TransConflict is pleased to present ‘The Bosnian Project, which explores the question of identity in Bosnia-Herzegovina – particularly whether or not there is a shared, Bosnian identity?
By Roberto Tenace
After a long period of research and several trips to the Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular, we (my colleague photographer Matteo Di Giovanni and myself) felt the need to start a project about the composite nature of this country and its people. To us, it was important to explore the many characters of a country that underwent major changes. Furthermore, it was especially important to grasp the nature of these changes that continue across Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We asked ourselves what does being Bosnian mean? Is there a shared identity; a Bosnian identity? So we travelled across the country in search of particular stories that – in our view – tell something meaningful about the historical, religious and social paths Bosnian people are presently following. The images focus both on the people and their respective contexts. Through personal stories and ‘solid’ landscapes, the frames recount different facets of today’s Bosnia.
The documentary explores the current linguistic situation in Bosnia, where words have become borders, while short video landscapes allow a viewer enter the mood of the country, the same mood we experienced. Our collaborative work converged in a cross-media project, since we thought it to be the best way to tell such a complex story.
The Bosnian Project will now start travelling. An exhibition consisting of photographs, documentary and video landscapes will first be organised in Pescara, Italy in the forthcoming period. For three weeks, visitors will be able to explore and broaden their understanding through a series of events accompanying the exhibition. Public talks, screenings and live performances will help the audience to understand how close to us – as both Italians and Europeans – Bosnia really is, and how similarities with the Bosnian context can be found all across Europe. That is actually the main point – with Croatia joining the EU in July and Serbia making gradual progress towards membership, Bosnia and Herzegovina will find itself on the border, and it will have to either look across or past it.
After Pescara, the exhibition will continue through other Italian cities – Bari and Rome, to mention only a few – waiting to eventually cross the Adriatic sea.