Manifesta purposely strives to keep its distance from what are often seen as the dominant centres of artistic production, instead seeking fresh and fertile terrain for the mapping of a new cultural topography.

Lala Raščić, BA

Which words, which grammars do people use to testify to brutality, to articulate the unspeakable, to formulate their quest for justice? Is there a specific vocabulary of violence or a language of healing common to societies of transition? And how might one go about discerning it?

Lala Rašcic, known for her explorations of storytelling and oral history practices, probes these questions in her audio monodrama Conflict Syntax. Dot, Dot Dot. The video on show was produced as a tele-prompter for a live performance of the work.

The artist first performed a quantitative linguistic analysis on some two hundred interviews taken from the Testimony – Truth or Politics archive. She began by disentangling nouns and verbs, prepositions and adjectives from the emotionally charged context of transitional justice in ex-Yugoslavia.

Then she reassembled them to produce a new, eerily detached testimony: a single voice speaking with many tongues, no closer to and no further away from the truth.