FU JA RA

2011

video, 15’50’’

The work explores the figure of the Slovakian national hero “Janosik”, forming a fragment in the discourse on the connection between monuments and the tourism industry.
“Janosik” lived in the 18th century and became a symbol of the national emancipation of Slovakia from Hungarian occupation in the 19th century. The figure appears in this form, for example, in Jan Botto’s “The Death of Janosik” It is told that the figure stole from the rich (meaning in this case the Hungarian aristocracy) and passed it on the poor (meaning the oppressed Slovakians). The story of Janosik was taken up again during the communist system and made into a film several times, to convey class struggle as historically part of folk culture as well. In fact, the different claims to Janosik as a Slovakian folk hero are ambivalent- there is also a version, for instance, where Janosik is a Polish robber. Video work centers around an interview with a mime, who plays the role of Janosik in the city center of Bratislava - simultaneously as a tourist attraction and as
a permanent feature of international city tours - while playing on an old Slovakian instrument, the “fujara”.The conversation revolves around the possibilities of interpretation, to reconstruct history and to draw conclusion
for the current social situation at the same time. Author pursues the role that the tourism, among others, plays in this by joining different groups of tourists and documenting how the figure of “Janosik” becomes part of a constantly changing anecdotal narrative.
(Søren Grammel, 2011)