Killing for a living, 6’50”, color & sound, Woodstock 69 – Montenegro 05, 2005


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Juxtaposition of the two semantically opposite videos in the work Killing for a living by artist Isidora Ficovic should make us rethink about different concepts that utopias of 20 th and 21 st century are based on. Hendrix’s performance of his song “Isabela” at Woodstock in 1969 represents 1968 period as a climax of 20 th century utopias. In the second part of the work there is a billboard, dominated by a representative example of a female (it is a photograph of a half naked girl with perfect body and quite big breasts, supposing silicone ones), which is being stoned by the artist herself. Shouting “Down with the silicone” she expresses her attitude to the symbol of “21 st century utopia” in the most explicit way. She emphasizes the same idea by sticking the posters with peace and silicone motif over TV set.

Simple sequence (montage) of these two videos is intensified in formal and technical way. Full screen recording from Woodstock is contrasted with small black-framed screen recorded with digital camera. Conceptualizing this difference that originates from technical necessities, we come to contradiction within the idea of development, playing attention to technological development together with regression of spiritual, emotional and existential aspect. If the aim of technology is understood as the reign over nature, then silicone culture-part of contemporary technological development-devalues nature. At the same time she is making the body more beautiful and emptying it out of any content. Thus, lack of sexuality and desire is inevitable. But if technology is understood as the reign over man and nature relationship (Benjamin) then one changes the attitude towards their body and other people. Energy, desire and enthusiasm express the intention to change things within ourselves and community.

However, through modern media people become completely confined by the surrounding and hypnotized by the promoted values that are connected to perfect appearance only. Marketing and advertising strategies impose ideas of beauty and physical appearance. At the same time they intensify at quantitative level, and disable consumers to fulfill their real desires, not produced ones. The dream about change is questionable in this context. Thus the artist induces us to suspect its justification and to question plausibility of “reparation” caused by intervention in the body without affirmation and stimulation of improvement arising from inner-self and uniqueness of each individual.

Text about the work from the catalogue: Dislocation/Utopian space(s)

Curators: Maida Gruden and Mara Prohaska