Under the stars of Andromeda

Orianne Ciantar Olive

2018 - Ongoing

Sarajevo, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina

In Sarajevo, 25 years since the longest siege in modern history, the generation after is searching the stars for direction, eyes on the horizon; encircled by heritage, dreams and responsibilities.

Through this beleaguered youth is the proposition of a mise en abîme; silences of the past and the realness of the now, like an image of our futures, true or fantasized.

The journalistic quest slides into artistic and prospective photography.

A mirror is being held up.

Intention (this text is a part of the exhibition):

« In Beyrout just like in Sarajevo, every morning I would set sail for death on my journey for destruction. I was a journalist. I had to relate in an unfinished language with words of ruins, that wars are nothing more than some noise on a lot of silence. A passing blast when silence gets too unbearable. A dream of a better world even if the dream is obscene and turbulent ». Paul MARCHAND, Sympathy for the Devil.

For a long time I was silent. I was also surrounded by mountains that seemed impassable. They moved with me each time I tried to escape. There are places that lock you up, there are situations.

You do not have any memories of the Bosnian War. You were far away, somewhere deep in the Amazonia. It was only when your parents came back to the mainland that you maybe saw some footage of the siege ending.

My only link to this place was the sound of a man's voice reverberating on the kitchen tiles, echoing through my mountains, into my juvenile bones.

Each time he spoke, just like an antiphon, there was the name of the place he did not want to leave. So distant, so close, and haunting : Sarajevo!

I want to be one with, to belong to the city, and roam through it and wear out my body, my mind there. Bowed under the weight of my incapacity to react to it crying for help.

You feel besieged too. The eternal new girl, you find yourself constantly exposed to hostility or indifference from the others. You want to act like you're from around here, but you do not come from anywhere.

I want to blend into silence and raise my head, catch some air from the stars.

He felt abandoned by the world too, besieged amidst general indifference, the accomplice of the great, the powerful, the knowledgeable, and all the others.

I was not part of it.

Paul Marchand's voice, the echo it found in you. That was your calling. Sarajevo, your childhood dream sown by some magical-sounding word. Unknowingly, you chose to encounter your own youth by following a long lost voice, a fantasy.

Only much later could I finally go there; it was too late.

You knew that. But you still went, you will go again. And maybe it's because you knew, that you chose to accept the heritage and make us witnesses. You chose photography to ward off our oblivion.

The city is silent again, and yet its walls are still screaming. The generation that followed remains stunned, struck by the echoes, like glazed in the vestiges of the fire it has not known. These youngsters came to me, they snatched me up with a breath, cried me my own adolescence, calling out to me through time and history.

This youth has no choice. It has to keep its innocence and dreams. Despite of, or perhaps because of that, away from common war tourism photography and the gaudy topic of resilience, you wanted to know who this generation was; the one bearing the stigmata of the longest siege of the twentieth century.

For a long time I was silent. Today I reveal. The silence encompassed by mountains, the looks on faces trapped by the distant starry horizon, and a city struggling to make out the paths of its revival.

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