Ursa Prek

Interdisciplinary Artist based in Eindhoven, NL

Bear Witness

A tower sculpture with a soundscape, 2022/23

Inspired by the aesthetic of observation towers in Slovenia, the structure represents several layers of presence. The towers are built to observe wildlife and as posts for hunters within forests around the country. As a child, they were also my favourite hiding places during our family hikes. They are simultaneously safe havens and spaces of power: watching without being seen. 

Blending the structures with their surroundings indicates the imposter-like nature of the towers; rooms in foreign space. The tower represents a unit, a body of personal history hiding in the landscape of the collective environment. This relationship of power and ignorance speaks of the past looming over me even if I was not actively part of it. To what extent am I  constructed by the collective past of my environment, such as the Yugoslavian identity? 

The tower is a modular structure, visually resembling the wooden construction toys for children. The soundscape played in the tower is composed of field recordings and samples of (Yugoslavian) LP albums I inherited from my father (published between 1970 – 1990).

Merging personal history with the (not experienced) collective history transforms the inside of the structure. Bear Witness is an inverted landscape, a saturated vast space wrapped with toy walls and the illusion of control.

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Bear Witness