Katarina Zdjelar

Rise Again (2011)

Working with a variety of subjects, from the phonetic transcription of a Tears for Fears song to a speech therapist specialising in ‘foreign accent removal’, Katarina Zdjelar’s work over the past years has been concerned with how communities are shaped and fractured by language. She has produced a wide range of videos, sound pieces and book projects, all of which circle around the broader implications of not only what we say but how we say it. For Zdjelar, speech is an unreliable contract that can only ever hope to maintain the smooth functioning of society, authority and identity.

She is particularly concerned with the inhibition of regulated systems (knowledge, language, ideology) by non-authoritarian voices (amateurs, foreigners, children), who challenge the system in which they appear, in terms of ethics, value and currencies.

In Rise Again, Zdjelar focuses on a number of male refugees from Afghanistan. Situated in an asylum center in the former Yugoslavia, these men are waiting to find out what the future holds for them. Discovering and inhabiting the wood closer to the asylum center in which they live, they can step outside their prescribed roles as refugees, shedding one reality to embrace or invent a new one. By combining allegorical imagery with martial arts elements, the film develops a narrative structure in which these men undergo transformation. Moving between these registers, they adopt different roles and meanings, rather than embodying an in particular. One of the Afghan refugees bears a strong resemblance to Bruce Lee and this likeness – in appearance and kung-fu skills – makes him symbolic representative of the group, a leader and an anchor.

Frieze Film 2011 was curated by Sarah McCrory under the auspices of Frieze Projects.

Frieze Film is a programme of artist commissions screened to coincide with Frieze Art Fair, in 2011 it included five newly commissioned films.

In previous years collaborations between Frieze Film and Channel 4’s ‘3 Minute Wonder’ slot have averaged audiences in excess of one million viewers.