The CIRCUS MEME project by the italian artist Fabiola Faidiga was presented on May 26th on the island of Veliki Brijun. It includes the monument to the elephant Sony, a performance, a photo exhibition and a video screening.
The idea of creating such an artistic event was born on Brijuni islands during the first encounter of the artist with the indian elephant Sony, who was donated by the indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to the President of ex-Yugoslavia, Tito.
The title CIRCUS MEME is ambiguous, implying a wordplay as we inevitably link the image of the elephant to the word “circus”, this connection being confirmed by an equilibristic performance. However, circus also means circle/cycle of life, a transformation that is specific to the nature itself. Within this circus, the “memi”, particles of memory, can be recognised and have the potential to evolve, spread and transform.
The artist uses various means to recount this complex story, requiring different ways of perception. The monument to Sony was realized in life size, sculpted in polystyrene and covered in maps of cities that define him through a journey that was at the same time real and imaginary: New Delhi (the capital of India where Sony was born), Belgrade (the capital of Yugoslavia, where Sony arrived as a gift), Brijuni (the islands where Sony spent most of his life), Zagreb (the capital of Croatia), Trieste (where the project CIRCUS MEME was created) and Berlin (which Sony visited metaphorically). The sculpture was installed in the close vicinity of the main Brijuni harbour.
The visuallisation is followed by a cycle of photographs, exhibited in the church of St. Rocco, comparing fragments of elephant skin with elements of nature and the documention finishes with the presentation of videos which focuse on Sony, ending with an interview with Sony’s keeper, Timotej Pejin.
The three videos were screened in the open air cinema, situated in a former quarry.
Thus Sony, being a symbol of memory, carries his utopian message: that different realities can co-exist, that overcoming the burden of passed times can lead to a better future.