The Lost Country
: Seeing Yugoslavia through the eyes of the displaced

  • Dragana Jurišić

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Yugoslavia fell apart in 1991. With the disappearance of the country, at least one million five hundred thousand Yugoslavs vanished, like the citizens of Atlantis, into the realm of imaginary places and people. Today, in the countries that came into being after Yugoslavia’s disintegration, there is a total denial of the Yugoslav identity. My practice led research looks at the effects of exile and displacement on memory and identity.

    In order to investigate such complex subjects, I needed a definite
    roadmap. Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia (1941) by Rebecca West, a vast inventory of the lost country, provided me with the itinerary to almost the hour. Initially intended as "a snap book" it spiralled into half a million words, a portrait, not just of Yugoslavia, but also of Europe on the brink of the Second World War, and widely regarded as one of the literary masterpieces of the 20th century.

    YU: The Lost Country was originally conceived as a recreation of a
    homeland that was lost, a journey in which I would somehow draw a magical circle (I was following Roland Barthes’s assertion that
    photography is more akin to magic than to art) around the country that was once mine and resurrect it. Instead, it was a journey of rejection, of displacement and exile that was stronger back ‘home’ than in the foreign place where I chose to live. Photography, contains elements such as fleetingness, which allow it to capture that sense of rootlessness and dislocation with relative ease. Both exile and photography intensify our
    perception of the world. In both the memory is in its underlying core. Both are characterised by melancholy.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMark Durden (Supervisor) & Ian Walker (Supervisor)

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