koštana banović
Sey - the economy of love
(video, 35 min, 2005)

Made during the artist in residence program Z’Arts 2004 in Ziguinchor and Village des Artes, Dakar, Senegal.

Very far from each other, as far as it can be: historically, geographically, philosophically, economically, culturally, racially...the ritual is the territory where we meet to communicate.

Sey - the economy of love 
Once again introduction to and participation in rituals is used as a means to get closer to the Other in herself. This time, though, there is also another person to whom she tries to get closer. Banović also seems trapped once again in a desire for purity and authenticity and the ideal place, and its existence is simultaneously suggested, as well as being undermined. In this case, purity and authenticity appear to be mostly related to the sincerity of intentions in a romantic relationship, while the ideal place she is searching for might best be indicated in by the term etnotopia. In anthropology, this term refers to Catherine Russell: “An ideal or limitless observation, the desire behind the fascination with the Other.”

Her camera follows her African lover as he performs his daily routines and rituals. We are witness to conversations about the cultural differences between them and - following naturally from this - the balance between give and take in their relationship. Conversations take place about being a woman with respect to Islam, polygamy, politics and sharia law. The differing expectations of a man and a woman who meet by accident become clear. They become trapped in a net of cultural discrepancies, as they are far removed from each other, as far as humanly possible: historically, geographically, philosophically, economically, culturally, racially ... rituals are the only place where they meet and try to communicate. It is also the place where love, of which they are not yet conscious, in all its impossibility, seems to blossom.

In the course of the film Banović adopts different positions simultaneously - the (Western) women in love, the filmmaker-anthropologist researching the exotic Other, and the artist fascinated by a man who in her eyes embodies a ritualised lifestyle. She refuses to reduce the identity of lover and portrays him as the man in love, the Muslim, the artist and the businessman. And yet this piece does raise further questions-about the power of owning the camera, for example. Sey - the economy of love is a work that illustrates the complex morality of dealing with the Other in a layered, even ambiguous way.

text by Hilde de Bruijn
Curator SMART Project Space Amsterdam

(excerpt 7 minute)