A Girl, the Sun and an Airplane Airplane

 


»A Girl, the Sun, and an Airplane Airplane« (9’50″, 2007) was filmed in a sound studio in the former Enver Hoxha Museum in Tirana (Albania). The artist invited various citizens of the same generation to recall their knowledge of the Russian language, which was compulsory in schools for many years under the communist regime of Enver Hoxha. As the social system began to change, knowledge of this language started to fade. Most of the participants in the video remember basic phrases like ‘comrade’, the sun’, ‘working class’, or the lyrics of popular Russian poems. While they are puzzled to be found in such an awkward situation and try to bring back the long forgotten memory of a passing language, we witness how their personal memories are inextricably interwoven with political memory. In this work, Zdjelar is putting an accent on the role of language as a locus of an individual’s identity and how the language is politically determined, revealing the social stratification of the individuals constituted through it. The work follows the hesitant uttering of the citizens, their efforts to speak and memorize, which are followed by the production of noise and silence in their attempt to communicate with Zdjelar. As she shares the same background–having studied the Russian language and faced the fall of the (Yugoslavian) socialist regime–a bond between them and a sense of belonging to a shared communal body is opened up within the timeline of pause and silence and the space of cavity between expressing one word or sentence and finding the next.