Hidden Codes

Miodrag Krkobabić
September 13th - 24th, 2011

In general, my work examines today’s society’s state of mind. It investigates the social, political and economic implications of contemporary society taking a critical look at how marketing and politics distort our perception and attitude.

Project HIDDEN CODES is dealing with prejudices between the dominant local population and marginal groups and immigrants and revealing of hidden codes of behavior – a behavior that is not visible, because it belongs to certain closed groups and is usually misunderstood or misinterpreted and marginalized by wider society. The project is based on research on the difference between the personal protection of identity and perception that others (society, institutions, state, etc.) have of that personal identity as a pattern for recognition and identification. My recent videos and video installations derive material from extensive fieldwork that I am doing among marginalized groups in and from out of EU at places they share in common. Within the relation to vast collectively shared topics – illegal immigration followed by losses of initial context, issues of double identity and the occurrence of parallel, informal economies/closed communities, I am focusing my work on individuals who involuntarily became a part of these processes. At the same time, my videos grasp a time fragment in the current history of the unified Europe where considerable numbers of people are excluded. Usually, I take work migrants at their workday off meeting points. Through the use of documentary stylistic devices and the deconstruction of media storytelling formats into parallel-screened narratives, I draft a socio-cognitive status report of the present whose relevancy reaches well beyond the borders of the zone observed.

The first part of the project is video installation FEIERABEND recorded 2004 in Vienna.

One small flat in Vienna is the meeting point for the group of Serbian “Gastarbeiter”. The whole scenery of that small, warm place is, at least, strange. All over the walls are Icons with Jesus Christ, Saints Guardians, and Virgin Mary with a small Christ, etc. and people living in this place are religious. But all over those Icons are stickers, notes and paper messages with telephone numbers, work plans, dates, etc. They gathered after a hard long workday. Sitting around a small table. Telling each other all kinds of different life stories. Mostly very hard tales. But, they are not grieving or complaining. They do not mind being recorded telling hard, private life stories. They do not have anything to hide and to be ashamed of. They already think of me as one of them, as a member of the family. Only with that kind of trust and confidence is it possible to make artwork that is sincere and brutal at the same time.