Tvrtko Buric, Behind Borders

05

As a sort of parameter, (b)order encapsulates habit. It informs the way we view and engage with what surrounds us. When he breaks open the form, Buric shatters the otherwise solidified frame of our attention and, consequently, our fixed, naturalised way of seeing. The defiance of the border of the frame is paired with the defiance of the border of the space. The multiple projection planes are suspended in space, cutting through it and resisting the confinement of the two-dimensional wall. As viewers, we are invited to move around the work and explore that which exists at the edge of perception (at its border). This shifted angle of vision is an anamorphic strategy[1] that distorts the world picture as we know it.

At first, when viewed frontally, Buric’s installation appears as a solid form (a given truth of a sort) but move slightly left or right and this appearance disappears. The order is disordered; the border pushed back. The illusionary nature of Buric’s installation functions as a metaphor and points to the illusionary nature of perception, of knowledge. As viewers we might experience something that performance studies theorist Baz Kershaw terms ideological crisis[2], a psychological refashioning of a sort, and it is this shift (if not an erasure) of the mental border that gives chance to the opening of geographical borders too. The geographical borders are after all the creation of our mind, the invention and illusion of otherness, of separateness.

The theme of separation is explored in Buric’s work in several ways. Firstly in the video that depicts a sidewalk ballet[3] of passers by. The bodies move in proximity to one another but also in isolation from one another. This is perhaps a group of people who have crossed several geographical borders to come together in one place, but have failed to cross the mental border of estrangement, of individualisation. As he breaks the screen and fragments the bodies into pure abstraction, Buric causes them to melt into one another. What is more, this breaking of the screen and scattering of the individual human forms, mimics the breaking of the mirror perhaps alluding to Lacan’s mirror stage theory according to which the gathering of oneself into a compact whole coincides with the creation of the ego, of I. It is in this stage of our lives, according to Lacan, that we separate ourselves from others. Perhaps, then, the border is the ‘mirror stage’; a creation of I that is also the creation of You; a division that in turn becomes a protection, an invention of enemy. In her travel memoir Eastern Thoughts, Australian-Portuguese author Marta Maia writes: “Border is an egocentrism of who we are and where we stand, what we are allowed and what we can dream of. […] Border is a concept that wants to tear us apart, […] the reflection of our not yet collective mind; a scared and infant intellect protecting itself in the shades of laws.”[4]

The second way in which Buric explores the theme of separation is by removing the border between the artwork and the viewer. The invitation to move around the work results in a sense of immersion as we become a part of the installation rather than being separated spectators. This and other choices result in the heightened awareness of the way we see and engage with the world and with others. In this state of heightened awareness, what we have thought is broken, just like Buric’s form is. Our knowledge which functions within the (b)order expands beyond its limits and there is sudden fluidity to what we take as given. The scattering that happens to Buric’s frame and to subjects of his video is, thus, echoed by the scattering within us. Or vice versa.

[TEXT BY Ira Ferris, December 2017]

 

REFERENCES

[1] Term coined by art theorist Amelia Jones and used in Seeing Differently, p109

[2] See Baz Kershaw, “Performance, community, culture,” in The Politics of Performance: Radical theatre as cultural intervention, 15-41, (London and New York: Routledge, 1992).

[3] Term used by American urbanist and sociologist Jane Jacobs

[4] Marta Maia, Eastern Thoughts, p72-73

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