Irena Lagator Pejović


Forward Play Reverse

installation, color photography,   14min silented excerpt from the 1969 film "Iron Gate" (by Filmske Noovosti production);
70x150 cm, 70x50 cm each photography
part of the solo exhibition: For the Common Good, within the framework of “Im Vorbeigehen II/17” at KU with Artist Talk at Kepler Salon, Linz, Austria. Curated by Karolina Majewska-Güde. Forward Play Reverse

This work was part of the solo exhibition: For the Common Good, within the framework of “Im Vorbeigehen II/17” at KU with Artist Talk at Kepler Salon, in Linz, Austria The intervention was realized in connection with research focus on Central and Eastern European art histories and was accompanied by a guest lecture series Global Art History [3] (October 7, 2019–January 20, 2020).
Curated by Karolina Majewska-Güde

Text: Karolina Majewska-Güde published in Monika leisch-Kiesl, Franziska Heiß Hg, Was Sagt die Kunst? Gegenwartskunst und wissenschaft im dialog, Transkript, 2022, p. 266-274

Forward Play Reverse are the three buttons on all sorts of tehclogical devices that we encounter in our daily routine of living. But in the context of 4th industrial revolution, automatisation of labour and capitalist exploitation of life, this three words, given the role of a title of an artwork, offer a potential of a critical understanting of our surroundings.
The installation focuses on the histories and imaginary iconographies of the current capitalist ecocide. I try to engage with ecology in a sense that can be captured by referring to Félix Guattari’s concept of existential territories and three registers of ecology: environmental, social and mental. I’m interested to explore all three domains of ecology by focusing primarily on the issue of water and to explore visual possibilities of speaking about human responsibility.
This triptych makes visible the two kinds of human intervention in nature. The first is the construction of successive temporary gurbage dumps at the Adriatic coast (1st and 3rd photo) that are fertilized and afforested over time leading to quicker incomes by avoiding reciklage in the transition period and paradoxically at the beginning of the new millenium. The second is the construction of Iron Gate Hydroelectric Power Station, the 4th biggest European dam from 60s on the Danube river (the photos in the middle) that was an interstate publicly funded project during the time of socialist Yugoslavia, and built for the common good.
How forward thinking has been transformed in the process of play under the conviction that it is “for the common good”? How such environmental, commercial and above all exploitationist processes that led to the extintion of species influenced us to name our time as the anthropocene, or the capitalocene? To which stage of regression and reversal processes in the 21st century that kind of behaviour affects us all preventing our future ecologies - are some of the questions that this installation communicates. (Irena Lagator Pejović)