OVR is a long term project by Boris Bakal and Shadow Casters inspired by the homonymous novel of 1938 by Miroslav Krleža , one of the greatest Croatian/Yugoslav writers and intellectuals of the 20th century, OVR is exploring the issue of heroism as civic courage; heroism as consequence of the existence of individual human and ethical values; audacity as a small deed with potentially huge outcome; heroism as an act of selflessness; heroism as a act of despair and/or madness.
Acts “on the verge of reason” may be human, ethical, social and/or political, vertical acts which take place in disjointed times and are perceived as disjointed precisely because of their context. They are performed by “ordinary people”, those who live among us and whose extraordinariness might not be perceived even after their act “on the verge of reason”, simply because it is not visible (or politically correct) enough for official history.
It also reflects on lack of courage, but also on fears, perplexities/dilemmas and calculations which prevent people to engage in the creation of social improvements, and speak about injustice or crime they suffer, tolerate or recognize. The project does not accuse or denounce but seeks new methods of approaching people who are terrified by vehement aggression of neoliberal capitalism and its adjacent co-lateral mentalities and methods which nurture its core. OVR displaces the view towards simple definitions of courage thus enabling a better understanding of different contexts in which one act becomes a deed of bravery or cowardice.
The project also investigates the relation of interlacing private and public spaces within "an act of courage" (regarding political activism, social engagement and artivism) in order to understand how we share or not share our "spaces". As result of two decades of development of new media, and almost undetectable control of individuals by corporations or state institutions, so-called private sphere and private space become battlefields for instigating or sabotaging the individual initiative for social and political improvements.
On the other hand OVR is also a research and artistic project on "What could be bravery today" and is involving organizations from Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo and Cyprus, i.e. countries who are facing a very delicate and difficult time of their history and existence (ideology of rupture). We think that an act of individual bravery (no matter how small it may be), courage and persistence is of great social value nowadays and is an experience we all should share.
The history of all countries of the Western Balkans (Cyprus alike) is permeated with myths accompanied by acts usually created and committed in the name of nation, religion and/or ideology. OVR is focusing on such acts that apparently have no visible grandeur and are not addressing the superstructures but, on the contrary, stem from individual decisions to go against the grain of the moment, time or circumstances, reacting according to one’s own deepest beliefs and out of the necessity to do something for the Other, be it an individual or a community.
Unlike the tragic destiny of the Krleža novel's hero, OVR is seeking for stories that have either a positive or rather, a more complex outcome. Hence OVR wants to challenge the cult of tragic heroism and juxtapose it to the idea and practice of human and civic courage, creating an archive of next-door “heroes”, who can easily be found among us.
Shadow Casters is a multi award-winning and critically acclaimed international artistic and production platform for interdisciplinary collaboration, creativity and reflection on inter-media art who successfully and seamlessly combine international collaboration, theatre/film-making, urban intermedia projects, activism, pedagogical work, video art and curation into the coherent single body of work. We were/are leading partner and partner on more the 50 small and large-scale projects on in Europa, Asia, Africa and N. America since 2002, generating more than 150 cooperation with professionals from more than 30 countries and generated more than 50 educational, theater and film projects and events. This projects stimulate the debate on nature/contradictions of the ongoing globalization process, dealing with social, political and cultural issues that reveal the acute problems/issues of a local communities: among other things, the politics of public space, the consequences of transition processes, the status and forms of intimacy as well as the systematic production of amnesia and discontinuity. One of the main concepts guiding our activity is constant questioning of individual identity, but also the integration of different individuals in a collective context.