'Jadnost' (Misery)
Video 21:20min. 2018

Jovan Rajsic (1937) lived a big portion of his life in Roosendaal, the Netherlands. He was an immigrant from Serbia and worked for several companies, mainly in Germany and later in the Netherlands. He is married to Radmila Rajsic and after they both retired they made the big move back to Serbia, leaving their family and Dutch lives behind.

Ever since moving back to Serbia, Jovan found himself unhappy. In the years they lived there, Jovan has known a lot of misfortune. He got diagnosed with cancer, had 3 TIA's and accompanied with a lot of smaller injuries and illnesses he lost an eye when he tried to fix the boiler. It exploded and a screw hit his eye. He has been hospitalized on multiple occasions and we said our goodbyes to him several times because it looked like he wasn't going to make it. But he did. Every time. 

With this being said you must know Jovan has always loved working with his hands. Back in the Netherlands, he had a big shed where he spends most of his free time working on all kinds of things. He built 3 'prikolice' (trailers) that he drove to Serbia and sold them there. There was nothing Jovan wouldn't build or 'fix'. 

What I remember most of Jovan when he was working in his shed or around the house is that he occasionally would light a cigarette, it would dangle in the corner of his mouth until it completely burned up. He didn't smoke, at all. Ever. He just lit one and stuck it in his mouth like some sort of ritual. Another thing that was bound to happen was Jovan getting angry. He was such a stubborn man and he would always try to do things his way. If that didn't work out like he wanted to he would start swearing. The swearing would then become crying. He didn't really cry but he would make crying sounds with this high pitched voice while still swearing and talking to himself. A lot of 'Fuck You God' and 'Fuck everything!' but in Serbian. 

 

So on one of my trips when I visited Jovan and Rada, we were sitting in the living room when Rada said the electricity socket was broke and that she was going to call an electrician because she needed that socket to iron the laundry. Jovan being in very poor health and just out the hospital said it was nonsense and that he would fix it himself. 

I started filming Jovan in his attempt to fix the electricity socket. He didn't know I was filming, because he was facing the camera with his blind eye.

You can see him struggling as time passes. This man was just released from the hospital and was having major health problems, including low lung function and fatigue. In his desperate attempt to act like nothing has changed since he retired, the cursing and crying is more than frustration not being able to fix the electricity socket. This can be seen as a metaphor for the struggle and desperation over his lost youth (health) and life he once had in the Netherlands.

 

Since moving back to Serbia he realizes he actually was really happy in the Netherlands and his retired life isn't what he pictured it to be and it left him a sad, depressed man. 

'Jadnost' (Misery)  Video 21:20min. 2018

Video fragment taken from the Video Installation 'ŽALOST - ŽIVOT - ŽELJA'.
In this video we see Jovan doing another useless chore to keep himself busy.. He is sharpening the drills of his drilling machine he never uses again because he is too ill.