Skip to content
To WdKA graduates platform
Maja
Simišić

Re-imagining a happy place

Project details

Year
2021
Programme
Fashion Design
Practices
Autonomous
Minor
Honours /Visual Culture

How do ex Yugoslavian immigrants create home and homeliness in new spaces despite alienation from the self and separation from the sense of home?

 

To find out more about this project go to – https://ekaterinayin.hotglue.me/?reimaginingahappyplace

 

Nominee Drempelprijs Autonomous Practices

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.

Eden performing ‘Milovan’s story’ on the streets of Rotterdam Zuid / 13th of June 2021

Every person has their own way of dealing with suffering. Every story in this project is unique. Through transforming private routines and objects from domestic space into public performances I reinterpret someone’s happy place and make it into a conversation piece. The accompanying furniture and created objects are either mine, found or bought secondhand. The pre-used materials and public performance involve several stories; of people who owned the materials, of people who told me their stories, my interpretation of that, the performer’s interpretation of an interpretation and finally the interpretation of the audience. This layering participates in co-creation of the publicized private and invites the communal feeling of both sympathy and empathy. As mentioned in Snaky zine by Romy Day Winkel, the healing process involves community and the imaginary and by Anahid Nersessian – “It has to do with the imagination and representation of a world where the extraordinary is newly calibrated to the ordinary in such a way that everyday life crackles with that ‘certain change’ while remaining recognizably pedestrian, grounded by and upon the earth.”
With this project I do not aim to solve the issues addressed in this paper, such as intergenerational trauma. I merely hope to start a conversation and encourage people to heal though talking, especially the EX-YU diaspora. An action which I would like to name ‘emotional activism’.

To watch the full movie based on the 5 performances that happened on the 13th of June 2021, click on the link below <3

This project so far was exhibited on a solo exhibition @studio.151 in Rotterdam; as well as a part of https://bijenalemladih.ulus.rs/en/ in Belgrade, Serbia which will be exhibited there from the 29th of July until the 5th of September 2021