Sunday, 19 September 2021

Re-imagining a happy place - Maja Simišić

'Re-imagining a happy place' is the graduartion project of Maja Simišić, who graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in the Netherlands in 2021. 

For her project interviewed people from former Yugoslavia who are living in the Netherlands about their interpretation of the home.

Result is a multidisciplinary project with video, interviews, performances, objects and clothing.

'As humans, we tend to have strong emotional connections with certain objects in our house that make us feel at home, for example, one’s spot at the dining table, a favorite pillow to sleep on or a preferred side of the bed. That said, could we make ‘home’ possible with those little things wherever we are? Do we become subservient to those things and get so emotionally attached, that it hurts when those things break or vanish? Even if we do get attached to them, they are there to help us get through something difficult in life. With them we create our ‘bubble’ where we feel safe, and it gives us comfort.
Besides the importance of material object, I am examining the value of rituals and sensory input as they highly contribute in the creation of a domestic space.
In my graduation project I had various qualitative interviews with people from former Yugoslavia diaspora in the Netherlands about their interpretation of the home, as they have often experienced separation from home, anxiety and assimilation in new spaces. From these interviews I created performances in public space that translate a transformative and personal experience of a situation (an interviewee’s story) into domestic space. Instead of merely using the interviewee’s stories as they are, I intertwined my own perception of their behavior, lifestyle and surroundings. I’ve included the onlooker’s perspective, utilized by slow looking/observation. As well as turning objects into a conceptualized new form but the same sensual meaning and emotional connection. All these questions are derived from my embodied knowledge and questioning myself about identity, belonging and struggle.' - Maja Simišić

More about the project:

"My main artistic methodology is „taking something I hate and turning it into something I like“; I call that technique „restroy“. 


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