WORKS - Lana Čmajčanin - visual artist

Bedtime Stories

Six-channel sound installation │ 03'13" │ 07'34" │ 04'30" │ 05'19" │ 03'24" │ 04'54" │ loop │ 2011
[in collaboration with Adela Jušić]

During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, people had to spend a lot of time sleeping and living in basements sometimes for days and weeks at a time without leaving those spaces at all. Sarajevo was under the siege during 1425 days; the longest siege of one capital city in the history of modern warfare. Living in houses was almost impossible due to the constant grenade attacks.
The basements in the apartment buildings had small spaces, one for every apartment. These spaces were transformed into sleeping rooms.
The size of these spaces could be as little as one meter wide and two meters long because their natural function was storage. These storage spaces were usually full of old things or things that just don’t belong inside apartments. They were emptied as soon as the first grenades fell on Sarajevo. Because of the size of interior spaces only the bed could fit inside and nothing else. Most of these spaces had wooden bars and not real doors. Sometimes even three people slept inside.
Other people can not easily imagine this life inside a basement. People formed a special community with its own rules and a new system of survival. They shared everything, from food to clothes, from happiness and misery.
We want to pass some of these stories to the audience through works that will be realized in different media.
Through written and audio interviews, we are collecting stories that happened in the basements during the war. The stories are narrated by people we know, friends, family, and people we meet. They are without any previous instructions or directions, free to tell any story, we ask them to tell us the first story that comes to mind. That way, we are getting totally different texts, in terms of a structured way of narrating, literary, emotionally etc. They vary from short to long, sad to happy, personal to impersonal.
Individual approach to this very specific theme is used to show different perspectives and different positions in keeping and passing the memories of a situation of historical relevance.
But, from individual points, all can be relevant and therefore in this case kept as part of written and narrated word.


Sound recording: Lana Čmajčanin and Adela Jušić
Sound editing and music: Ognjen Šavija
Language: Bosnian-Herzegovinian, English
Voice over: Neda Tadić
Translation assistance: Mike Iacavone

Special thanks to our friends for the stories
Leila Čmajčanin, Emir Kapetanović, Aida Vežić, Šemsudin Maljević, Jasenka Paralija

and special thanks to
Haris Bilalović, Dejan Vladić, Sloven Anzulović