Dragana Žarevac

Resist: Disappearing Happiness, 2014

Two-channel video installation, colour, sound, 4’
Courtesy of the artist

 

Late last year a video clip for Pharell Williams’ jolly little tune Happy was uploaded on YouTube, followed almost instantly by hundreds of video remakes, while Pharrell himself released 24 one-hour versions for every hour of the day. Thus it became possible to live (to the sound of) “happy” at any given moment, in all corners of the world, from Abu Dhabi to Seoul or Priština. Recently a group of young people were arrested in Teheran for filming their version of the video, while some men and women from Gaza used Happy to steer attention to their living conditions, effectively turning the popular song into a means of resistance.

 
The video Resist: Disappearing Happiness deals with feelings of disappointment, frustration, rage, fear and insecurity: emotions which are hidden behind simple joyful melodies, playful hopping and clapping hands. Listening to the ”Happy” music, we see pictures of events that have been going on more or less simultaneously in similar places around the world that are falling apart and disappearing from international attention. The work is compiled entirely of video material taken from YouTube. This raises questions of ready-made video and found-footage, copyrights, originality, the use of the Internet for political purposes, censorship, modes of display, the availability or denial of access to certain video content, and the durability of published footage.

 
Dragana Žarevac (1959, Belgrade, Serbia) is a media artist. She gained an education in music and video art in Belgrade, Bombay, San Diego and Paris. In the late ‘70s and during the ‘80s, she staged performances on her own or together with other artists in galleries in former Yugoslavia and abroad. Her video works were exhibited in numerous video-festivals, TV stations (Arte, La5, SWR), and exhibitions throughout Europe and the USA, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; MuMOK, Vienna; Tate Modern, London; Centre George Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao and Art in General, New York. She received an award from the Centre for Art and Media Technology (ZKM), Karlsruhe, in1998, the Golden Sphinx of the Video Medeja festival Novi Sad in1999, the Nadežda Petrović Memorial, Čačak in 2005, and numerous other international prizes.

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