Alex transcends the Balkans for a bottle of perfume
PHOTOGRAPHY | CREATIVE CONCEPT | PROJECT
Is l’amour de soi a “proper” way to express oneself in the Balkans?
This series aims to showcase third-wave feminist stances from the Balkan region, while trying to pinpoint their vraisemblance as opposed to their alleged zeitgeist mimicry. As an Eastern European “Xennial”, I have lived through several sociopolitical appropriations, most of them clashing thunderously against traditionalism. Feminism was more of a guerrilla-aspiration in the Balkans within the past three decades, with urban pockets of casual victories; sometimes, it was just a mass-media glossy trend; most of the times, it was expediently whitewashed by reactionary posturing. I’ve tried to capture on film what I have visually heard, notwithstanding my unapologetic male gaze.
The technique I am using for this photo-cycle is restricted to the manual processing of the 6×6 medium format film negatives, followed by combinations of post-development brutal retouches and graphic annotations, using several types of special inks and nibs directly on the negatives. I opted for this form of seemingly chaotic calligraphy in order to emphasize an entropic sense of identity that occasionally requires additional layers of societal obscurity. Successive corrosive alterations of the film ensue, up to the brink of physical disintegrations. The final technical stage calls for a particular form of film scanning, which erases futile nuances and defensive artifacts.
On a final note, the theoretical background for my project was rooted initially in Michel Foucault (“Surveiller et punir : Naissance de la prison” (1975) and “L’Histoire de la sexualité” (1976-2018)) and Efrat Tseëlon (“The Masque of Femininity. The Presentation of Woman in Everyday Life.” (1995)).
And yes, just as the introductory question hints a J.J. Rousseau reference, the title of this series is, indeed, a U2 / S. Kubrick innuendo!