Censorship Of Happines: In Front Of The Wall
No Borders – No nations
No Borders – No Nations
2013, October 3rd – 13th
Tea Hatadi, “Censorship of Happiness
: in front of the wall”
‘Censorship of Happiness’ started in 2012 when Tea Hatadi invited some twenty artists based in Zagreb to face the video camera and talk about the emotions and states they experienced through (or related to) their artistic practice. The sub plot of this project was a documentary-existentialist study about the possible sense of belonging to a specific community, the conditions of art or cultural production, within the geographically specific and culturally defined artistic community in Zagreb. Her colleagues’ responses ranged from descriptions of specific works to short accounts of turning points that altered the artists’ established views of their practice, and life and art in general. But, as much as the title of the work indicates that Hatadi’s work focuses on the issue of happiness in the current social reality, her formal approach, concealing the identities of her informants, reveals the opposite. Happiness is, first of all, a tool of the dominant ideology of contemporary society flagged in the vast array of self-help manuals and unbearably light and joyous pop songs. As the prominent philosopher Renata Salecl puts it: “ Ideology of choice (the twin of the ideology of happiness as we are all in control of our own happiness) can compel us and drive us to the wrong path burdening the individual with the idea that he is the only master of its own prosperity and his own life and that ideology brings a little to the possible change of society in general (1).
It is, moreover, pointless to address happiness without taking into consideration the social sample as a parameter and being continually aware of its many different facets, as they are all interdependent. How we live our lives does not, unfortunately, depend on us alone. Circumstances, good or bad, constantly intervene. A person close to us dies. A person not so close to us carries on living. All these things affect how we live. (2)
Therefore, one understands Hatadi’s strategy to talk about happiness from the position of the censorship of happiness as the common law, while analysing the social mechanisms surrounding it.
In her quest for samples of ‘happiness’ in her own and other people minds, for the exhibition Ex-ordinary, Tea Hatadi has broadened her artistic approach and returned to the art of drawing. Possibly because drawing transmits the emotion behind the mere components of an encounter, and the viewer’s gaze merges with the gaze of the sitter through the ongoing reenactment of gesture and translation of the observational. All of the artists involved in this project, along with Hatadi, are clearly present – although depicted from behind. The drawings of their physical outlines are accompanied by a drawing of a wall of the house that delineated their mental landscapes during the preparatory residency for this exhibition. The installation includes the sound recording of their individual comments on happiness and the practice of art. Within this transfer of individual processes into the collective, lies the most important element of Hatadi’s work. The interweaving of personal fragments of thoughts about practice and the potential of a collective activity goes beyond the discourse about the happiness of the creative act.
1. Renata Salecl, Tyrany of Choice (translated from Croatian edition by the author of a present text, Tiranija izbora, Fraktura, Zagreb, 2012, 20).
2. Quotation from Tariq Ali taken from the Facebook wall of Jelena Gr (http://books.google.hr/books/about/The_Stone_Woman.html?id=iVQfwypi7fkC&redir_esc=y, 8/9/2013)