The First Of May, 1977 (2014)
deconstruction of a family 8mm film, slide / sound installation
29-slides, two-channel sound installation, 13 min 20 sec EN, 12 min 16 sec SRB, 15 min 48 sec DE
The work The First of May, 1977 is a deconstruction of an 8mm family film in which a small act of violence is isolated and played out while its cause remains concealed.
Split into two separate locations, the work is comprised of a sound piece in one space which is based on interviews with members from the two families who witnessed and directly participated in the act of violence and a slide projection made from the 8mm film in the other.
Considering the event occurred in 1977, it now exists as a distant memory for each person interviewed and the differences and discrepancies in their accounts attesting to the subjective nature of memory and perception.
Originally captured in a single moment, the act of the boy throwing a rock at the girl’s head becomes 29 slides which are then looped into a four-minute sequence. By creating stills from the 8mm family film and representing only a brief instance from the day it occurred, the slide projection isolates and prolongs the act of violence.
By separating the testimonials of the witnesses and participants (sound) with the “evidence” of the act of violence (slides), the visitor engages in the act of becoming a witness themselves by carrying the contents of one space mentally to the other or at least a thin remembrance of it. Because the two spaces are approximately identical in character and the distance between them is just long enough to begin the process of forgetting, the absence of the images and presence of sound in one space and the absence of the sound and presence of the images in the other space creates a parallel scenario to the act which is itself in question.
Here you can hear the sound installation in English:
Here you can hear the sound installation in Serbian:
Here you can hear the sound installation in German:
The Girl’s Sister Remembers:
The girl’s sister doesn’t remember anymore. She doesn’t remember who was there. She says there were eight of them, although, she doesn’t remember if their grandmother was also there. She can’t recall it, but says she thinks she was, since their grandmother used to go everywhere together with them. What she knows for sure is that four of the children were with their parents. But she is really not able to invoke it at the mo- ment, either in her memory or visually. She re- members the event itself, that she and her family had a picnic and that it was okay; they were play- ing, running and jumping around. She says that the only thing that comes to mind is that the boy and the girl were teasing each other and fighting. She says she doesn’t know anymore what else the boy and the girl were doing, or if she was near them. The only thing she remembers is the mo- ment when the boy screamed. She remembers that everyone started shouting and running to- wards the boy. She didn’t see what was going on, and can’t remember if a stone or something flew towards the boy. She doesn’t remember if she actually saw it or if it’s what she was told by oth- ers. She doesn’t remember when it was or how old they were. She remembers it was unpleasant and that’s all. As far as she remembers the story was that the girl hit the boy and that the girl had probably picked up a stone from somewhere, the grass maybe.
She thinks the family was on a grassy hill and doesn’t remember how the stone had gotten there. She says she remembers the story that the family told her better than what she experienced. She says she is 44 years old now and thinks that it wasn’t winter time, the weather was nicer and it was spring or summer. She doesn’t know what year it was, whether it was 1979, 1975, or 1976 but that it wasn’t 1980.
excerpt from the two-channel sound installation
The Boy’s Brother Remembers:
There was the boy and girl’s grandmother. There was the girl’s father, mother, sister and the girl herself. There was the boy’s mother, father, the boy’s brother and the boy himself. The boy’s brother remembers that they parked on the mountain Divčibare and that he and the girl’s sis- ter played with a ball. He thinks shortly and says he can- not actually remember anything except what he had seen in the film after the fact. He says the boy and his mother, their grandmother as well as the girl’s mother and father were chat- ting. He and the girl’s sister were playing with a ball, while the boy and the girl were hopping around, running, jumping, and pushing each other. And then, he says the girl pushed the boy from be- hind. The boy fell down and the girl ran away. The boy then grabbed a stone and threw it at her head. Then nothing, the camera fell in the grass. He can’t really remember how long it lasted but thinks about half a minute, not longer. He doesn’t remember what happened after. He says he might remember more if he hadn’t seen the film twenty times.
excerpt from the two-channel sound installation