Bosnia & Herzegovina Video Art: Project

by Igor Bošnjak

Contemporary art scene (especially video art) in Bosnia & Herzegovina is very interesting because it presents and deals with some issues, problems and relations between the past – in terms of politics, ideology and history – and nowadays, the present. Bosnian video art is represented by three different varieties: firstly, there are works that refer to the recent war and posttraumatic elements in society, next, there are works that refer to some universal problems and ideas of media and art, and finally, there are works that refer to questions of personal and social identity. This selection (compilation) of video art is a part of 3 video project which is a kind of “other” independent video art scene inside Bosnia & Herzegovina which represents (un)institutional art. Those works that are trying to open the problems and questions of memory have been influenced by war and postwar atmosphere, whereas those works that refer to collective identities and ontological problems have been influenced by artistic and personal trauma. This compilation is trying eclectically to connect some works that cannot refer together as a similar concept. Instead of some kind of curatorial concept, I can offer some meanings and zeitgeist which can be valuable as a work of art or political situation in a very complicated country such as Bosnia. By this “situation in art” in Bosnia project becomes a video project/exhibition which presents video, film and performance as well as experimental-collage mix new media works dealing with the eternal civilisation issues and problems, only this time within the given circumstances of contemporary social paradigms. The video project does not aim to become a large-scale international exhibition of significance, but to present annually the works of artists from the region and from the territories of the former Yugoslavia, as well as from the European and a wider global context which deal with the exploration of the art media and the field where this media exists.

I can refer on Tom Sherman’s thoughts: “In 2005 in New York, Toronto or Los Angeles, video is called installation, new media, film, photography, and even painting, but rarely video art. Artists on the way up, or in mid-career or on the plateau, have figured out that the video art sector is being deprofessionalized. This deprofessionalization is largely the result of the proliferation of sophisticated video tools, and by the massive, collective contributions of an immense population of artists working in video. ‘Video art,’ as a designation for art made by artists working in video, has become dead weight in semantic terms. Semantics, like physics, govern behaviour. More profoundly, video, as a medium, has gone from total opacity to complete transparency in less than forty years. Video is the predominant medium of the 21st century. Video’s power and relevance stem from its unparalleled capacity for mixing and dissolving into other media. Video embodies film, television, performance and surveillance, and has become the ultimate living and breathing, matter-of-fact medium of all forms of advancing digital telecommunications. Highresolution, real-time video streaming, with synchronous, spatially rich digital audio, is the immediate destiny of wireless digital telephony. Text messaging and still-picture phones are paving the way for full-motion, video-based personal telecom.”*

Last three years project identified and set boundaries on the scope and possibilities of video within the local context, the town of Trebinje and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

* The Nine Lives of Video Art: Technological evolution, the repeated near-death of video art, and the life force of vernacular video, Tom Sherman, 2005 (ed. 2008)

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