Igor Španjol
day+night show Raum fur Kunst, Graz 1999

Loved / Silent

"Freedom comes when you learn to let go,
creation comes when you learn to say no"

Madonna, The power of goodbye

In the 1997 series of inter-active video installations entitled Talk To Me Like Lovers Do, Damijan Kracina structured intimate relations in an adequately dimmed and isolated gallery space. He attempted to catch the spectator's statement of love and fish as fair partners returned exactly as much as the gallery visitor gave.

The delayed transmission of the spectator's voice travelling through water, his spontaneous, chance statements, fragments of a lover's discourse, which Barthes named figures, are the objects of analysis in terms of love relations. These same statements also serve as metaphors of the relation with one-self, art and mechanisms of authority. These relationships can last for various periods of time, and often they end in an abrupt manner. The present installation deals with this delicate and uneasy situation, this, for the heart fatal overdose of freedom, the labour pains of creativity, which is actually born from nothing. The self-critical test of one's personal opus and the nihilistic stance as a sign of a creative crisis finds its expression in the breaking of communication. This is the moment that we fear, the moment we never find enough courage to deal with - the moment we rather turn away from. The very location of the installation found in the passageway of an underground station an ideal location for farewells and partings. The end of an intimate relation necessitates leaving the intimate space.

Once we say no, it's all the same if the fish (in their MTV tempo) shower us with uncountable fragments of our past statements, fragments from such a fine book as Umberto Eco`s The Name of the Rose or merely unaffectedly substantiate that you had nothing to say. HE HAD NOTHING TO SAY.

Though the letters are precisely executed (composed of the endemic, rare and unusual creature - the proteus); the advertising panels and TV screens as an everyday form of vulgar seduction lost their meaning a long time ago and are now reduced to mere decorations, changing images that no longer touch us, images we can pass by without paying them a second glance.

The artistic dissection of sentences, the display of words, notions, fragments and signs from Eco`s book bring us back once again to Barthes; this time to his Elements of Semiology (1964). During his conversation with Brother Adson which took place in 1327, the hero of The Name Of The Rose, William of Baskerville, approached the idea of all encompassing semiotics. According to Eco, there's not a single word in the entire novel that could truly be William's. The same applies to the words that are played back to us in Damijan`s underwater video room. This time the author forces us to make an effort and imagine languages without speech, and at the same time supplement the pair language/speech with a third link - the carrier of meaning. Thus we find ourselves in the domain of Barthes' semiology of meaning. Its most important characteristic and basis for parting with history is its opposition to the semiology of intercourse.

It is the end of all stories and whispers to fish, creation comes..........

Igor Španjol

Translation: Boris Božič