MOnuMENTImotion

The Beginning

It all started sometime at the end of October 2013 over a coffee with Michele Parente, a project manager at Forum Civil Peace Service (forumZFD) in Sarajevo. It was 3 months after the exhibition of “MOnuMENTI the changing face of remembrance” by Marko Krojač and forumZFD, and early plans for Peace Event Sarajevo 2014 were set in motion by Network for Building Peace (Mreža za izgradnju mira). Michele asked me if it would be possible to animate Krojač´s photos of the monuments in the way that I animated comic frames for promotion of Enki Bilal´s 4 comic novels from series Le Sommeil du monstre. Usually I would avoid this kind of projects because of two reasons, first, I get too emotional/depressed when I have to deal with the recent past, or should I just say the war, that has scared my life in irreversible way, and the second reason is that I no longer enjoy using computer as a tool and I am trying to avoid using it as much as possible.

The Pitch

We started working on the pitch for the workshop that we were supposed to present in December in Priština, Kosovo, but it was postponed to January. In January, because of a newly made visa regime between Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina we had to move our presentation to Belgrade, Serbia. This visa problem and nonexistent diplomatic relationship of Bosnia and Herzegovina with Kosovo (and Serbia and Kosovo) will continue to hunt this project later on as well. For the presentation in Belgrade I made 30 seconds of animation that showed a style of animation that I was thinking of using. The easiest way to describe it is 2.5D digital collage animation. At that time Michele was pitching project as “MOnuMENTImotion or Finding Boro – the art of dealing with the past”, as initial inspiration for the story came directly from the cover of the catalogue for MOnuMENTI exhibition. On the cover there is a monument to Boro and Ramiz, two heroes from WW2, but there is only bust statue of Ramiz Sadiku while the bust of Boro Vukmirović is missing. A story of Boro and Ramiz remianed the basis for the story, but later on we concentrated more to develop greater lose concept for the story, which eventually led to dropping of “Finding Boro” from title. On the pitch to regional project managers and volunteers of forumZFD (Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo) it was really hard to convince them that it was possible to have 3 days of creative workshop in the beginning of March, during which we were supposed to introduce participants to Dealing with the Past concepts, create a story for animation and record voices, and then to animate the entire video for the following 3 months and have it ready for the Peace Event Sarajevo 2014. A planned length of the animation was 5 minutes, or 7 minutes if we were really productive.

The Workshop “MOnuMENTImotion- The Art of Dealing with the Past in Western Balkans”

We got a really diverse group of participates for the workshop in March: from photographers, graphic designers, animators and illustrators to sociologists, activists, theatre actors. What we didn´t have were the people from Kosovo. Moritz Kremer, Kosovo volunteer from Germany, who was on the pitch presentation in Belgrade, couldn´t make it because of the personal reasons, but decided to stay involved in project as Publicity artist. Bleron Krivanjeva, a participant who comes from Albanian ethnicity of Kosovo, was taken down from the bus on the Serbian-Bosnian border by a Serbian border guard policeman, although he had all traveling papers, and was  sent back home. He also decided to stay as a part of the project in the role of a Publicity artist and he gave voice to Ramiz Sadiku. From Serbian ethnicity of Kosovo we got no one. This is also the reason why I didn´t want to emphasize Boro – Ramiz story so much. On the other hand we didn´t have anyone from Croatia because forumZFD   has no projects/office there.

The first day we were  introduced  to the concepts of Dealing with the Past by workshop lead by Michele Parente, and followed by Memory track workshop held by Fabian Hanschen, a student/Intern at forumZFD B&H. After this Marko Krojač presented his MOnuMENTI exhibition, and told us about process of preparation of the exhibition.  I presented the idea for MOnuMENTImotion animated video, with its goals, problems and boundaries. We let the participants to think about it overnight. In the evening I had a small solo exhibition at BlackBox where we gathered for some chill out before the hard work the following day.

On the second day we started with the brainstorming for the story. First, we had to understand the boundaries for this animation. We had to use only monuments, sculptures and statues that are in the catalog of MOnuMENTI, and we could only use digital photos that Marko Krojač already made. Another important boundary was that each person would deal with monuments from their own country and later work in group with people from other countries to connect their story. After the brainstorming we had enough segments to start working on patching them together. In this part we made two groups, one with participants who are more visual types, worked with Marko Krojač on the selection of photos and also creating more visual ideas for animation, while the second group continued to work on making one coherent story. By the end of the day the ending was the only part we haven’t decided about. There were 3 possible endings, and we decided to sleep it over.

On the third day, we were trying to decide what to do with the ending and also we made additional changes to the story. After lunch, we decided to leave ending open for a month. For the final part we asked for volunteers to give voice to statues. We did recording of the voices in forumZFD office. In the end we had material for up to 15- minutes- long animation.

The Story

I will try to summarize the story in short lines.

Intro – we tried to make initial message of openness, from this notion of autistic countries to open- hearted cultures. Animated by Branislav Pantić, Filip Pantić and Luka Tilinger, each scene shows original and individual approach to animation.

Opening – We started with sculpture dedicated to Ivo Andrić, a famous Nobel Prize winner, who is telling a new story to himself, a story about waking up of Tito, who was a symbol of peace and prosperity in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and his visit to his comrades – other sculptures and the World War II memorials.

Conflict – Tito´s visit to Boro and Ramiz memorial triggers a search for Boro. Ramiz calls for help and in this search triggers other sculptures to respond. In this search we show Tito as he passes by faded and abandoned monuments, whose decay and destruction reflect passing of Yugoslavia. But we didn´t want to give too much importance to Tito, or to send Yugo-nostalgic message; we introduced a white pigeon as commonly recognized symbol of peace.

Climax – As the world recognized “heroes – pop icons” we used Rocky and Mother Teresa sculptures to tell their, more international view of the story. Their contributions to the search lead to the climax and possible resolution.

Ending – As with the whole animation, we tried to raise more questions or emphasize obvious ones that are deliberately ignored in the post-Yugoslavia countries. We did and didn´t give answers.

Ending titles – It was to be the most emotional part of the animation, segment by itself, like intro, but more focused on emotion. Because of the last minute changes to the story and a lack of time, we didn´t succeed in delivering emotional impact the way we planned it.

Outro – or second ending, unanimated or better to say animated with the sound, is our second answer that enforces first ending.

Promotion and final purpose

The premier was part of the Peace Event Sarajevo 2014 and it was held in Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We had technical difficulties but we successfully overcame them. The animation itself was well received by visitors and it gave new charm to MOnuMENTI exhibition. MOnuMENTImotion also premiered on the national TV station, BHT1, in short documentary, best described as making of, at the same time marking the end of the Peace Event Sarajevo 2014.

forumZFD, together with Anne Frank House the Netherlands and Youth Initiatives for Human Rights (YIHR), created pedagogical tool that includes short movies created on “Memory Walk” workshop held in Sarajevo-Istočno Sarajevo with MOnuMENTImotion animated video.

Related articles

Workshop “MOnuMENTImotion- The Art of Dealing with the Past in Western Balkans”
Premiere of the MOnuMENTImotion @ the Peace Event Sarajevo 2014
MOnuMENTImotion at forumZFD web site
MOnuMENTI at forumZFD web site with link to catalog in S/B/H and English
MemorInmotion – Pedagogical Tool on Culture of Remembrance