Literature as a European mother tongue: In our series “One is a CROWD”, we introduce you to authors from all over Europe who will be involved in the CROWD omnibus reading tour, taking place from May to July 2016, featuring 100 authors who will be travelling through 15 European countries. We asked them five questions about text production, reception and mediation. In case you were wondering what a literary activist in Rijeka looks like, meet Kristina Posilović!
Who are you as a poet/writer/author/artist?
I’m just an ordinary woman interested in taking a critical view on a variety of socio-political issues. I studied and graduated in Literature and Language (2006), and then enrolled in doctoral studies in comparative literature, culture, performing arts and film (2006 / 2007) somehow, along with the literary work the first publications of my books, I started to intensively ponder on educational policies, post-transition and the position of young people in the labour market, but also the human rights in Croatia, especially after the war (1991 -1995) and the accession of Croatia to the EU (2013). These two spheres, scientific and/or professional and artistic, have always been intertwined in my life; the knowledge from one filled the holes in the other, and vice versa. From 2010 to 2013, I taught comparative literature and women’s writing at the University of Rijeka, after which I dedicated myself to extra-institutional teaching and systematic work to promote women’s human rights, for which I was awarded in 2013. It was as if my activist or, if you like, my political and social thought gave contribution to the artistic one which thereby became more alive; more direct, communicative and, ultimately, truer.
What kind of literary tradition, authors or concepts have you found inspirational for your work?
By opening the issues of everyday life, penetrating into and subverting the stereotypes, I actually want to talk about history in which various political currents, via very manipulative social strategies, affected our collective oblivion. So I appreciate artists, writers and philosophers who managed to wash out all the bad influences I had and still have today; the formative, educational, religious, political; such as Wislawa Szymborska, Gabriela Mistral, Paul Celan, Yukio Mishima, Slawomir Mrožek, Anna Maria Ortese, Felisberto Hernandez, Alfred Jarry, Thomas Bernhard, Banana Yoshimoto, Dubravka Ugrešić, Daša Drndić but also Pier Paolo Pasolini, Mircea Eliade and Giordano Bruno.
Please name several contemporary authors who you think are most significant – in any possible sense – and why?
After graduation, the knowledge that I would be left alone with my ignorance in the world of even bigger ignoramus saved me from spiritual ruin and made me learn and explore alone. I was searching for so inspiration beyond tradition. I found energy I needed to breathe in the work of artists that were feminists, anti-fascists and activists. The tangible legacy of these artists is an absolute intergenerational and cross-sector bridge between non-material past and present. They are Sanja Iveković, Vlasta Delimar and Marina Abramović from my region, but also Leila Pazooki and Barbad Golshiri, Ai WeiWei and Heinrich Helnwein with some other considerations of class struggle, censorship and freedom.
What do you think about the current state of the relationship between the author and the reader? Is there a mentionable shift in that relationship through New media as in terms of being alienated on the one hand or being enlivend on the other hand?
The chronic refusal to understand and the destruction of the core of human communication only for the sake of comfort that will cost us sense, is one of my driving forces. It is highly unlikely that symbolism will succeed in reaching the audience whose communication channels are so clogged that it cannot even hear or experience itself. The psychological narrative in the media is one way to act on, not to say manipulate, the emotions of the audience, but it would be much better to think more comprehensively and systematically, delivering a new narrative that could encompass today’s language experience- the one that the digital form ate and spat out in a shape that everyone experiences differently and because of which nobody understands each other.
There always have been interactions and disputes between the discourses of poetry and politics. Do you see possibilities of emancipatory strategies concerning contemporary interactions between poetic and political discourses and agendas? How can/should/do these literary strategies look like?
Not only that good art must be, in some sense political, but is, even when you might not want it to be. By birth itself, we do not belong to ourselves, if we ever had belonged. All our actions, conscious or unconscious, are the result of one’s political decisions which are, or us, very often disastrous. Thus, for example, nursing/feeding or crossing the road at an early age is a political act. I do not see a way in which art could and should be rid of the political other than becoming political itself, but then it’s a piece of crap, not a piece of art. So emancipatory strategies concerning contemporary interactions between poetic and political discourses and agendas should, somehow, find a place in between utopia and reality to demonstrate the systematic oppression mainstream politics does on every single ours decision. But how can we establish new political and literary agendas? We should try to be one step forward, build a plan for reconstruction not escape and develop more serious network of people who are willing to create recovery plan for both- literature and politics based on specific European cultural and historical context and artistic/social needs and to protect consumers of manipulation art and politics choose often.