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On Lockdown - Dragana Jurišić

Born in the former Yugoslavia and now living and working in Dublin, Dragana Jurišić received her PhD from the European Centre for Photographic Research in 2013. She is a Visiting Fellow at the University of South Wales and Assistant Professor at Dublin City University.

Working primarily with image, text and video, she has shown her work extensively and won many awards, including the Golden Fleece Special Recognition Award, IMMA 1000 Residency Award and numerous Bursaries and Project Awards. Her work is in a number of important collections including the National Gallery of Ireland, Arts Council Collection and Irish State Art Collection. Her first book, YU: The Lost Country received accolades worldwide. Her new book Museum, collaboration with Paula Meehan, came out in July 2019.

Solstice commissioned Dragana to reflect on our national state and new internal lives through Covid 19


by Dragana Jurišić

With every new year that rolls around more and more people have started wishing each other HAPPY NEW FEAR - Dubravka Ugrešić


The only thing I cared to photograph over the last six weeks was the sky.

The title for the project was taken from something Humphrey Trevelyan said about artmaking. I wish I disagreed. 

23.04.2020. [THURSDAY] It’s St George’s Day today; not a good day for dragons. Sky: a smoke signal.

24.04.2020. [FRIDAY] Normal is cancelled. Cage rage has me going in circles, running the same route each day, at the same time of the day, preferably when all the other people have gone home for dinner. Can barely do a three-minute spurt in one go. Breathless. Hyperventilating. Sky: carefree.

25.04.2020. [SATURDAY] Memorial War Gardens. To my right, a group of men drinking beer and back slapping. They are standing in a circle around two prams. One man’s face is the colour of beetroot. To my left, a kid, about 8 years old, is tugging violently on the cherry blossom branches, creating a shower of petals which fall on a couple kissing below. Seconds later he comes right up to them and blows bubbles of spit into their faces. The young couple gets up and walks away. As he is walking towards me with a huge branch of cherry blossom he hacked off a tree, he asks: “Wanna take my photo, missus?’ Before I can answer, I hear an angry panicked female voice behind me. He looks at me threateningly and whispers: “Do not tell on me!” His mother scolds him: “Somebody could have taken you away!!!” Sky: stirring.

26.04.2020. [SUNDAY] Have not left the apartment today. Hollow. Nothing in me. Sometimes I am more scared about the idea of being born again than death. What is the shape of my absence? Sky: lead-like.

27.04.2020. [MONDAY] Resting in a foetal position on top of Knocmaree Dolmen, which is two millennia old, and situated next to a nursing home in which twenty-one people have died in the last few weeks from the virus. Sky: feathery.

28.04.2020. [TUESDAY] While in the park talking to a friend about a different kind of virus, mom calls to say they have found two dead and decomposing squirrels in my brother’s house. They got in and could not get out. “Died in each other’s arms,” she sighs, “like Romeo and Juliette.” On my way home I walk past a man who looks like he is boiling in his own skin. He coughs violently as he passes me by. He does not cover his mouth. Looks straight at me.  Sky: out of The Simpsons.

29.04.2020. [WEDNESDAY] Boredom is setting in. Finding it hard to focus. Perhaps I should try an exercise in gratitude. What am I grateful for today? I am grateful to my mind for the nightly cinematic experience – even if it specialises in horror. And I am thankful to the sky above Ireland for always having an event on. An epic theatre of clouds. Sky:  voluptuous.

30.04.2020. [THURSDAY] Aperol at 6pm. Lobster in tarragon butter with chips. End-of-days diet. More Aperol. And more. We can deal with ghosts when drunk. Sky: ovulating.

01.05.2020. [FRIDAY] A whole day written off due to a hangover. Somehow managed to do an online gym class at 10am and go for a run at 7pm. In between binge-watched Shtisel, an Israeli series about the lives of orthodox Jews in Jerusalem. I identify with the characters. Rarely venturing out of the parameters of their neighbourhood. Views constant. People (or lack of, in my case) constant. Sky: undecided.

02.05.2020. [SATURDAY] Productive. Focused. Worked all day. In the evening listened to a podcast about the reproductive life of an octopus. Tragic. They get to do it only once. A male octopus deposits a bag of semen in a female’s head-hole. She floats around for a while, presumably thinking on it. The decision to fertilise her eggs with his semen is akin to pressing a button which will instigate a slow-motion detonation of her life as a single independent female. After she lays a clutch of eggs, octopus sits on them for months, not eating, fending predators, gently stroking and cleaning them. Once the eggs hatch – the octopus dies. It’s a procreate-and-disintegrate kind of a life. Are we humans much different? Sky: whisper-like.

03.05.2020. [SUNDAY] A kind of a nothing day. The highlight: morning run through the park. I tried a breathing technique from YouTube. It appears to be working. I can now run six minutes in one go without collapsing. A family of deer snoozing under the canopy of trees, most of them sporting weird sea creature-like growths on top of their heads. Antler buds. Sky: benign.

04.05.2020. [MONDAY] Parks full of people drinking wine, chatting, disobeying the orders. Elderly Irish woman walking her cross-eyed golden retriever walks up to a group of Polish men picnicking in St Kevin’s Park with their matching French bulldogs and starts chatting, she’s not even a metre apart. I see another octogenarian, skin like a ghost, sharing a bench with a homeless man. Sky: pure blue.

05.05.2020. [TUESDAY] The streets have emptied since the bank holiday Monday. Cycled past The Royal Oak Pub. Tasted the imaginary pint of creamy Guinness in my mouth. Dreamt about being in a lock-in during afternoon nap. Music blasting. Glass full. Hugging people. Sky: moon is growing round.


[This in not The End]

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