I was explaning to my classmates what stereotypes Balkan carries (animalistic, violent, constant conflict) and my tutor Mike said it sounds like England. I thought it was interesting because everyone can recognize their inner fears and frustrations with their own countires in the Balkans.
This reminded me of Vlado Martek’s work – Balkan. The US map depicts the names of major Croatian contemporary artists instead of cities. Martek said that the United States is working perfectly to explain the Balkan stereotype, asking what is more ununifed than USA, where each country has a separate culture, laws, and mentality?
The existence of the Balkans as Europe’s periphery is important for EU and the rest of Europe as they can carry out an image of a purely positive category.
Stuart Hall said that identity is formed within represenatation, and not outside of it. The same way, Balkan is unable to form an identity outside of the stereotype.
I placed a frosted piece of paper on top of everyday things, so it would act as a perspective. One of the main focuses of my project is looking. Layer on top doesn’t allow us to see things underneath clearly, as the stereotypes act the same way.
It was imporant to capture everyday things (alongside with a doily) as they are part of my daily routine.
Photogaphs are not particulary succesful, but it was about capturing the relationship of the objects and the layer.
The course of European history was changed drastically on November 9th 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell. This set a tone for what was gonna happen next with the rest of socialist states across Eastern Europe. Soviet Union separated quietly, while the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was in for years of bloody conflict – the Yugoslav wars. SFRY consisted of six republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia (sovereign provinces Kosovo and Vojvodina), Montenegro and Macedonia. It existed from its foundations in mid 50’s to 1991 when Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence. In the context of the Eastern Block, Yugoslavia had a significantly different political stance to the rest of socialist Europe.
I feel Yugoslav conflict might be connected to Croatia’s passport design.
European Union has a standard for its memeber countries to have unified passports by using red (burgundy) for the covers. Croatia (member since 2013) is the only country that doesn’t have a red passport. Strangely enough, the passports were re-designed recently, and the color remains navy blue. Some might susspect this is due to the fear of red (communism) and association with ex Yugoslavia and the 90’s conflict. In the same way, I feel the reason why (at least one of the reasons) Croatia is shying away from being associated with the Balkans is association with Serbia and again, the conflict.