For me, displacement means...
Buffer Fringe VII (2020) The Theme Displacement
BF: What does ‘displacement’ mean to you (artistically and personally)?
ME: For me, displacement means the forced dislocation from a familiar/known zone to an unfamiliar/unknown one. Amidst the fears of the unknown resulting from such drastic repositioning is the opportunity to gain new perspectives following the flexibility of information flow, the morphology of perception and the multiplicity of reality, which my work and research focalise. A summative account of the interests through which I explore these ideas relate to the following:
I'm interested in crossovers; I'm interested in replacing anachronistic concepts. I'm interested in genetic migrations, the mobility of memory in the virtual reality of our mind. Malleable attitudes. Mental and spiritual awakenings and development. I am interested in understanding how genealogical patterns of psychology and genetically transferrable experiences affect stagnation and provoke displacement. Which of these influencing factors are obsolete, which do we no longer need or need to change? I'm interested in how new technologies affect mobility, displacement and migration.
BF: How do you perceive the relationship between migration, mobility, and displacement, and how can we differentiate between them?
ME: Displacement is an influenced reposition or change from the original state, place and ideology towards otherness. It can be abrupt and violent in terms of the force that pushes the subject/object to move out of their habitual position. For example, unforeseen disasters: natural and unnatural, war and politics can trigger the displacement of people and entire nations. It also entails moving out of the workplace, a particular mind-set, belief or sentiment.
Migration can be a consequence of displacement. Despite being a consequence, migration still requires the free-will of an individual or society initiated in many cases by the desire to survive and relocate. This galvanises the spatial mobility of self, populations or animals (in population genetics, mobility is one of the four evolutionary factors). I believe that human migration is an inevitable and unstoppable compulsion, controllable to a certain extent but not terminable driven as it is by formidable forces such as survival and exchange of data.
Mobility is the portability and motion (of an individual, community group or social strata, for example, from point a to point b within the context of struggle, professions or availability of resources. Conditioned by individual strengths and weaknesses mobility operates within the confines of a particular space. A space influenced by time, geography and other regional factors: religious, constitutional, legal, social media and data mobility. There is indeed yet another inexplicable influential factor, namely the forces of the universe that we do not fully comprehend. Mobility in its physical, psychological and metaphysical form is an intrinsic part of bringing migration into fruition. As well as anything else.
Immobility can sooner or later initiate displacement. All three factors, displacement, mobility, and migration, can trigger each other as they are interwoven in a pattern that determines the direction of development.
BF: How do you understand ‘mobility’ as an experience of people, ideas and practices, in your own reality or that of others?
ME: Mobility is the possibility of motion. It is necessary for the development and survival of humankind, humanity, society and every species. Mobility determines direction, influences genetic change and defines the range of motion possible of a particular element in a specific sphere.
Without mobility, there is no lifeforce. One could argue that survival is contingent on mobility.
When mobility is temporarily disabled, the lifeforce finds another direction. An alternative channel that can be called displacement. Conversely, displacement can disable or initiate a new mode of mobility.
BF: How do you understand displacement as a process, an ever-changing process that spans through time, memory, and aesthetics? Does this relate with nostalgia, and how?
ME: Displacements have marked significant milestones in my life. War, the end of Yugoslavia and the bombing of Belgrade initiated my sudden displacement and migration to Cyprus. Relocating to a new country changed me forever, and birthed an eternal wound, which will forever be paradoxically entwined with the joy and gratitude of finding a new home. If Serbia is my mother, then Cyprus is my father. They are neither substitutes nor replacements, rendering my displacement as both positive and negative, which feels like a never-ending experience. Having two homes in which I have spent almost the same years of my life, both fuels and casts doubts on my sense of selfhood, belonging, security and insecurity, forever a foreigner, and a nostalgic citizen of both. I am in a constant state of displacement, which is both richly rewarding and intensely liminal.
The war in Yugoslavia made me a social artist.
My work and research focus on being able to understand others, human behaviour and conflict resolution. No matter our origins, our DNA is continuously evolving due to environmental, cultural, political, economic, emotional and personal subjective states. There is no fixed human nature, no true reality. There are only historical facts that can be interpreted via infinite versions. Only a sum of all perceptions from all observers that ever were, are and will, can create an accurate picture of reality, and that is impossible. All personal attitudes are virtual realities, which are continually evolving. Do we have free will?
BF: How is displacement manifested as a day-to-day practice? What does it mean during the COVID-19 crisis, in social/physical isolation and confinement?
ME: The unbearable displacement caused by the COVID 19 crisis in terms of Illness, suffering and economic crisis, is also counterbalanced by a force propelling positive displacement regarding a new psychological landscape that we are in the process of exploring. Many are awakening within its wake, primarily highlighting the complacency and stagnancy of anachronistic ways of living, thinking and being.
When you cannot go outside, you go inside! Routines are impacted to such an extent that comparatives such as war do not quite fit. We are on the precipice of unprecedented departures from cyclic existence in which we are strangely forced to view regular actions through a telescopic lens. This emphasis gives rise to alternative and creative ways of being in appreciation of what was habitually left continuously unnoticed and taken for granted. For however long our memory serves as a reminder of the 'new normal' enforced upon us by continuously unfolding conditions, which destabilise ideologies regarding old, existing and future patterns of behaviour.