Danilo Kiš’s Dream

Performance / instalation / exhibition

Authors: Boris Kadin & Andrej Mirčev

The project titled Danilo Kiš’s Dream is envisaged as an interdisciplinary research and a multimedia recreation / performance portraying the search for the long vanished Central European world and the symptoms of it’s destroyed urbanity.

By taking Kiš’s literary oeuvre as a narrative and referential framework and reinterpreting it in different contexts and media, ranging from photography, video, live performance and hybrid theatre installations, we aim to create new receptive potentials within which Kiš’s poetics can be asserted and made topical sometime before 2009, the year which marks the 20th anniversary of his death.

The motif which triggered the project is based on a visual/performative reconstruction of a hypothetical dream in which Kiš brings his father Eduard back to life. Eduard, who disappeared in 1944 in one of the Nazi camps retells in various ways what happened to him and how he disappeared.

Formally, Danilo Kiš’s Dream stems from the documentary-cum-fictional photographed performance which is being further transformed into different media.
Concerning the content of the project, the constructed scenes iconically mark the fragile appearance of the character lost in a ruined and deserted room on the outskirts of the town which, thus, becomes metonymy for a vanished world.

The first stage of the project comprises 22 black and white photographs which were given different citations from Danilo Kiš’s literary and biographical oeuvre.
Such artistically shaped material represents the first draft, or more specifically, scheme whose further development and presentation depend primarily on a given space.
The project has up to now been carried out as a performance and video installation at the 8th international conference of the Ivan Slamnig Days, organised by the Faculty of Philisophy and Art Academy in Osijek.

The work was also published as a sort of photographic diary/imaginary chronicle comprised of 10 photographs and 10 short stories in the Tema magazine, published by the Centar za Knjigu, Zagreb.

Considering its open structure which remains unfinished and invites correspondence, the project will strive to be presented in galleries but also in literary spaces and theatre.
The presentation of all of the project’s stages is planned for 2009. The activities planned to be carried out up to then are following:

Exhibition of photographs, texts and documentary video material of the performances in Osijek and Subotica
Audio-video installation and performance in Novi Sad containing different elements from the Osijek and Subotica performances
Preparation and publishing of a book with photographs and texts, Centar za kulturu (Culture Centre), Pančevo
Installation in the ITD theatre, Zagreb
Final exhibition

The final stage of the project would include an exhibition/installation/performance which would unite all the materials created in the meantime and offer the audience an insight into a complex media restructuring that the work will have gone through. By applying different media and forms of presentation in performing various segments in the mentioned towns, the aim is primarily to suggest a complex phenomenon of eradication of a culture and mentality which remains alive only in traces. Conversely, it is exactly by refusing to accept a pathetic role of victim, the work in its performative variations distances itself critically and ironically from the initial material. Thus, it is repeatedly inquisitive and deconstructive in relation to the different media used in the artistic process and different audiences.