Tasićc and many others, for being there and supporting me from the start with their useful suggestions and fresh ideas. I very much appreciate all professional feedback that came from my former professor of photography at Belgrade Art Academy, Milan Aleksićc; Michael Mauraher from Fotohof in Salzburg; Rolf Wismer and Zuzana Meisner-Wismer from Langhansgalerie in Prague; Roman Babjak from Amsterdam; Martin Kollar from Berlin; Margarethe Makovec and Eva Meran from gallery Rotor in Graz; with special thanks to staff of the Cultural Centre in Belgrade, and to Dejan Sluga and Miha Colner from Photon gallery in Ljubljana, where I had the pleasure of showing these photographs. My deepest thanks also to Narcisa Knežzevicć Šijan, director of the Museum of African Arts in Belgrade, for providing me with medicines against malaria on my departure to Africa, and to Miloje Popovićc Kavaja, for his perpetual support. I will never forget the efficiency and kindness of Dinko Rudićc from Argus Tours and Predrag Kurdulija from Kielo travel agency, who found and kept for me all those flight tickets, even at the last minute; Nada CČorogar from Raiffeisen Bank for such pleasant cooperation in banking matters; and Miša Plavšicć, whose tango classes gave me important psychological equilibrium during the breaks between travelling. Special thanks to my father Radovan, whom I wanted to marry off to a Chinese woman as a contribution to the project. Unfortunately, I could not find the right one. I owe more than I can adequately express to my dear Sébastien Jamain from Paris, for all his encouraging words and for having made such an effort

to help me in the selection of the photographs at the moment of his illness; and to my dear friend Milan Bosanac, for his many enlightening comments, and for placing himself entirely at my disposal at the moment of putting up my exhibition in Belgrade. My very special thanks are due to Jim Casper from Paris, for his constant support of my work and for the lucid text he has written for the opening of this publication; to Katarina Mitrovićc, for her gentle encouragement and her excellent and exhaustive text; to Nebojša Pajkicć, for his witty text, many sincere compliments, and suggestions for the shape of this book; to Zorica Petrovicć, who has become such a very dear friend during the process of the translation of all the texts, and whose professionalism and meticulousness merit the greatest respect; and to Saša Janjićc, for his capability to calm me down at the moments of panic and his enormous patience and professionalism in our work on the design and layout of the book. My appreciation cannot be measured when it comes to my dear Jonathan Boulting and all his contributions to my project, from his numerous contacts in Belgrade, Medjugorje, London, Paris and Barcelona, to his kindness and patience, his beautiful text, and his coming to my rescue at every crucial point of this undertaking, including even his criticism and extraordinary talent for raising my blood pressure. I owe an equal amount of gratitude to my dear Stefana Savićc, whom Jonathan says has a ‘halo’, and without whose help this actual book could never have been put together, for our endlessly informative chats about everything, for her tireless cross-checking of every detail, and the happiness we shared after every step taken. And, finally, it is impossible to describe the gratitude I feel for my dear mother Svetlana, and the many ways in which she met all my needs, listened to all my problems, mood shifts and complaints, and helped me overcome every obstacle I came across, but nonetheless, participated in the moments of my enormous happiness. I am sure nobody else would ever have been able to put up with any of that.


Until Death Do Us Part  

A hard-cover photo monograph about weddings, with the accent on cross-cultural weddings. Contains several critical texts.

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