Sitting on two stools

Sitting on two stools | ne možeš sjediti na dvije stolice Video Installation

OPENING APRIL 2013 Visual Art Gallery, Governors State University, University Park, IL

By Debbie James with photographs by Dejana Erich

A collaborative multi-sensory installation incorporating photographs, voice, and video, telling five stories of home and homeland. Exploring loss, memory, and return.


Thoughts of home and homeland are separate, pulling me back and forth, yet overlapping in my memory. While away, I can look at the pictures, return to the same places, and walk down the same street, yet I cannot return to those moments. It is a time that no longer exists, yet I inhabit both places.

To further explore the often complicated intersection between memory, home and homeland, I traveled to the Balkan coastal town of Herceg Novi, Montenegro in 2012 to interview summer residents who were citizens of the former Yugoslavia, a time and place that no longer exists.

The resulting collaborative installation includes video and photovoice as a means to represent the fragmentary experiences of home and homeland. The three video screens show images of a daily walk through the town to the coast and back again, adding a dream-like quality to a real place. These images serve to frame five stories based on the question: “How do you negotiate home and homeland?”

Together, the images, video, and sound are a site of cultural meaning that incorporates transnational dimensions to the idea of loss, memory, and return. Like the experience, the title is embedded with the contradiction of being in and living between two places and times. Visitors can pick up a pencil, reflect on the meaning of home, and share their personal perspective as part of this installation.


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