Past work 1. What A sinusoidal line occupies and divides the space in two halfs. The line is made out of cookies of different shapes. Pale cookies, without any decorations. Each cookie has a different shape and size, but continues the line without any gaps between. In the corner of the space a desktop sits on the floor. In the video there is a cooking show. The hostess present a recipe on how to make the cookies in the line. People are invited to take the cookies and eat them. How The approximate 50 cookies are made from scratch. Butter cookies. The cookie cutters are made from thin metal based on the collaging of map fragments of Eastern Europe, Balkans and Central Europe borders. The video is based on a script developed based on a real recipe, modified in such a way as to allow playfulness with the meaning. Why The work wanted to address and complicate the issue of arbitrary borders, that are unclear and for which there is no clear consensus. Which country are divided by these borders? Borders are here, political and cultural entities, from which some countries want to move out, as to be part of a more desired geographically space. The work explores the idea of construction related to it. Baking become a metaphor for constructing borders or maintaining them, but the process of eating has subversive implications, as allows the interruption of the border and its meaning. The small gesture of interruption can take some of the power away from the border and direct towards other possibilities. 2. Connection The work was developed after my movement to Netherlands (west), and it relates to my previous work as it is concerned with the reality of identity representations. My own position in west becomes relevant here, as an eastern european. Before my move, my work dealt with romanian exceptionalism, but now through these move, my ethnicity is marginalized, but becomes more fruitful, allowing me to play with deprecation and embracement, as such my take is also more ambivalent. The difference between Rehearsals for Victory, my previous project before coming here, and Border cookies is a difference of position and geography through the movement from the periphery to the core. 3. Scene Movement from Eastern Europe to Netherlands, implies a movement from periphery to the core. I never been more aware of my eastern european identity as I do living in the west, based on the differences in cultures. The values are different but also the role of the citizen is represented differently. For me coming from the margins to the center, makes the margins more appealing but also a productive space for new meanings that can be disruptive and subversive against the core. 4. Larger context In a broader context, the work, looks at the politics of borders asking who makes borders and how is it possible to interrupt them. What does the act of audience eating to do the work? Can we interrupt the west representation of east but also the east desire to be like the west? The work looks at the relation between the center/margins and situates them in the cookies to the act of baking. As such, the borders has the attributes of the east and of the west, becoming a site of ambivalence and greyness, but also a site that can be interrupted. This site of specific knowledge tends to affect some more than others, as such can we through borders find answers on how to reimagine a decentralized core?
Current work 1. What Scripts for Failure #1, Back at the periphery, is the first part of a larger ongoing project that addresses failure. Installation: video, audio, object; In the video, a performer reenacts falls by gymnasts, while different voices read scripts based on media texts about Romania’s demise at gymnastics olympics. Failure here is gendered, through the performer's body, but also through accessing a gendered history of exceptionalism in Romania, but the body it’s also denationalized, the border between the collective and identity is blurred. I see the border cookies resurfing The object: a mat with sounds coming from it, of falling, creates a specific rhythm. How The script is based on texts from media. The context is removed. The video taps into a non-linear history of falls in gymnastics. Falls equals failure, in gymnastics. But the falls, here through reenactment, show a body that is vulnerable but also monumental.Not sure what you mean by monumental - expand The mat brings the condition of patchwork in the forefront. Patchwork as something eastern european, function as a way to represent all the bodies that fall/failed, leaving a minimum trace. Please expand on the ‘Patchwork’ describe more Why Failure here is multifaceted. Failure as a country, failure as a region, failure as a state of being. 2. Similarities Both works have in common the subject matter. East is a site of specific expectation and knowledge in both projects. That I, being romanian, I am perceived as either a vampire or a gymnasts, in ignorant generalisation speaks volumes of how specific area are seen. But what happens when one of these identities is crumbling? Will I be equated as a gymnasts in the future? Or would I just be a failure? The two works are about representation and self-representations, and are looking on possible alternatives or reactions towards specific western knowledge, as such, patchworking, ambiguity and depreciation become keywords, in trying to disrupt. Unclear As such, the project refuses linearity(how) by tapping in different moments, without consideration of temporality and refuses classification and nationality, by appropriating falls from different gymnasts. 3. Difference In the failure work, there is no interaction. It’s also more ambiguous. The past work divided east and west, here the falls have no nationality, and the texts come from all sources.
The failure project can be at time more pathetic and it doesn't come from a position of all-knowing, as the border cookie played with the expert in baking. Dialogue, through the presence of different voices coming from different positions, allows more ambiguity but also more perspectives. Failure is also something that through the text is quite apocalyptic. 4. Many people: my peers, who I will invite to read the texts. My tutors: especially Katarina and Lisbeth. (both because how they address locality) Books My own experience.
Future work What could it be? My future work, part of Script for Failure, plays with geography and failure as related to the issue of escaping an identity based on specific geography. How geography is and represented as a site that constructs identity, from a western gaze, but also how this gaze is internalized and implemented in self-representation are questions this part wants to address. Here, Balkans are center-stage in a story about fragments and escape. The project will be based on maps+text+fictionalization and Balkans become a space that gradually becomes empty. Who is in Balkans? There is no consensus, but what it seems clear is that nobody wants to be there. This project will take forwards patchwork, ambiguity, imagined geographies and will add escape. 2. What makes it necessary Failure is something that is being used to describe specific regions. Eastern europe and balkans, have been seen as failures - economically, culturally, historically and in the grand narratives that west uses to measure all others by (progress). What makes this project necessary is the possibility of new grammars that can be employed, exploring a region that is being normalized from inside and outside. Geography is a political tool, that can be used to see how we read the world. That no romanian wants to be called balkanic speaks volume about how romanians want to be seen. The desire of self-colonizing is a desperate act as to not be at the children’s table anylonger. Civilized like the west is a mantra that is repeated from all corners of the country. This project, wants to think regionally and disrupt narratives from the west but also some from east. How can knowledge from the margins can be employed in this tasks and try to interrupt narratives but also highlight the holes in the narrative of progress and civilization is something that the projects want to address.