Individual Utopia / 2008

The project Individual Utopias is based on a true event that took place in the centers for mental health in Mostar during autumn 2007.

Invited to participate in a workshop organised by the Italian organisation Connecting Cultures and SCCA, Sarajevo, I immediately realised the dramatic potential of the events I was witnessing and decided then to write a script for an audio drama where one of the main characters will be a ceramic kiln….

Individual utopias is a tragi-comic account of the frustrations and absurdities that make up the every day reality of contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina, touching upon issues such as the international presence on the territory of this country, the specific atmosphere in Mostar, and the powerlessness of an artist confronted with mental health patients.

As in my other works, I assume the stage casting myself as a number of characters in a live audio-drama performance developed with the Mostar band Vuneny. The project consists of a number of elements including two videos, drawings, terracotta reliefs, an artist book containing the script of the audio drama and a live performance. Each of these elements is thread that feeds into one narrative.

I develop my audio-drama inspired work through scriptwriting, video, performance and installation. I play with genre as well as gender, casting myself as a number of characters as an actress/storyteller. I like to take my inspiration from antiquated media and stereotypes formed in the media scape of 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.  While maintaining the entertainment and aesthetic quality in my work, the subverted message is no laughing matter. At a closer look, the seemingly humorous works are a satirical comment on contemporary society and my own environment.
In Individual Utopias I position myself as the central storyteller of a rashomon – like scenario. The story revolves around my own experience in October 2007 when I was invited to participate in  a workshop held in Centers for Mental Health in Mostar.  I wanted to test the possibilities of re- interpreting a true event – processing in it as fiction writing, drawing, performance (collaboration with Mostar band Vuneny), sculpture, printed medium – before returning to the documentary form of a video testimonial. While I was working on the project I wanted to see how far one can go with interpretation through artistic mediums without losing the authenticity of the storyline and the realness of the characters. Individual Utopias remains a documentary project. My own role in the project is one of the storyteller but also of the object – one of the others, one of the characters.
(Lala Rascic, 2008/2009, statement for “Looking at Others” catalog)

In 2009 SCCA, Sarajevo has started a a long term project “INDIVIDUAL UTOPIAS NOW AND THEN – Discontinuity of generation dialogue or what do we have in common?” in  partnership between with organizations T.I.C.A., Tirana and, Novi Sad. The project is partly inspired by my work.

Imagination School is a related workshop that  I am conducting in all three countries as part of “INDIVIDUAL UTOPIAS NOW AND THEN…”

Individual Utopias
video, 35 min, MiniDV/DVD, color/mono
video by: Lala Račić
performed by: Lala Raščić, Nedim Čišić, Andrijan Zovko

video, 35 min, MiniDV/DVD, color/mono
video by: Lala Raščić

28 drawings, pencil on paper, 21 x 29,7 cm each

Individual Utopias
artist book
Box set contaning 2 bound booklets and 28 cards
design : Laboratorium
Produced by: Connecting Cultures

The project Individual Utopias has been supported by: Connecting Cultures, Milan; SCCA, Sarajevo; OKC Abrašević, Mostar; Ministry of Culture, Republic of Croatia and B.O.P Gallery, Zagreb.

I wish to thank: O.K.C. Abrašević, Marija Kolobarić, Nani, Enes Zlatar, and Laboaratorium