I received a feedback from a friend, she finds my video pathetic.
There is no proper translation for patetično
jadno is a word of a very rough meaning:
miserable, what one should feel ashamed to be,
what she meant is something else.
patetično in Serbian
is something that fails to transmit emotions
emotions that are already difficult to feel
for the lack of courage or
simply for inability of one to feel,
so when someone tries to depict these feelings
to refer to them
or represent them
it is even harder to reach
so we rather assume it is fake.
as with any other irony
it is easier to accuse the other
for failing to pass it to us -
what we are already incapable to take.
I have been in Venice only once before.
I had a private taxi boat driver taking me every morning from a luxurious hotel to the shooting location, and back in the late evening, for four days. In the hotel, the only people I could relate to were those who were serving me, and I remember taking a short walk on the hotel beach, where I met a security guy who told me about history of Nigeria, women in power and some national songs. He helped me searching for stones, that were rare among many shells and he posed in front of me, for a portrait, from three different angles. Other than that, on my last day, I had a short afternoon for myself to wander around. I remember the excitement that catching little streets being empty in the middle of the town has brought. I remember taking a selfie in one of them, for the reason of capturing this excitement. Even though this excitement stayed invisible in the picture, I still remember how crispy the light was. I remember eating in a restaurant that the client chose for the lunch break and only later realizing it was a hotel where Sophie Calle has stayed while following Henri B. I had an Aperol Spritz in a super touristy place close to the main square while waiting for my transfer to the airport. I started feeling sea sick only when I arrived home.
I walk out the building, take a short look into the garden. I see a little shop, it looks a bit like a souvenir shop, later I read it is an open studio. I go out, take the bridge on the left and walk for two hours through the neighbourhood that awaited me there. I am happy that this place allows me to ignore the week of exchanging business cards, on the other side of this water that I never know how to call. Later, I think, my ignoring maintains it. Even boycott is silly now that I am already here.
On my way to Venice, I go through my ipad notes, and among weird lists of names and numbers which meaning I can not recall, I find love letters that I’ve written to a wrong man. I remember that I recorded myself reading some of the lines and sending them as audio files to this person. In the same line of embarrassment that such discovery brings, I recall that somewhere in Hvar a photograph of myself having sex with two young men has been taken by a jealous friend of theirs.
Now that I am somewhere else, so far away, that I can hardly identify with the person from these stories, I wonder, when there is only one chance to arrive to Venice by train for the first time, are you gonna watch it or film it?
I can feel the pain that someone who I really love feels, when reading these lines.
Thank you for doing this to me.
Being pushed in this situation makes me rethink over and over again what it is that I do. Does practice become therapeutic as soon as I am asked to observe it. Or, is it only me who believes that self-awareness is healthy. So, what is practice? What is my practice? How can I perform something that happens elsewhere, something that is done and experienced hours ago in other places. I need to cut it into pieces, to see it as fragments, that is - to observe it. Something, instead of practice. I say ‘something’ instead of saying ‘practice’.
Now in Venice, I just realized that we are not in Venice.
We are very close, we can see it from here, and if we needed a pajama or socks we would certainly go to Venice. There as here, I have a strong urge to follow people, to watch them.
And I know that I am not the only one who came to Venice in order to do this.
Locals walk differently.
Locals - I try to avoid this word.
Is it - People who live here?
People from here - or,
People - when they are at home -
People when they are at home -
Non-branded plastic bags reveal them.
I am revealed not because I record what I see
I am revealed because I carry the camera.
As a visitor,
I disturb the calmness of the scenery
not because of my gaze nor my presence
it is the camera I posses and me carrying the camera
that are a disturbance.
Laundry like flags.
“Each time we enter a new place, we become one of the ingredients of an existing hybridity, which is really what all “local places” consist of. By entering that hybrid, we change it; and in each situation we may play a different role.”
Countless digressions catch me as distraction.
If you concentrate well, you might feel that the ground is moving. Think of boats on the water, then imagine islands.
At any moment nature is just few meters beneath our feet. We suppress it so well, that we need to go through massive ceremonies of transition to finally reward ourselves with some big discovery of it. Just like culture, which we seek to move us with variety and ‘egzotika’, nature is always in our neigbourhood. Instead of searching for the extraordinary, I forever move for the surprises.
I do not know geography.
I see it as a contradiction to my wish to always locate myself. To circle around of what is in front of me, to see it from different angles, to grasp it in order to come close to it.
I can hear a train, the plane and the cars
I hear the birds and the rustle of the trees
I hear the cutlery tinkling from the neighbours kitchen
my laptop is buzzing
my stomach is digesting
(all at the same time.)
