visual artist, filmmaker
A Portrait of crisis.
6 short videos on 3 screens.
HD 1080 x 1920
The aim of the thesis “Weeping and Moaning: A Portrait of a Crisis” is to look at a crisis situation and its dynamics in the life of an individual, a community and a society. There is more “weeping and moaning” in Estonian society today than joy and laughter, and I feel that the popular media only increases people’s fears and emphasises the crisis unnecessarily.
My work (video installation) is based on an attempt to solve a crisis situation that is created and emphasised by media with lamenting (itk). Itk or lamenting is a certain “crying-song” that is found in the Setu culture in Southern-Estonia and that is mainly connected to death, but also to significant changes in a person’s life, such as marriage or leaving for war. Lamenting is a therapy with its own rituals and to lament has been a natural behaviour in a crisis situation throughout history.
In my videos I use lamenting outside its traditional context and become a media created victim of the financial crisis who is living beyond one’s means. By conducting and staging 6 sketches I explored the different stages and outputs of the financial crisis, concentrating both on the social and individual aspects of the crisis. The lamenting also gradually became more public, moving from a person’s four walls to a common space shared by all members of society.
The conducted experiments and research on the essence of crisis led me to the conclusion that the current crisis is a result of people’s inferiority complex. People are blinded by all the possibilities to earn quick money and feel the pressure to own the same things as their neighbours, without thinking about potential later problems or losses. As an observer we might experience that the victim of the crisis lived in an illusion, yet for the particular victim, the crisis situation was real. Thus it is difficult to say whether a crisis is real or illusory.
As a result of my practical experiments, it is also impossible to determine whether lamenting as such actually helps to overcome a crisis, but through my experiments with public lamenting I found out how public lamenting or crying is looked upon in our society. The outcome was that crying in public seems to be something to be frowned upon, something that should not be done among other people, and something that is bad and shameful. Thus, we can conclude that individuals are alone in their problems.
On the other hand, I feel that the “weeping and moaning” that is surrounding us can be compared to the Setu lament, and that in its essence complaining is a therapy to help a person cope with a crisis situation. The moaning eventually becomes crying or lamenting, which in turn will help the person to understand the essence of the situation better and therefore might offer solutions.
A crisis is most of all a tragicomical situation in a society that is oriented at prosperity. The tragedy of the situation is in the loss the affected person is experiencing, which is accompanied by endless “weeping and moaning”. The comical aspect of the situation is the fact that the people who are suffering in the crisis, have in fact chosen this situation themselves and are in a way enjoying their suffering.