Journal No. 1 - An Artist's Impression
Journal No. 1 - An Artist's Impression is an attempt at reconstructing lost images. The main topic of the first Bosnian newsreel, made in 1947, was a reading and writing class for women. Self-assured, they let down their veils and sit at the school desks. These were their first steps toward a modern, liberated role in their new nation. Four years after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the only surviving nitrate copy of this newsreel was lost in the chaotic battlefields of former Yugoslavia. Using two screens at a time, director Hito Steyerl tries to breathe new life into something that is no longer there. With unprecedented perseverance, she follows the route that the film canister travelled: from the archive to a barn, by way of a bunker. She speaks with people who saw the newsreel and asks an artist to capture their descriptions, as if it were a storyboard. She also incorporates excerpts from 1940s feature films to get nearer to the atmosphere on a visual level. But it turns out to be impossible to capture the starting point of Bosnian identity. Every attempt to illustrate this history in images will explode into fragments, as if stumbling onto a forgotten landmine.