I am thinking of distances
of ways to measure intervals
in some parts of the world it is later then here now
You have two hours more than me
and so much more experience
I think of distances
in time and space
I am thinking of places that I will not see because you have already seen them.
What is the difference between a dead end and an edge?
Where I expected a road, I have discovered the wall.
Suddenly a shortcut becomes a dead end.
A dead end is marked with four bushes of my favorite tree.
Is this enough to turn this place into a site worthful seeing?
Is there anything natural? Site, and sight, I go there, I arrive, I am here. What do I find, what are the relations, what is my role? How many roles do I take as tools to define myself and the relations I support?
I once tried to draw a map of Europe and the result came as an evidence that I have no idea where I am. You know? I know I am not in Europe, but I would hope for myself to know where it is.
"They are evergreen or deciduous shrubs or trees growing to 1–18 m in height and forming dense thickets. The largest, Tamarix aphylla, is an evergreen tree that can grow to 18 m tall. They usually grow on saline soils, tolerating up to 15,000 ppm soluble salt and can also tolerate alkaline conditions. Tamarisks are characterized by slender branches and gray-green foliage. The bark of young branches is smooth and reddish brown. As the plants age, the bark becomes bluish-purple, ridged and furrowed. The leaves are scale-like, almost like that of junipers, 1–2 mm long, and overlap each other along the stem. They are often encrusted with salt secretions. The pink to white flowers appear in dense masses on 5–10 cm long spikes at branch tips from March to September, though some species (e.g., T. aphylla) tend to flower during the winter."
If you walked around this block and then made your way to the water, you would discover the orange version of it.
On my second day in Venice, I arrive in Venice at 9:25 am,
I take vaporetto n2 from Giudecca Palanca to San Marco stop. The first place where I recognize sight-seeing is Ponte della Paglia.
"This bridge is a common place from which to view the Bridge of Sighs. The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge’s English name was bequeathed by Lord Byron in the 19th century as a translation from the Italian “Ponte dei sospiri”, from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells. In reality, the days of inquisitions and summary executions were over by the time that the bridge was built, and the cells under the palace roof were occupied mostly by small-time criminals. In addition, little could be seen from inside the bridge due to the stone grills covering the windows."
I decide to stay and wait for a moment that no other people are there, or at least not in my frame. I notice a group of three men waiting for the same thing and after 30 minutes I give up.
At Rio Terra s Paternian that I later do not manage to find on the map I watch a man, in his sixties. He doesn’t move, he is watching towards the monument of Manin, the back side of it. From time to time he switches the pose, or he makes a few steps to then stand still again.
I arrive at Piazza San Marco expecting it to be busy at any time, but I am surprised - it is not. I sit against a column. I watch. I watch people from a safe distance. And I feel distant. Irony is a signal for being distant. A signal of inability, even fear to overcome the distance.
I watch people taking pictures of buildings, their roofs and facades, of boats and water, of shopping windows, they continuously photograph their close ones and their own selves. I am thinking, do mobile phones serve us as portals to connect with what we see, or as shields and protection of it.
I watch a little girl watching pigeons, till her parents interrupt her. I watch people being told where to look and what to do. I watch people who show them where to look and where to go.
I find his figure photogenic.
I like his style, the colors of his clothes.
His posture is elegant.
He might be waiting for someone,
It is 9 past 11, he is nervously checking his phone.
As time is passing and I start worrying that my attention is visible, I realize it is not only his appearance composed in this scene that attracts me, but also the tension that our relation creates.
Hello Pucci, I now know his name.
He is warmly smiling at the young woman that hastily approached him. They enter the savings bank together.
On the way here you have passed a prison for women.
You might have noticed three chimneys, standing here as leftovers of factories of which none is active. One of them is Hilton hotel, which you have passed by as well. On the bridge in front of it, I once photographed a man taking a selfie.
In another hotel I photographed a maid while she was cleaning the room because I found her pretty. Later I felt guilty for doing it. Not because I didn’t have her consent, but because the picture turned too beautiful and therefore stood for a power game that I choose not to play. I didn’t know back then that watching workers doing their work is an innate habit of tourists on holiday.
Today, only shipyards are active.
There the entry is forbidden.
Our dancefloor is someone else’s workspace
Our workspace is someone else’s dancefloor.
You certainly didn’t see the market that I visited on Friday, by chance. I took a walk, the one I proposed to you today and got very excited to discover it.
There I found a pajama that I would have bought if Friday was Tuesday.
This dead-end of thinking in a foreign language,
this road between the image and text
– it is where I live and work.