An introduction – a long journey and trips
I have been creating my blog quietly and patiently. I used to carry it around with me on trams, in rarely quiet classrooms and workshops in the School od Applied Arts and Design, on brisk walks in nature, on summer vacations at the seaside, on my last trip with my students to Prague and Berlin, in my kitchen, in the bathroom…
And all the time I was looking forward to a special “self-reward” following the continuously dynamic and noisy four decades of my study and permanent education training, enthusiastic parallel work with children, youth and adults, writing and editing educational materials, and all my comprehensible family duties and obligations, with too little sleep. Especially because of the fact that with all these responsibilities I could have managed only occasionally to make genuine artistic exits from my daily regularity and routine into myself (!) – in order to strengthen myself for my constant search of my own true place in the not-always-hospitable world around me.
I have been thinking: it shall be the fulfilment of my desire for at least a virtual art & ecological garden in which I will be able to “plant”, “pick”, and exchange my naturally grown, unsprayed plants and fruits with people having similar interests, in accordance with my own feelings and rhythms! And in doing so, I shall certainly avoid the painful exposure of my artworks and my naive (or not?) beliefs about the possible quiet-aloud role of artists (and educators) – to the cold assessments or even complete disregard of numerous curators and publishers. Besides, writing my independent and voluntarily non-profit, publicly available blog, I shall also put an end my to exhaustion due to misunderstandings, constraints, obstructions, and sloppiness of editors, as well as the widespread experience of unjustifiably denied author’s fees and all the copyright infringements.
And then suddenly, from my mostly calm self-confidence in my usually consistent readiness to step into the inspiring new and different, the insecurity, fear and doubt began to emerge – that this time I was really too late for this “adventure”, that I overestimated my abilities, crispness and amount of courage, all of which, I have to admit, still belong to much younger beginner bloggers!
One of few good consequences of this delay in launching my blog was my acceptance of the invitation from a group of artists much younger than me to participate in their interdisciplinary project of artistic involvement in nature preservation by making a collaborative documentary film on the wetlands on the island of Mljet, mostly in Mljet National Park. Within two days, I bought a video camera and acquired a new skill – manipulating the camera and thinking in the medium of video, capturing motion and sound, not just still images as before.
Answers reflected in a puddle of rain water
Once on Mljet, still latently confronted with my conflicting doubts and excessive fatigue, the worries about some close persons’ problems, and my accumulated emotions, I unexpectedly found my personal, simple and satisfactory “answers“ that I just needed at that point. I found them in my reflected image in a puddle of rain water that remained at the bottom of an old plastic boat pulled up on the shore – more clear recognized first in a subsequent photos review on the camera LCD screen, and then on the laptop screen. The visually self/shaped and quite intuitive answers were soon reinforced with a few key words which appeared “from within”, and then partly balanced by a verse-message scribbled on the first paper within reach. It is only after having a printed photograph made in a photo studio and adding the handwritten text in black marker along its white margins that this recorded reflection – about a reflection – continued to live on as my own, recently preferred form of artistic expression: a photograph-poem.
In so doing, my visual-lyrical statement is presented to viewers-readers only as a stimulus (and to me as a future reminder) in case of a “frail“ emotional state, such as uncertainty, sadness, emotional emptiness or anxiety – to see the need of observing and considering again the “known” and “negative” from a new, different perspective.
A look at the consumed, discarded, abandoned, the bottom (The sunglasses and a plastic boat)., Digital photograph (Island of Mljet, Croatia, 18. 10. 2019, 12:21), handwritten text (21. 11. 2019), 33 x 45 cm.
A look at the consumed, discarded, abandoned, the bottom –
Reveals the sky and the light, play, growth, and joy-meaning?
Mtd, 21. 11. 2019
This photograph-poem (from the cycle based on reflexion-self-portrait and shadow-self-portrait photographs) was exhibited in December last year and published in the catalogue of the annual exhibition of teachers of the School of Applied Arts and Design in Zagreb in the ISO–Izidor Kršnjavi Salon, Zagreb, Croatia.
The time planned for the technical preparation of the blog (which I knew nothing about, so I should have arranged the comprehensive external help from web professionals totally unknown to me) – at the end of last year and at the very beginning of this year – was wasted again, this time in preparation for a long journey to China (!). Now this idea may seem completely surreal, just sad :-( or simply a joke :-), given the beginning of the epidemic, that “follows” in the sequel of my “story”?
My plans for the blog were further slowed down by concern for the health of a family member.
“Time of coronavirus“, “Stay home!”, walks by the river…
And then, of course, we got caught up unprepared in the “time of coronavirus”, in which the coronavirus pandemic 2019–2020 (what a significant name!) had sucked all of us for a few months, some less, some more, like a global black hole.
The unknown, uncertainty, not unusual fear, discomfort, and sadness due to the increasing rise of the deaths in our friends’ home countries. I am reluctant to accept that the lives of most people will change significantly in the future. Personally, I will probably never travel to China, and I guess travelling will no longer the same, as well as most cultural and social events, schooling, vacations, and performing of various jobs. Are spontaneity, frequency and intensity of socializing, falling in love, and intimate relationships also going to change profoundly?
To what extent, due to all possible causes and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the impoverishment of a large number of countries and the world population, will the coronavirus disease have a negative or maybe a positive impact on nature protection, art, and ethics?
In response to growing recommendations for self-isolation (“Stay home!”) and a general focus on the internet and TV news about the ongoing spread of the virus all day long, I made use of the privilege of living near a river and a lake for my (or our, in case my husband was with me) fast, almost lonely morning walks instead of passively feeding on fear and anxiety. In doing so, I took a series of photographs and thought about combining some of them or some earlier ones in the form of a photographic diptych – with the addition of my own text.
I went on upgrading my future blog, both in my mind and on my computer.
A sad urban story – Beauty and…
In mid-March, reading news on the Internet, in an article on a daily newspaper news portal I came across a brief information on the new role for the Zagreb Hotel in Split in the age of coronavirus, which I immediately complemented by two extensive articles previously published. Their excellent photo documentations on the history of unreasonable decay of this imposing architectural complex designed by the architect Ante Svarčić led me to review my own photographs from the cycle of my self-portraits-shadows taken eleven years ago in the surroundings of the same, even then very neglected, beach facility.
These two photographs were (as separate pieces, 25 x 38 cm, 38 x 25 cm) part of my solo exhibition Self-portraits-shadows and urban textures in the Art Gallery of the Međimurje Museum in Čakovec in 2009 and were published in the exhibition catalogue (see the Blog Gallery).
Note: the second photo is not an image converted to black and white in Photoshop with, for instance, a symbolic purpose – the photographed environment was originally “colourless”.
Unfortunately, in the context of measures implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19, my homage to one more victim of the neglect on the part of the state, county and city of our architectural heritage in a long line of all devastated cultural, economic and natural assets – could not have taken its printed form of a photographic diptych with the handwritten text in its margins, as intended.
Instead, here it is in its simplest form in my first blog post:
Ex whiteness of the walls & my ex City x 40 (Hotel Zagreb in Split–beach facility), Photography diptych. Digital photographs (Split, Duilovo, Croatia, 10. 3. 2009, 15:16/15:15). Detached digital text (18. 3. 2020).
Ex whiteness of the walls by the sea & my ex City x 40,
A military hotel, a refugee facility, a corona quarantine…
Misunderstood, unaccepted, un-chosen. A SCREAM?
Margaritas ante (…), the quiet architectural beauty.
Mtd, 18. 3. 2020
The text of “Blog launched in the time of coronavirus“ continues in my next post.