Skip to main content

Aphasia

Film installation, 80′, loop
English, Croatian spoken
2019
Aphasia is an unsettling inquiry into the representation of violence and the violence of representation. This documentary gesture explores how collective crimes keep being repeated and reflects on social and political constellations, unfolding constructions behind nation-states and national identities.
Aphasia Jelena Juresa
Aphasia Jelena Juresa
Aphasia Jelena Juresa

Aphasia, a feature-length film essay, deals with the politics of memory and oblivion inscribed in social and historical contexts. In three chapters Aphasia detects a thread of positions of power, racism, injustice and violence from Belgian colonialism, Austrian anti-Semitism and atrocities in Bosnia during the Yugoslavian wars. The film is exploring how collective crimes keep being repeated and reflects social and political constellations, unfolding constructions behind nation-states and national identities.

As a medical term, aphasia refers to the inability to speak or to find the right words. Departing from “colonial aphasia” to “political aphasia” the works deals with (im)possibilities or representation of historical trauma and violence and preconditions for state-sponsored violence. The media are not shown as mere silent witnesses to a twisted worldview, but as active instruments in preparing and executing different crimes against humanity. However, Aphasia aims to show their positive force as well. When law and politics fail to bring justice and facilitate collective healing, these same media (photography, film, television) can break the silence, and art may lead the way to justice.

From Belgian colonialism of the first chapter, Austrian race experiments and Heimat films in the second, the third chapter brings to life a well-known photograph. Although it is never unveiled in the film, we recognize it described and interpreted in two mirroring doppelgangers, a monologue by journalist Barbara Matejčić and choreography of violence performed by Ivana Jozić.

Ivana Jozic in Aphasia a film by Jelena Juresa
Barbara Matejcic in the film by Jelena Juresa

APHASIA, excerpt, 5’57”

Archives

Royal Belgian Film Archive (CINEMATEK), Brussels
Filmarchiv Austria, Vienna
Documenta – Center for Dealing with the Past, Zagreb
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), The Hague
Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna
Österreichische Mediathek, Vienna
Phonogrammarchiv, Vienna
Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren
SENSE Center for Transitional Justice, Pula
United Nations Audiovisual Library
Weltmuseum, Vienna

Installation view

Jelena Juresa, APHASIA
ARGOS centre for audiovisual arts, Brussels, (May-July, 2019)
Photo: Dirk Pauwels
Aphasia installation Jelena Juresa ARGOS
Aphasia installation Jelena Juresa ARGOS
Aphasia installation Jelena Juresa ARGOS
Aphasia installation Jelena Juresa ARGOS
Aphasia installation Jelena Juresa ARGOS
Aphasia installation Jelena Juresa ARGOS
Aphasia installation Jelena Juresa ARGOS

Credits

Scenario: Jelena Jureša
Texts: Barbara Matejčić, Asa Mendelsohn and Jelena Jureša
Editing: Jelena Jureša
Narrator, chapter I: Andrew Wise
Sound recording, chapter I: Raf Enckels
Camera, chapter I and II: Jelena Jureša
Director of photography, chapter III: Sébastien Cros
Monologue/interview, chapter III: Barbara Matejčić
Performance and choreography, chapter III: Ivana Jozić
Performed by, chapter III: Ivana Jozić
Music performed by, chapter III: Alen Sinkauz, Nenad Sinkauz
Sound recording and post production, chapter III: Miroslav Piškulić
Focus puller, chapter III: Luka Matić
Camera assistant, chapter III: Valerio Radotić (Tuna Film)
Gaffer, chapter III: Leonardo Arapović (Lav Rasvjeta)
Costume, chapter III: Andrea Kränzlin
Make-up, chapter III: Zdenka Mihelj
Line producer, chapter III: Tina Tišljar
Translation, chapter III: Elisabeth Salmore
Production Coordinator: Andrea Cinel
Executive Producer: Rolf Quaghebeur
Soundtrack: Alen & Nenad Sinkauz
Sound design: Slobodan Bajić
VFX: Dejan Solajić
Postproduction: ARGOS centre for audiovisual arts
Color grading: Josja van Zadelhoff (Charbon Studio)
Mastering: Charbon Studio
Produced by
ARGOS centre for audiovisual arts
Co-produced by
Contour – kunstcentrum nona in the context of Contour Biennale 9
Royal Academy of Fine Arts – KASK/HOGENT
Zagreb Youth Theatre (ZKM)
With the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF)