Artist: Kristina Hočevar
Curator: Iza Pevec
4. 3. at 6 pm, online lecture by Zorana Baković (the lecture will be in English, you can apply via firstname.lastname@example.org)
11. 3. at 6 and 7 pm, viewing of the exhibition with artist Kristina Hočevar and curator Iza Pevec (apply via email@example.com)
18. 3. at 6 pm, reading the collection of poems Rujenje / Half of a C / C 的一半 by Kristina Hočevar (streamed via YouTube)
25. 3. at 6 and 7 pm, viewing of the exhibition with artist Kristina Hočevar and curator Iza Pevec (apply via firstname.lastname@example.org)
“[…] in a world without others, claiming that one has privacy does not make much sense.” // “Without society there would be no need for privacy.”
The concept of privacy, as explicitly enmeshed between the individual and society, is strongly historically and culturally conditioned, and a clear definition of this notion is already elusive within a single society – probably also because it is an attempt to reach a social consensus on a highly subjective issue. Half of a C project maintains the semantic openness of privacy and reflects upon it from various aspects: intimacy, cultural conditioning and the language or translation, as well as art as a practice that is also torn between the private and the public. The book of poems and the exhibition came about after the artist’s stay at a poetry residency in China and the direct experience of the politics of surveillance there.
“objects that carry DNA and DNA: my blueprint, your blueprint”
When we are surveilled, or we feel as if we are, we begin to behave differently, which ruins the spontaneity that is central to intimate relationships, and the experience is replaced by surveilling our own selves, a kind of self-monitoring. The close and personal becomes a space of risk, an unsettling resonance settles into the image of intimacy. This is especially true of today’s communication technologies: the closeness made possible by the mobile phone, which brings the far close, is in the same breath a trap of unavoidable control. The hair-smoothing video on display, taken with a mobile phone, not only shows the gestures of closeness; DNA can (also) be obtained from hair, the analysis of which is one of the methods of identification and authentication. Tenderness, captured in a digital world saturated with surveillance, however, is only – an approximation. Is the hair in the clip real at all? Similarly, traces of our DNA are imprinted on clothing and objects, the silent witnesses of shared or divided intimacy, now left to our gaze, archived behind glass like dead remains. Intimacy in the light of surveillance also disappears in the series of black and white photographs, edited so that none of the subjects can be identified. Shared memories are fragmented, they decompose almost to the point of depersonalisation; at the same time, precisely because of this, they pass (away?) into an aesthetic object.
“Fingerprints and fingerprints” distinguish the verses of Half of a C … “not of our eyes without our eyes”. The image of the closeness of the palm, the contact and the confidential gaze reveals traceability and identification, while the eye also morphs into a cold symbol of omnipresent control. “a ball, to insert a head into her eye.“ A ball from the exhibition moved into the poem, a white object resembling an eyeball, approaching a kind of online panopticon where photographs of memories are captured.
“I insert myself into the next eye, onto the next list,
I forward myself into the camera, write into the document:
of the same eyes.”
With these verses, the poem with the motif of a ball continues; the artistic expression thus approaches a sense of control, and the creation of the work seems to be tied to the thoughts towards the reader, the observer, the beholder. If the poet inserts herself into the eye of the poem, then the visitor to the exhibition, who enters the looking eye, has the control over her personal photographs. The mentioned objects and garments, the bearers of intimate memory, are also similarly ruthlessly disclosed, divulged, dis-assembled in the gallery. The work of art as such is determined by its context – so does art take place with a step out of the private, into the public, into the space of the book or gallery?
