K9 / 2003

Mini DV video / 5′ 13″/ sound / color


The construction no. 9 is founded on the action that Kopljar conceived inspired by the residency in New York he had obtained with the Franklin Furnace program in 2003. Just like most contemporary artists, he perceived the residency in New York – with the purpose of creative work and the possibility of its presentation – as the chance of the lifetime.

As a true performer who simply has to mark and react to the actual environment, during his stay he wanted to perform a new piece that would authentically reflect his emotions evoked by the Mecca of contemporary culture.

When one writes about Kopljar‘s work it is difficult to avoid the clichés that can be interpreted as unnecessary poetization. For instance, no matter how it might sound, the statement that every one of Kopljar‘s works presents an intense, and for him more often than not a painful intervention into the depths of his soul, it most precisely reflects the creative agony that he goes through while trying to draw what and how he performs as close as possible to what he feels and thinks. Paradoxically, this sincere inclination – founded on the belief that artistic creation has to be truthful and responsible and thus a self-revealing act with serious repercussions for the audience and, finally, the reality – did not provoke much understanding in cynical artistic circles because of the results charged with emotions. Fortunately, the growing frustration only reinforced his fatalist belief that he is on the right path and that for him there is no other way to create.

K9 is developed on New York‘s potential to function at the perceptual level as a globally comprehensible metaphor of cultural-political hegemony and that is why it presents for Kopljar an ideal motif for his expression of the complex mixture of love and hate that such a place inevitably provokes. The magic of the dominant culture derives from its omnipresence, from the long-lasting formation of feeling that it is the superior expression of a common, global culture. Thanks to the mechanisms of the civilization of spectacle as well as the mass culture media and commercial essence of pop-culture, the centers of cultural hegemony are perceived in the emotional and mental complex of both audience and artists as an important part of their own culture. Really, we participate in the culture emanated by the center, we consume it, and it is an important and sometimes even decisive factor of our cultural production. The problem lies in the unidirectional character of this relation. The culture of the center is self-sufficient. It is not meant to create the exchange, but to enhance the distribution of political power of the center and economic exploitation of resources feeding it. Anybody who chances upon the merciless, expressionless face of its administration is going to learn this the hard way. Although today the hegemony is not centralized, but is dispersedly following the fluctuation of capital, if there is any place where, according to public opinion, the paradigm of now and here, crucial for our civilization, is developing, then it is New York. The K9 was shown for the first time in the mythical New York multimedia center, The Kitchen. It was presented as a video projection showing static disturbances of the electronic image. The maniacal Erland Josephson‘s monologue from the Italian original of Andrei Tarkovskij‘s “Nostalgia” from 1983 was coming from the background. How much could the audience discern from the hypnotic snowy projection and monologue in a foreign language? The artist was present and ready for discussion. The hermetic quality of K9 is extreme even within Kopljar‘s oeuvre. The obscurity of what they saw and heard was supposed to induce the audience to ask questions. Anyway, is reality not encoded?

The projection is followed by the monologue from the film “Nostalgia” (1983) by Andrei Tarkovskij, featuring Erland Josephson:

What ancestor speaks in me? I can’t live simultaneously in my head and in my body. That’s why I can’t be just one person. I can feel myself countless things at once. There are no great masters left. That’s the real evil of our time. The heart’s path is covered in shadow. We must listen to the voices that seem useless. In brains full of long sewage pipes of school wall, tarmac and welfare papers the buzzing of insects must enter. We must fill the eyes and ears of all of us with things that are the beginning of a great dream. Someone must shout that we’ll build the pyramids. It doesn’t matter if we don’t! We must fuel that wish and stretch the corners of the soul like an endless sheet. If you want the world to go forward we must hold hands. We must mix the so-called healthy with the so-called sick. You healthy ones! What does your health mean? The eyes of all mankind are looking at the pit into which we are plunging. Freedom is useless if you don’t have the courage to look us in the eye to eat, drink and sleep with us! It’s the so-called healthy who have brought the world to the verge of ruin. Man, listen! In you, water, fire and then ashes. And the bones in the ashes. The bones and the ashes! Where am I when I’m not in reality or in my imagination? Here’s my new pact: it must be sunny at night and snowy in August Great things end small things endure. Society must become united again instead of so disjointed. Just look at nature and you’ll see that life is simple. We must go back to where we were to the point where you took the wrong turn. We must go back to the main foundations of life without dirtying the water. What kind of world is this if a madman tells you, you must be ashamed of yourselves! O mother! The air is that light thing that moves around your head and becomes clearer when you laugh.

Oh, mother, oh, mother! The air is that light thing circling around your head, becoming clearer when you laugh.”