Modular Geography: Lana Čmajčanin

Modular Geography, 2014

I absolutely loved Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina in general. I could spend a very long time writing about the history of the region although my knowledge wouldn’t do justice to a country which has at once a beautiful, complex and harrowing past.

Thanks to a sticker on a tram stop, I came across the work of Lana Čmajčanin, a young artist who was born in Sarajevo in 1983. What I love about her work is the strong connection it has to the past and the way in which it aims to make sense of Bosnia’s history in a very innovative and powerful way.

Modular Geography is an interactive piece which allows the viewer to play with historical maps of Bosnia, in turn mimicking the way in which Bosnia’s land has been manipulated and fought over for years. Similarly, Geometry of Placeis an installation which features two sets of maps.  The first locates military operations throughout Bosnia and the second is taken from school text books, detailing the changing layout of Bosnia’s borders.

I Begged them to Kill Me is a sound installation containing sentences from women who were victims of rape during the war in Bosnia. By avoiding explicit descriptions relating to rape, the listener can only imagine what atrocities these women faced. Čmajčanin in turn wants to highlight the lack of help and psychological support offered to women who have been victims of war crime sexual assault.

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