Fifteen minutes later we leave E65 and turn north West on Sveta Helena, a narrow country road that cuts through a hilly landscape in green. The rural foreground is animated with small fields of corn and woodpiles in driveways, a tractor and a rose bush. We recognize something familiar about an old metal fence, and a trellis fence in dark wood, and later, one in white vinyl. We see a barrier made out of concrete elements and some hedges between more houses and grass mowed short, vegetable gardens, and potted plants on fissured concrete platforms. We pick those details like one picks flowers in a meadow, it’s comforting to add parts that compliment a cherished idea we carry in us, the idea of an Eastern European village in a hilly landscape that we know by heart since childhood. The gooseberry bush, the white house number on a blue enamel plate and a dried up fir tree in front of a two story house are out there to approve who we are, we think, these things are out here to be in agreement with what makes sense to us, these things are that to us now, what the walls of our mother’s womb might hahen we were inside that scenario. This is what makes it feel implicit, driving through this Eastern European countryside, we say, it feels intimate, yet totally inaccessible at the same time, it’s impossible to describe, it’s impossible to translate how the ups and downs in the topography relate to who we are, unnecessary too, because we are it, we say, the banalities in the foreground, the hills in the distance – we are deeply embedded, cozily covered with a closeness to something we actually understand, yet only for a split of a second – and then we get thrown out again, the car moves on, the landscape changes, nobody can describe the things one knows best, we say to each other, those things do not exist in words, they never last a syllable, there is no time for them to appear because they are eternal, and there is no space for them to become visible, because they are already omnipresent, we say, as we keep driving by a kind of village villa, which has been suffocated to death with a Bavarian style renovation, and then reanimated with red geraniums in flower in boxes blooming with no sense of refinement or moderation in those utterly obscene, chemically fertilized, capitalist ways. The only things one can attempt to describe are the things one doesn’t know, we say, it only feels appropriate to describe what one doesn’t know, at least it doesn’t feel like treason to talk about those brick walls that haven’t been plastered and those balconies that have no railing. What is actually up with that? we say. Why does every second building we pass have no wall plastering and no railings on its balconies? Why do the houses look as if they have been left unfinished for decades, bricks and beams, raw and naked, memorials to a not-there-yet-ness of what?
“Why?” we will ask the women of the gallery about ten days later, when we return to Zagreb to drink coffee with them. “No money,” they will say. “No money, “ they will shrug. “No money,” they will laugh. “No money,” they will giggle. “No money,” they will repeat.
"The novel, with its narrative that combines stream of consciousness writing with detailed reports 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." – Željka Himbele
published on occasion of Waypoint, Follow, Orbit, Focus, Pano, Track at GMK Gallery in Zagreb, 2016
"The Case of Distance Disengaged takes the reader on a mesmerizing, poetic journey through the post-war Balkans, a region whose past and the not-yet of its future move closely alongside the present. Lucid and dreamy at once, Distance Disengaged follows visual and cultural clues in search of an an ever-elusive culprit: human perception. How do we see (this part of) the world? How do we see ourselves? How does (this part of) the world see us? Weaving together suspenseful adventure with exquisite cerebral meanderings, Distance Disengaged opens up new possibilities for historical narrative, storytelling, and documentation, ultimately leading the reader through a most satisfying investigation of the tangle of reality and perception." – Hillit Zwick
you can order the book here or through your local bookstore:
The Case of Distance Disengaged
The Case of Distance Disengaged