From Markus Nylaander on Vimeo.

 

SLO

 


 

MULTIMEDIA INSTALLATION

CLEANSING THE KURENT

 

The project entitled CLEANSING THE KURENT was created because of the human being – a being I once idealistically believed in, felt its beauty; it has, however, managed to disappoint me time and time again through the course of my life.

 

Kurent is one of the local Slavic deities, dating back to the pre-Christian period, a time when people still felt a strong connection with nature, with day and night, with the sun and the moon. A time, when it mattered whether anything would grow, so that we would have food on our tables, and when our survival was a matter of Nature’s mercy. Nature’s whims and our uncertainty were the reason for the rise of various beliefs and actions aimed at a better, more redemptive life.

Kurent is said to have an important mission. With his demonic face and divine character, his task is to drive away winter, misery and hunger, and bring in spring, abundance, fertility of the soil. He has received a great deal of attention in our area. The Church has always sought to defeat his importance and misplace him into the frivolous time of the carnival, when people have fun and do silly things.

Young men have always liked to dress up as kurents, step into costumes they had inherited from their ancestors, and go on a quest to find the spring, Vesna, to find their love, to bless the fields and announce a good harvest. But human nature has managed to disappoint many times on these journeys. The divine mission often changed into human ruthlessness. The change was followed by brawls due to arrogance and possessiveness, fights over girls, drunkenness, and even rapes, as everything was possible underneath the mask.

The annual search for spring is a ritual that holds an important meaning. It is the search for love, an appeal for nature’s generosity, a call for the sun and rain to replace the snow, cold and winter slumber.

The Kurent’s calling was not only devalued by the Catholic Church, but also by commercialisation and the modern lifestyle, which prevents us from keeping in touch with nature, with the earth, as we no longer have to produce our own food – instead we immerse ourselves into the abundance of shopping centres, where there is no difference between spring, summer, autumn and winter. Everything is available and the yearning for authenticity and for being in touch with ourselves and with nature is fading away. Meanwhile, the Kurent’s hair is growing. Growing, so that he would become ever more beautiful, majestic, lustful, important, manly in the eyes of many – and one cannot help but wonder whether the Kurent even realizes that in order to become whole and complete, he must find Vesna, the goddess of spring, he must find true love.

 

I have decided to try and awaken this fundamental meaning of the Kurent and create a ritual cleansing of the Kurent with a creative team. We will cut his hair, trim his fur, take away his power, all in an attempt to help him look within himself and rediscover his true value and his true calling. He may be able to feel his love for Vesna – the spring that awakens inside him year after year – once again. Their bond will undoubtedly bring a good harvest, happiness and satisfaction to our land … perhaps even a moral, ethical transformation, a better man and a better society.

 

For six months, the cellar of Dom KULTure will be transformed into an altar for cleansing the Kurent. His hair – wool – woollen yarn will fill the room and draw us in like a womb. We will step into the white room with bare feet, with whiteness all around us – on the floor in the form of cut hair and yarn, as well as on the ceiling and all the walls. The softened round shape of the room will lead us to the altar, where we will witness the Kurent’s hair being cut – in the form of a digital film projection onto yarn. The song that Vesna will sing for him will echo around the room …

 

Author of the project – Stanka Vauda Benčevič

Collaborators in the creation of the idea of cleansing the Kurent – Dušan Fišer, Markus Nylaander

Digital filmMarkus Nylaander

LyricsZdenko Kodrič

MusicBoštjan Gombač, Žiga Golob

Vesna (voice) – Janja Majzelj

Double bass (Winter) – Žiga Golob

Flute (Spring) – Boštjan Gombač

Kurent (digital film) – Ivan Mijačevič

Vesna, the hand that cuts (digital film) – Anja Vičar

 

Sponsors: GEOPLIN d.o.o., ALBIN PROMOTION d.o.o., A ATALANTA film + video production & services

 

Entire creative team, Igor Benčevič, Mateja Lapuh, Milan Vinkler, Damjana Mlinarič, Franjo Rozman, Robert Polajžar, Peter Zmazek, Ma'ayan Danoch, Sabina Rojko, Radica & Krešo Benčevič, Stanko & Rozika Vauda … Thank you!

 

 

 

 

A bird falls on your bell: the planet trembles.

Soil falls on your fur: dewdrops come to eat at your feet.

Shadow falls on your tongue: the eye flickers in a web of dreams.

Snow falls on your horn: the universe acts like a hole.  

Feathers fall on your mouth: an earthquake stops time.

A handkerchief falls on your boots: a golden signal of the girls.

Rain falls on your thoughts: a child is born into the light,

And is all together bird, soil, shadow, snow and feathers, handkerchief, rain and – divine honey. 

Zdenko Kodrič

House of CULTure-muziKafe, Vrazov trg 1, Ptuj, Slovenia; tel. 00386 2 78 78 860; e-mail: grom@amis.net; www.muzikafe.si