Haris Sahačić – When I die, you can do what you want

adela jusic hvcca 2

… in the name of the grand-mother, grand-daughter and the soul that binds them…

A static frame, but the composition opens up conceptual symbolism—photographically. In the center of the one and only frame we see the grandma’s head and a body (which the head hides) in the background.

The artist’s face behind the grandma is not visible; the grandma’s body positioned in front of Adele is not shown. This non-presence of body parts is the intuitive message clearly implying that this story exemplifies the solidity of the relationship between the author and her grandmother.

This is a story of a grandmother who has presented the artist with a head, a symbol of reason, experience, information about life and a perspective—while the artist has given her grandma the gift of a soul. Adela thinks with her grandma’s soul and the grandmother speaks in Adele’s voice. These two women identify with each other; their relationship is unbreakable, strong, non-material and literally spiritual. Consciously and intentionally, the author tries to slow the passage of time. It is a clear aesthetic response, a deceleration of the entire visual record, the message is highly emotional. Clearly, Adela endeavors by all means to guard her grandmother from the flow of time and forgetfulness. The visual deceleration and struggle with time is in stark contrast to the auditory experience which is documentary—the theme of the relationship between the author and her grandma—is deliberate and significant.

From an auditory standpoint, Adela whispers the story of her grandma. Adela completely takes the place, that is, the perspective of her grandma. Whispering is characteristic of speaking in confidence, but in this case the speed or the time factor that the author is trying to stimulate by speaking quickly—in a strict, righteous, assertive, self-confident tone, in an interesting old Sarajevo slang, which due to its swiftness sounds contemporary—is another of Adela’s attempts to play with time. The story is a time machine. A documentation or witnessing of life. Time which drifts from the beginning of Adela’s childhood.

…granny loves you best, you come first for granny, but you’re just like your grandpa, you too like to drink …

Moving backwards through grandma’s life, in the end it starts where it began, with the grandmother old in the moment of Adela’s here and now. The grandma’s life is not depicted in a structured time chronology. Grandma tells her tale randomly. Her eclecticism is the eclecticism of a genius.

The grandmother not only knows the context of her own life, she also follows the lives of the people surrounding her. The spectrum of the source, as well as the quantity of information which stems from her head, makes it clear that grandma is the sovereign ruler of the sum of the whole, someone who enters into the sphere of relations between people around her, i.e. the love of her life, acquaintances, colleagues, close friends, family.

Grandma is also aware of the political circumstances, but not as a political analyst—yet as someone who personally felt the consequences of these circumstances. Grandma is a genius who knows the totality of her life and the external circumstances shaping that life and at the same time has no possibility of influencing anything. She lives her life in the conviction and knowledge that when she dies everyone will do as they please. Grandma’s message is a liberal and cosmopolitan slogan. At the same time, essentially, it is the most honest and most conservative way of defending her self. The movement of the artist’s hand slowly combing grandma’s hair is entirely independent of the auditory experience. However, the slowed down facial expressions which the grandmother makes and changes reveal through their wrinkles a lot about her character, while the sound is in fact the story which elaborates on this image of grandma’s face.

The creator of this work, with the help of minimalistic narrative variations in the mood, tone, dialect and expression, paints life from a most subjective angle. Objectivity is left to the listener and it is that which gives documentary credence to the creative expression. The artist behind this work, using her own voice, lends insight to the listener into the life of Adele’s grandmother, documenting grandma’s subjective perception of life.

Haris Sahačić
Text about video “When I die, you can do what you want”.
More about this work HERE
Text written for the catalog of exhibition SHARE Too Much History MORE Future
Publisher: The Federal Chancellary of Austria
Editor and curator Annemarie Turk
English, 2015.