The Absence of Neptun

The Absence of Neptun


THE ABSENCE OF NEPTUN was intended to become a site-specific* performance-based video installation, developed and presented within Mapping Komiža Narratives international summer school of But it turned out differently:

The work became a pure, stand-alone installation -- due to the absence (sic!) of fish: 10 kilo of sardines (that were to be hand-cleaned by the author during the opening, then fried and served to fellow creators and guests) were stolen from nearby the site shortly before the opening. Thus the local way of "semaphoring" the sardines' arrival to the fish market (originally with chalk on blackboard, here blood on fish-box; see gallery on the left) was appropriated :

  • first the board shows: "DOLAZI SRDELA" ("sardines arriving")
  • then "DOLAZI" gets crossed out, now saying "STIGLA SRDELA" ("sardines arrived")
  • here, "UKRANA" ("stolen") was added below.

The video track itself (9:23) is (as a part of the installation) a linear cross-dissolve edit of a stone-throwing ritual by the author, in front of the Neptun factory, with underwater mini-camera tied onto the thrown (heavy) stone. The flat stones on the notebook-based mirror&glass setup were to be offered -- as a point of departure for discussion within the performance -- to the audience for writing/painting to the question of "Co umisto Neptuna?" (What instead of Neptun?), whereas the small stones in between are characteristic semi-gem stones gathered at the Neptun beach. Even without the performance, the stones received some response (three paintbrushes were offered aside). The painting medium was to be fish blood -- but eventually, tomato ketchup was used.

Further explanations can be taken from the video interview (by Adam J. Whitehall) with the author.

The work was set up within the show of "2. Komiža" in Komiža, Vis, Croatia on 12.9.2013, at the Reading room (Čitaonica) within the Mapping Komiža Narratives. It concludes "The Neptun Trilogy" of pETER Purg started in 2011 with "Catharsis of Neptun" and continued in 2012 with "The Return of Neptun".


* "Neptun" was the biggest factory in Komiža, presently its dilapidated premises are owned by an international investment company. The fish-processing plant had united several smaller local companies, reaching back to a rich fishing history and know-how, it used to be the economic pride of Komiža...




Photo by: Tina Smrekar, Peter Purg
Video by: Adam J. Whitehall, Peter Purg