The search for people gone missing in wars and modern conflicts has taken a major historical importance over the past few decades. A major figure in the theatre and performing arts in the Balkans and Sarajevo, director Haris Pašović offers a multimedia installation that combines dramatic performance, visual arts, and cinema, for an immersive experience in three chapters and spaces (waiting, identification, verdict) in this quest for truth as to the fate of those who have gone missing. Those we are talking about here are the victims of the Srebrenica massacre. On July 11, 1995, over eight thousand Bosnians were executed by the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS). In 2009, almost 6189 victims had been identified. But the people gone missing in Hope are also the victims of all those other modern conflicts and catastrophes, of the Argentinian and Chilean dictatorships, of the Cambodian, Lebanese, Sri Lankan, Sudanese, and Central African civil wars, of the natural disasters that struck Indonesia and Bangladesh, or of the war waged by the cartels in Mexico. Humanity can find its expression in aspirations and hopes.
HOPE points our attention to the hundreds of families that are still twenty years later searching for 1,100 of their loved ones who perished in the Srebrenica Genocide inferno.
This multi-media work is devided into three segments that correspond to the segmentation of exhibition premises.It begins with our encounter with the face of the ”Mother of Srebrenica”- embodied in the performance of an actress with whom,in this tiny room,only visitor can meet in silence at the time – in an effort to recover the human face and to reach out to the other by questioning our own freedom.
The 40 – minute film,as the second segment of the HOPE project,documents the sites of primary and secondary mass graves,where – at as many as 500 different locations – body parts of over 7,000 victims have been found and identified.
Satellite images in the corridors of the exhibition space,that lead us from the ”encounter room” toward the ”screening room’,open up a completely new perspective of the landscape of Srebrenica: these are the satellite images of the sites of numerous mass graves.
The never ending list of the names of victims of Srebrenica genocide,and abstract schemes that illustrate the precise procedure of DNA analysis (though real DNA samples of Srebrenica families are not exhibited here) , where through the exhausting scientific methods,in the fantastic code for the secret of human life – the match between a tiny segment of bone and genetic material of survivors is sought after,are located in the last corridor of the exhibition space.
Could the secret of human life and human destiny be inscribed in the broken,rectangular sequences of DNA analysis,or sensed in the eye of a mother,who has been waiting and hoping for twenty years – holding rear,preserved photos of her loved ones in her hands – to find some clue and trace of their destiny ? From the domain of information,documentation and analysis – in our spirit – we return to the domain of catharsis,to the domain of experience of a ”face to face” encounter,which lies beyond mere visual experience,and where the space of contemporary artistic action is transformed into the space of responsibility and cognition.
Festival d’Avignon July 11 – 19, 2015
Site Louis Pasteur de l’Université d’Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse
Authors: Haris Pašović in collaboration with Lada Maglajlić and Enes Huseinčehajić
Actress: Irena Mulamuhić
Curator: Aida Abadžić Hodžić
Consultants: Amor Mašović,Sadik Selimović,Ismet Mušić; investigators
Many thanks to International Commission for missing persons (ICMP) Bosnia and Herzegovina ; Institute for missing persons Bosnia and Herzegovina and UN International criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ITCY)
- Film production: East West Centre and Source Production Sarajevo
- Written and directed by Haris Pašović
- Cinematography by Alen Alilović
- Editing by Goran Lončarević Goc
- Sound by Igor Lončarević
- Second sound operator: Vanja Kurtović
- Graphics by Enes Husenčehajić
- Interiors by Lada Maglajlić
- Artistic collaborators: Irma Saje (costume); Vedad Orahovac (3D models)
- Translators: Senada Krešo,Alma Milanović
- Many thanks to the artistic production and tehnical teams of the Festival d’Avignom
- Production: East West Center Sarajevo
- Coproduction: 13 Production. l’Agence à Paris
- Creative agents: Christopher Yggdre, Sylvain Cochard
- Production team: Christopher Yggdre, Haris Pašović, Sylvain Cochard,Ismar Hadžiabdić, Lejla Abazović