Documentary - NOMINEE: Dzenat Drekovic
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Dženat Dreković enters the prison with the lens of his photo camera; apart from the Cyrillic signs on the doors we can not know where this prison is, what society and which power apparatus reflect their power and their understanding of punishment in it. Actually, it is not even important which time and what social system that prison belongs to, since Dreković is not interested in the political in the prison, as a reflection of the social structure of power outside it. The photographer has turned this political into a hint of the ontology of prison, its structure of existence, to symbolically express the very logos of the prison, the essence of the way in which it deprives of freedom and controls the life of prisoners. Therefore, Dreković’s prison can be everywhere and at any moment of modern civilization, and it implies that every shot in it has taken the objective time and turned it into the symbolic one. However, the stress of Dreković’s photographs is not on time, but rather on space and man in it. First of all, it is a space if stressed bars. The bars are the main metaphor of this cycle of photographs. However, if they are in the front of the photographic view, if they are the main metaphor, it does not mean that they determine the contents of the photograph. Since the photographer is interested in what is behind them – life and its contents. Therefore, the time on the photographs has stopped, it has become a metaphorical other time. Outside the prison, the time lasts in its causal or contingent chain of events, it flows in between time spots. Such time that flows is not present in Dreković’s photographs, there is almost no process there, no action that would produce any influence in time. While prison is another space for Foucault, for Dreković it is also other time. Time in the so-called free life is closely related to movement and happening, i.e. to production of events. In prison and on Dreković’s photographs there are no events, but everything is stopping, the time stands still. The bars, as a main metaphor are now joined by the cuts of space without events, for the photograph to focus on the contents of space. Here, the rules dominate, the strict normativity of the space and its facelessness. Only a single photograph is an exception rom this facelessness of space, the one of the improvised desk and the books on it, next to Tito’s photograph on the wall next to the window. As if the prisoner that this cell belongs to has seen through the photograph, the books and the window into something else, outside the prison, into the symbolic of another time, the ideological narratives in it and the fictional freedom of books. All other spaces are faceless and functional to the maximum. Be it the picture of the playground outside, neglected and barren, the snow around it, cleaned for the circular walking trail, the clothes drying room or the inner part of the cell, men is quite faceless on them. This man without a face becomes the function of the space, just as the washing machine, the sink or the bars on the windows and doors. The function of the space, because it is filled in without the right to his subjunctivisation. In this way, the norm, the legal one first of all, is also reflected on Dreković’s photographs as a process of depersonalization of space and cancelation of the events in it. In other words, the space without persons and time without events reflect the ontological network of prison as a space of depersonalization.But, let us peek with Dreković’s camera into another aspect of human existence in prison. If he, as an ontological space is deprived of any subjectivity and if the norm strictly determines him so that by cancelling the events it actually also touches upon man, the basic question is who he is in prison, except being limited to the function of space, objectivised, so-called. This question actually opens the very essence of the existence of man in conditions when the disciplinary apparatus of the sate imposes its norm upon him. Man is namely, only left with the fact of expressing and defending his personality by intervening on his own body. Dreković therefore captures tattoos, this metonymic game of the swastika on prisoner’s skin, or the image in which the skin of the prisoner implies a face of a person that floats between the male and female, or it is transsexual. In this way, body appears as a sign of freedom, speech of the person, exposed to discipline and punishment. However, isn’t it all that is left for man also in the first, so-called real time, where we are sentenced to system being internalised into our psyche and mind with the Lacanian production of desires. In other words, if the prison is a space for disciplining and punishing, isn’t the space of freedom but an illusion, because there the system is internalised inside us, turning us into its mental subjects?
Dženat Dreković was born in 1979 in Macedonia and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Serbia, finished World Press Photo Masterclass in Berlin, and postgraduate studies in art photography from Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He gained his work experience as a photo-reporter for daily news and weekly magazines and as an assistant in the classes of media photographs and applied photography at the Faculty for Technical Studies (FTS) in Travnik and Kiseljak, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dreković’s artwork has been exhibited in art galleries throughout Europe and America. At the present time lives in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.