Photo: Erwin Prasljivic
Lana Čmajčanin.

Prognostics lecture: Lana Čmajčanin: Tailoring the borders

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - 18:00 to 19:30
Exhibition Laboratory


The lecture will question the ways of how political geography and dynamic reinscription of borders shaping the topography of human life, transform nationality, religion, language and construct the collective memory, history and dominant identities. It will question whether our map reading skills are able to pierce beyond the cartographic elements that are commonly found on a map and reach the intangible landscapes of human life.

 The history of the Southern Slavs and the Balkans, in general, is a history of continuous migrations and the drawing of borders. The name of the country encompassing this territory changed several times, inscribing geopolitical meaning of different historical people and nations crossing and erasing from there. Clear lines appear between countries on historical geopolitical maps, which points to the development of nations and countries with all the accompanying ideologies of indivisible sovereignty. In the 20th century, turbulent ideological events constituted the border, not only in the sense of a strictly determined state territory but differences as to the nation, language, and culture were also noted therein in a direct and often surprising visual form.

The current borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina followed a dynamic and intense process of state formation which is lost in the course of historization. For centuries, the borders were set by wars and peace treaties, which on one hand merely registered the results of the former, while on the other they were a harbinger of further conflict. Thus, in the 19th century cartography turned into political geography, and in the course time, it became institutionalized through administrative apparatus and imposed by educational systems. The maps and atlases of the 19th and 20th centuries openly displayed nationalistic, imperialistic, intentionally educational, and clearly emphasized territorial nature. This was the starting point for my research, political insights and visual thoughts related to the projects Blank Maps, Bosnia and Herzegovina – Tailoring and Sewing and A Change Is Gonna Come that would be presented and discussed during this lectures. 


Lana Čmajčanin was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1983. She holds an MFA in Sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Sarajevo. Her work encompasses installations, video works, performances and sound installations. She is one of the founders and members of the Association for Culture and Art CRVENA. Čmajčanin’s socially engaged artistic practice is often situated and has a strong reference to a specific place, the political framework, the war and post-war situation in B&H and more widely also distinctly includes the role of women and the female body.

She is not afraid to be engaged with even the most traumatic issues of the space she comes from. Her work presents an un-bribable political agenda and she succeeds in translating and transmitting local realities and experiences in a universal code that is comprehensible to an international audience. Lana Čmajčanin has shown her works in many international exhibitions and has participated in several Artists-in-Residence Programmes. She has won several awards and scholarships including the Special Award of the 54th October Salon in 2013. She has also been nominated for the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. 


Viime keväänä käynnistynyt Prognostics-luentosarja jatkuu maalis-huhtikuussa neljänä keskiviikkona. Luennoilla kartoitetaan uusia taiteen alueita, jotka haastavat vakiintuneita taiteen muotoja, esittämisen tapoja ja ravisuttavat yhteiskunnallisia normeja ja poliittista ajattelua. Keväällä luennoitsijoiksi on kutsuttu taiteilijoita, jotka käsittelevät teoksissaan ihmiskunnan itse aiheuttamia poikkeustiloja.

Muut kevään luennot:

2.3. Ulrika Jansson
6.4. Lukas Marxt
13.4. Zack Denfeld

Exhibition Laboratory, Merimiehenkatu 36. Vapaa pääsy. 

The Prognostics lecture series is supported by Saastamoinen Foundation.