Film/Video installation, 80′, loop
English, Croatian spoken

As a medical term, aphasia refers to the inability to speak or to find the right words. Jelena Juresa’s new film installation Aphasia consists of three chapters, each focusing on the collective silence surrounding crime and the compartmentalisation of historical events, and tracing the line between Belgian colonialism, Austrian anti-Semitism and the wars in Yugoslavia.

With Aphasia, Juresa not only digs for the roots and preconditions for state-sponsored violence, but also for the reasons why such collective crimes keep being repeated. The film zooms in on objectification and dehumanisation processes, among other themes, while at the same time shedding light on the roles played by photography and film.

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.

Aphasia is a work of art about racism and intolerance, exposing the banality of evil. The film challenges us to look more attentively and to question our own individual and collective position. Aphasia is a call, not for punishment or outrage about the crimes committed during colonial times, the Holocaust or the atrocities in Bosnia during the Yugoslavian wars. Rather, it is a call to break the collective silence and to actually look at the blind spots that seem to have become a fundamental part of our European identity.

Aphasia begins where everything else ends – precisely because the artistic imagination can offer different perspectives, solace and justice.

(Argos / Rolf Quaghebeur)

Above, a film still from Aphasia, in the photo: Ivana Jozic