Two years after the end of the Second World War, Film Journal No. 1 was released in Sarajevo, and four years after the collapse of the Communist bloc this newsreel, which has only survived on nitrate film, was lost in the confusion of the fighting in Yugoslavia. In Journal No. 1 – An artist’s impression Hito Steyerl attempts to find out what was on this film document from Sarajevo’s Sutjeska studio. She listens to eyewitnesses, and according to her instructions artist Arman Kulasic made a number of drawings that resemble storyboards for some lost film. In the simultaneous projection of Journal No. 1 – An artist’s impression the unattainability of a historical zero hour of the national identity takes concrete form: What appears to be a moment of great change in this look back (the newsreel reported on a literacy campaign, Muslim women confidently removed their headscarves, Communist Yugoslavia under Tito celebrated modernization through education in its early films) remains limited by subjective memory. Instead the artist, who was in fact intended to serve merely as a “medium” for the off-screen voices, is himself given a voice: He was affected by ethnic cleansing during the fighting. Whenever there are no documentary images available, Steyerl employs images from fiction films produced at Sutjeska (the anti-Fascist Valter brani Sarajevo [Walter Saves Sarajevo] and Do You Remember Dolly Bell? by Emir Kusturica), without however intending to make a complete reconstruction: Multiethnic Yugoslavia remains fragmentary, both in general history and the history of film, a country between the images.
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