“whose privacy will translate the words”
Like privacy, language is also closely enmeshed in society and the individual, and the notion of translation can help us think about how intimacy emerges with different perceptions of the private. The English word “privacy” is usually equated with “yinsi” in Mandarin, which carries an air of secrecy, egotism and conspiratorial behaviour. However, Kenneth Neil Farral believes that this equivalent omits related words that might contribute to a fuller understanding of the perception of privacy since the cross-cultural dialogue associated with the English word “privacy” is accompanied by a complex semantic-discursive network whose schema the artist incorporates into the exhibition. The elusive notion of privacy, within which each culture on its own is already powerless, thus finds itself on even slipperier ground with translation that emphasises the inherent slippage of language, where it is precisely the language of poetry that can allow for a freer coexistence of different meanings and preserves their multifaceted nature. The poems from the collection on display in the exhibition are not so much the original and the translation, but rather about continuation and complementation. The elusive meaning caught in the space between them, however, is like a swing, transient and swaying. “yǐn sī not yīn sī not yīn sī and can you define yǐn sī. // not privacy not private not zase samo ne zasebnost“
I am fond of the idea that all communication is translation. Using the metaphor of translation, we can perhaps consider the definition of privacy as an attempt to translate different subjectivities into a common denominator, and to translate the different privacies and personalities in an intimate relationship. Should we also understand the relationship between Half of a C and Half of a C, between the exhibition and the poetry collection, as a translation? Translation is a creative practice within which we can also think about relocations between different artistic mediums. And if certain theories understand translation as a new work of art, then this would certainly be the case here. But perhaps this is more than a translation, perhaps it is a layering of different worlds, an accumulation and fusion of gazes. The elusive concept of privacy unfolds into different branches of interpretation, and I can never translate my experience into yours, even though these experiences can intertwine. The introduction of the medium, which is new to the author, underlines the multifaceted nature of the subject of privacy, which is further expounded in its complexity and incompatibility by the contact of the two cultures. If every communication is in fact a translation, then the exhibition continues the poetic conversation about the private.
Kristina Hočevar (1977) is the author of seven poetry collections, among which she received the Golden Bird Award for Repki [Little Tails] (2008) and the Jenko Award for Na zobeh aluminij, na ustnicah kreda [Aluminium on Teeth, Chalk on Lips] (2012). The latter has also been translated into German in its entirety (Auf den Zähnen Aluminium, auf den Lippen Kreide, 2017). Her poems have been included in various anthologies and translated into 15 languages, and are also featured side by side with the graphic prints by Gorazd Krnc in the artist’s book 3 way art book. She collaborates with the Lesbian Quarter collective and in sound and poetry performances with Tomaž O. Rous. In addition to her creative work, she works as a teacher of Slovenian, a proofreader and an occasional literary translator from English into Slovenian. The exhibition Rujenje / Half of a C / C 的一半, with which she enters the field of visual art for the first time, came about as a result of months of silence and inability to utter words; these began to compile themselves into the poetry collection of the same title only later.
Design: Lea Jelenko
Slovene Proofreading: Inge Pangos
English Translation: Arven Šakti Kralj Szomi
Photos of exhibition installation: Simao Bessa
Exhibition view: Klemen Ilovar
Acknowledgments: Ou Cai, Jiarui Chen, Marina Gržinić, Anja Guid, Vid Hajnšek, Karlo Hmeljak, Tadeja Hočevar, Jasna Klančišar, Gregor Kovač, Matjaž Moder, SYSU Writer’s Residency & Fan Dai, Ana Lucija Šarić, Tomaž O. Rous, Marko Vivoda, Tanja Završki.
 Daniel J. SOLVE, “Conceptualizing Privacy”, California Law Review, 90/4, 2002, p. 1104.
 The creation of the poetry collection intertwined with the drafting of the exhibition with which the poet Kristina Hočevar enters into a medium that is new to her. The exhibition and the book are connected in terms of content, so the exhibition text also touches on the poems and quotes them in some places.
 Kenneth Neil FARRALL, “Global Privacy in Flux: Illuminating Privacy across Cultures in China and the U.S.”, International Journal of Communication, 2, 2008, pp. 994, 997.
The Škuc Gallery programme is supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Ljubljana.