Leja Jurišić and Petra Veber continue their research into the predicaments of Western politics and economy, which started through their critically acclaimed Ballet of Revolt. This time they put Slovenia in a role of a global, neo-colonial superpower.
Fears and depression are not the only starters of our existence here and now; there is also the ability to play in the midst of widespread repression and the countering of it by "positive schizophrenia" as philosopher Jacques Rancière would say. — Nenad Jelesijević, MMC RTV Slovenia, 9. December 2014
Leja Jurišić is both a comment and a position embodied in one person. Her latest work, I Fear Slovenia, in co-authorship with Petra Veber, talks about her relationship to her own country, about manifest or covert messages regarding us, Slovenians, (not) being good enough, capable enough, successful enough. — Jedrt Jež Furlan, Napovednik, 14. April 2015
I Feel Slovenia — Slovenia's official tourism slogan
In I Fear Slovenia, Leja Jurišić and Petra Veber continue their political critique of the "West and the rest", which started through Ballet of Revolt (Pekinpah 2012). This time they build it from a particularly fictitious local-global perspective. Namely, the performance envisages Slovenia, an Eastern-European country and a member of both EU and N.A.T.O. alliance, as an imperial superpower spreading its tentacles across the globe.
While the Ballet of Revolt, which was in large inspired by the Arab Spring, somewhat anticipated the nation-wide revolt against corruption which led to the fall of Slovenia's government, the I Fear Slovenia performance predicted, as it were, the re-militarisation of Slovenia in the wake of the European Refugee Crisis.
I Fear Slovenia employs a range of Slovenian national symbols, including the 'Three-Headed Mountain', as well as eighty military tanks in order to question and gauge both individual and collective responses to the ideology of nationalism, Eurocentrism, racism, fear, war and nihilism.
It turns the global role of a small country - both in terms of its political impact and economic and geographical size - on its head: Slovenia is now the dominant world leader, basing its power on a democracy-and-free-market-promoting empire fuelled by natural resources and sweatshops strewn across the global south.
In I Fear Slovenia, Leja Jurišić occupies a series of (mostly female) roles placed within the imagined Slovenian Empire. She depicts persons whose emotional adaptation to the realities brought about by the mighty sward of the Slovenian military, economic and ideological conquest of the world range from perfect to disastrous.
Through this role-playing, she imagines the resistance against the fear most of us share in current climate of barbed wire fenced Europe, proxy wars and global unrest. Her resistance is both lyrical and physical, both symbolic and real.
It is as if Milena Dravić's monologue on free love and orgasmic revolution from Dušan Makavejev's Mysteries of the Organism has turned into a choreography of tasks women are supposed to complete in the times of War on Terror.
Created by Leja Jurišić & Petra Veber
Performed by Leja Jurišić
Scenography, Light Design & Costumes by Petra Veber
Music by Drago Ivanuša
Producer: Žiga Predan
Produced by Pekinpah
Coproduced by Kino Šiška
Premiere: 5 December 2014, at Šiška Festival, Kino Šiška, Ljubljana, Slovenia