Mixed media - 5 channel video-audio
installation consisting of filmed interviews projected on transparent
blocks / ferrofluid sculpture / biopsy samples embedded in epoxy
The psychological and physical state of military personnel changes drastically after returning from overseas missions (Gulf, Balkan, Iraq, Afghanistan et cetera). The symptoms that they ‘host’ are recognizable to medical experts as variations of cancer, but sudden increases in incidences and mutations are causing doubts as to the nature of their illness and its causes, thus creating uncertainty and distrust. Victims sink into a state of limbo similar to that experienced by those living in the war zones the soldiers just left. In this state they wander alone in silence, expecting a solution to or explanation for their health problems, or death. In the media, the ‘horror’ experienced is known as ‘Balkan Syndrome’ or ‘Gulf Syndrome’ and the cause of the health-related problems is linked to the use of weapons containing depleted uranium (DU), as well as to the presence of invisible nanoparticles in the atmosphere, which penetrate the victim’s body.
In the exhibition space, victims and a unique collection of biopsy samples are ‘hosted’ by the ferrofluid sculpture * that transforms itself in front of the audience.
This project examines the relationship between fiction and reality, questioning the intention of ‘hospitality’** and the responsibility of those who offer it. We are uninformed ‘hosts’ exposing our bodies and minds to an aggressive transformation. This aggression is an injustice and a mistake caused by global politics and economies.
* Ferrofluid is a liquid that becomes highly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field. It is used in medicine to detect cancer but also serves as a means to camouflage military objects. The nanoparticles of which ferrofluid consists have been identified by scientists to be similar to the nanoparticles found in the biopsies of the affected soldiers.
** The word ‘hospitality’ is derived from the Latin word hospes, which is formed from hostis, which originally meant ‘to have power’. The word host comes from the Old French word hoiste, which in turn is from the Latin word hostia, meaning ‘sacrificial victim’. In biology, it is a term for an animal or plant on or in which a parasite or commensal organism lives.
This fluid is unknown to most of the audience. It has the appearance of something that we should recognize from films; it might be dangerous but is certainly impressive. Ferrofluid is a liquid that becomes strongly polarized in the presence of a magnetic field, as shown in the images. This military nanotechnological material is used to create a seductive interactive sculpture that carries philosophical and metaphorical meaning. This also forms the conclusion of the project.
Meeting point, gathering point, memorial, religious object, totem, alien/queen…
Holographic projection/transparent blocks
My research revolved around many technical experiments, performed to help me to understand how I want to present this work, but also how to shape the project and make certain decisions. I researched filming techniques and the tangibility of materials that could help me grasp the presence that I was looking for. Tests with lighting, camera and lenses were performed, too, in order to find the best possible presentation of the people I interviewed.
At the start of the project, I wanted to exhibit original private belongings in the space: items of military clothing, medical analyses, private photos and souvenirs from the war; different objects that are evidence of people’s involvement and their problems. During my research I came across something more personal and unique: transparent, barely visible biopsy samples containing nanoparticles that are causing these health problems. This serves to confirm the invisibility of the problem and underlines the fragility of the human body. These biopsy samples are unique and new because the nanoparticles discovered in them are at the root of a new generation of cancer and disease. At the same time, this is proof that these humans have been redesigned through mistakes made by other humans.
Countries of production the Netherlands, Italy
Language Italian, Dutch, English
Director Bogomir Doringer
Cinematography Ben Geraerts
Screenplay Bogomir Doringer, Irene ter Stege
Editing Jelena Rosic
Sound Bogomir Doringer, Slobodan Bajic
Production Bogomir Doringer, Irene ter Stege
Production assistance ferrofluid sculpture Aneta Lesnikovska
Software development Mirko Lazovic