Milica Mila Ristić
January 16th – February 1st
The multimedia exhibition titled Flight by Milica Mila Ristić is formulated as an intersection between museal and/or commercial aspects of memory with a topographical focus on a well-known American tourist destination, the string of barrier islands Outer Banks (OBX) in North Carolina and Southeastern Virginia. By employing strategies of collecting – the museological approach of preserving and utilizing objects that remember – with her spatial intervention the artist reveals a multi-facetted existence of a place through its many transformations throughout history.
Chronologically, the starting point of the exhibition concept takes the first population of the island, marked by the birth of Virginia Dare, the first European to be born in the New World (1587), an event that also marks the founding of the American nation. By drawing a line to the first flight of the Wright brothers in 1903, also famously made on the island, the artist arrives to the present moment where she finds historical remnants in the form of souvenirs displayed in museum shops such as postcards, useful items, as well as a number of activities offered to tourists. In thematised fragments of the exhibition dedicated to the actors of the past past, Virginia Dare and the Wright brothers, the artist juxtaposes contemporary modes of reading and utilizing heritage through contemporary tourist attractions, and through her video work Flight, which together form the backbone of the exhibition.
The section of the exhibition that illustrates the reenactment methods of the memory of the Wright brothers’ first successful flight functions as a basis of affirming the vast number of airline companies that offer flight classes, aerial tours of the island and advertising possibilities such as renting out aerial banners. The historical segment dedicated to the Wright brothers is juxtaposed with how contemporary airline companies conduct business today, seen through the case of a tragically killed pilot. Namely, according to some locals and a close friend of the pilot, in order for the aerial advertising banners to be upheld in the air for extended periods of time, an unsafe procedure of refilling the gas tanks mid flight is carried out by the pilots themselves, whilst the engines are on autopilot mode. The alternative to this would be to fly down, refill the tanks on the ground and fly up again, which would result in a financial loss to the company. Although the media portrayed the accident to be caused by the ad banner getting tangled up in the trees, there are doubts as to whether the unsafe procedure arising from the capitalist logic in fact caused his death in 2018. Exactly a year later, Milica Mila Ristić contacted the same airline company with the intention of renting the aerial banner and replacing an advertisement with a solid black banner in memory of the pilot’s death. This is where the video work Flight comes into being, a short-term commemorative intervention in public space that together with a fragment of the banner, folded into a triangular shape as done for American heroes, investigate and shed doubt on the value system behind the image of American society.
Text author: Marija Stanković
Exhibition curated by: Marija Stanković
Camera: Bojan Ivović, Ivan Đurović
Editing: Aleksa Borković
Huge thank you: Zac Chantry, Carrey Jeferson, Bek Djalgashov, Nikša Suzić, Kristina Sedlarević