deutsche version
grafisches Element

Maria Rosaria Ruggero, video portrait projected on transparent hand made screen , Hospitality © Bogomir Doringer

The psychological and physical state of military personnel changes drastically after returning from overseas missions (Gulf, Balkan, Iraq, Afghanistan etc.). The symptoms that they ‘host’ are recognizable to medical experts as various forms of cancer. However sudden increases in incidences and mutations are causing doubts as to the nature of their illness and its causes, thus creating uncertainty and distrust.

Victims sink into a state of limbo similar to that experienced by those living in the war zones the soldiers just left. In this state they wander alone in silence, expecting a solution to, or an explanation for their health problems, or death itself. In the media, the “horror” experienced is known as Balkan Syndrome or Gulf Syndrome and the cause of the health-related problems is linked to the use of weapons containing depleted uranium (DU), as well as to the presence of invisible nanoparticles in the atmosphere, which penetrate the victim’s body.

Bogomir Doringer has researched this phenomenon for five years, interviewing not only soldiers and their families but also scientists exploring the cause of deviations occurred. The resulting body of research represents the main material for the video installation, which creates a testimonial environment for the audience, with the ghost like presence of the interviewees. Resembling a blurred history of contemporary man, the reality of people’s testimonies stay floating somewhere in between us – the audience – and the invisible. Like a new model of a researcher, the artist is digging through the documents of today’s world, collecting experiences and feelings of others, in an attempt to illuminate those processes that happen outside of our view. Together with a ferrofluid [1] sculpture and a golden biopsy sample, this exhibition is building a memorial to the world; due to our own fears, we are unable to comprehend what is within us and beyond ourselves. Entitled ‘Hospitality’, the work plays with the concept of host and guest and introduces the terrifying forms that notions and concepts can take. In the exhibition space, the interviewed victims, together with a unique collection of biopsy samples, are ‘hosted’ by the ferrofluid sculpture that transforms its shape in front of the audience.

This project examines the relationship between fiction and reality, questioning the intention of “hospitality”[2] and the responsibility of those who offer it. We are uninformed “hosts” exposing our bodies and minds to an aggressive transformation.

[1] A ferrofluid is a liquid that becomes highly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field. It is used in medicine to detect cancer, but also serves as a means to camouflage military objects.
[2] The word hospitality is derived from the Latin word hospes, which is formed from hostis, which originally meant 'to have power'. The word host comes from the Old French word hoiste, which in turn is from the Latin word hostia meaning ‘sacrificial victim’. In biology, it is a term for an animal or plant on or in which a parasite or commensal organism lives.

supported by:
BKVB, Mondriaan Foundation, The Netherlands Film and TV Academy
Cinematography: Ben Geraerts
Screenplay: Bogomir Doringer, Irene ter Stege
Editing: Jelena Rosic
Sound: Bogomir Doringer, Slobodan Bajic
Production: Bogomir Doringer, Irene ter Stege
Software development: Mirko Lazovic

grafisches Element