Curated by: Željka Himbele
For their exhibition at Miroslav Kraljevic Gallery, eteam engaged in a multimedia project titled Waypoint, Follow, Orbit, Focus, Pano, Track. The whole endeavor started with the artists visiting Croatia in the summer of 2016, in an effort to research a peculiar camouflage design of Croatian military uniform which, in order to render a person concealed, incorporates the geographical mapping shape of Croatia itself.
This intriguing issue, found by the artists through their initial online research, is in fact very much along the lines of eteam’s constant interest in disappearance, (in)visibility, land and its numerous uses in public and private contexts. In this newest project, the topics of disguise, appearance, absence and surveillance were further researched through eteam’s travel through Croatia and finally implemented through the exhibition featuring the video Waypoint, Follow, Orbit, Focus, Pano, Track, several paper mâché sculptures, a photograph and a novel The Case of Distance Disengaged. The visited locations, extensively presented in the book form as well as captured in the video, included a factory that makes military uniforms, then Liberland (a territory of the self- proclaimed nation on a small terrain between Croatian and Serbian border, which appears and disappears depending on the water levels of Danube river) and small Croatian islands - pieces of land that occasionally (dis)appear due to high tides of the sea. All of these stages were intertwined with daily anecdotes and casual meetings with people in urban and suburban surroundings that also influenced eteam’s observation of places and reflections on the topics mentioned.
The novel, with its narrative that combines stream of consciousness writing with detailed reports from the present and the past, incorporates the elements of numerous genres such as travelogue, diary, autobiography and critique of existential subjects. It also contains snapshots of often neglected details from our surroundings that suddenly come to life and become poignant symbols. At times humorous, the other times poetical, contradictory, critical or sharply analytical, the artists offer their ruminations on being an outsider (particularly as a tourist, or as a contemporary artist invited to do a project in some new context), as well as on citizenship, borders, the natural vs. the man-made, the interconnection of global and local events, familiarity and alienation, construction of history and memory and the notions of displacement and belonging to a particular place. The little details that eteam encounters often trigger reminiscences of the artists’ personal past and current situation of living as Americanized Germans and navigating most recent social, political and ecological issues from this double perspective.
The ambiance in the gallery is shaped by several elements: the photograph, the video and the sculptures. It complements the novel in the form of a temporary situation that works on more abstract level as it reconstructs the travel and the artists’ impressions through bits and pieces (such as the enigmatic photo print of an old light switch at the gallery entrance). The sculptures can be seen as playful reinterpretations of the geographical formations of the islands that extend from the ceiling towards the viewer as a mirror image of landscape seen from an aerial perspective. The video Waypoint, Follow, Orbit, Focus, Pano, Track is a collage of footage taken during their journey (some of it taken by a “bird’s eye” of the drone camera), accompanied by suggestive sounds that build up the surreal atmosphere. The video adds an additional layer to the exhibition; by utilizing the specific qualities of the drone camera surveillance imagery, it explores the (in)visibility as well as the relationship between nature and technology. – Željka Himbele
The project is supported through FACE Croatia grant and funding from The City College of New York and The City of Zagreb.
more info on The Case of Distance Disengaged here