A reading room by the JOJO Library
for Indian Photo Festival 2020
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Dragana Jurišić / YU: The Lost Country
' Jean Baudrillard wrote that part of the pleasure of traveling is “to dive into places where others are compelled to live and come out unscathed, full of the malicious pleasure of abandoning them to their fate.” Unluckily, my journey was
not that much of a travel, but a return to the home that was no longer mine. I did not manage to come out unharmed. The thing with exiles is that they change their home for a suitcase. There is no proper return once you forsake your home.
So, it made sense that I ‘returned’ to what was once Yugoslavia, with a camera. As Susan Sontag writes: “photographs give people an imaginary possession of a past that is unreal, they also help people to take possession of a space in which they are insecure... Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs. The very activity of taking photographs is soothing, and assuages general feelings of disorientation that are likely to be exacerbated by travel.”. '
- DRAGANA JURIŠIC
" YU: The Lost Country was originally conceived as a recreation of a homeland that was lost. It was a journey in which I would somehow draw a magical circle around the country that was once mine and in doing so, resurrect it, following Roland Barthes’ assertion that photography is more akin to magic than to art. Instead, it turned out to be a journey of rejection. My experience was one of displacement and a sense of exile that was stronger back ‘home’ than in the foreign place where I had chosen to live. Photography contains elements such as fleetingness, which allow it to capture that sense of rootlessness and dislocation with relative ease. Both exile and photography intensify our perception of the world. In both, memory is in its underlying core. Both are characterised by melancholy. In Easter 2011, in search of both the lost country and a lost identity, I started retracing West’s journey and re-interpreting her masterpiece by using photography and text in an attempt to re-live my experience of Yugoslavia and to re-examine the conflicting emotions and memories of the country that ‘was’. "
About the Author
Born in the former Yugoslavia and now living and working in Dublin, Dragana Jurišić received her PhD from the European Centre for Photographic Research in 2013. She is a Visiting Fellow at the University of South Wales and Assistant Professor at Dublin City University.
Working primarily with image, text and video, she has shown her work extensively and won many awards, including the Golden Fleece Special Recognition Award, IMMA 1000 Residency Award and numerous Bursaries and Project Awards. Her work is in a number of important collections including the National Gallery of Ireland, Arts Council Collection and Irish State Art Collection.
Her first book, YU: The Lost Country received accolades worldwide. Her last book Museum, collaboration with Paula Meehan, came out in July 2019. Her newest publication 'The Merits of the Tracer Fire' is coming out in December 2020.
About the Publisher
Published by Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin
For more information about the author and the book, please visit: http://draganajurisic.com/yu-the-lost-country/4580944928
Book video produced by JOJO Library
Post Production by Aditya Tawate
All reproductions are used with the permissions of the author and/or publisher.