ŠTO TE NEMA (Why Are You Not Here?) – July 11th, Daley Plaza Chicago 2017 Aida Šehović
An installation / performance created to commemorate the murders of over 8,902 men, women and children in the Bosnian/Herzgovina War of 1992-1995. How to talk about genocide? How do we heal form genocide? How do we fight against genocide?
Sehovicʼs response is a masterpiece of engineering. Imagine a formal presentation of thousands of coffee cups, Turkish “filezani”, small porcelain cups filled with coffee. Chicago is the 13th city to bear witness. No one drinks the coffee as this is a gesture of respect for those who are no longer here. Porcelain Turkish coffee cups are distributed to surrounding observers; friends, strangers, families, lovers to fill with Turkish coffee and then place in a circle which grows in diameter as the cups are filled. Participants Kneel to pour coffee. An organizer for the event told this reviewer at 7 p.m. 7,300 cups were filled. “We expected to stay until 1 a.m. to clean everything, but our 40 +volunteers and the public were so energetic and organized, we finished at 9 p.m. Everyone who wanted to, could pour a cup of coffee for the nomadic circle of remembrance. The combination of open participation honoring the deceased, expanding the circle to include all is a visual testament to bear witness for a collective catharsis while clouds reflected in the heavens moved seamlessly through a universe that contains both beauty and horror.