Why so serious?
In his new series of photographs "Why So Serious?", Jaka Babnik captures the apparent paradoxes in the external appearance of the cultural landscape he lives and works in. Instead of giving a strong statement, the images reflect some of the main issues related to the development of living spaces. Why do these seemingly illogical structures appear and attract attention? Why take the organisation of one's own life and space so seriously? Why does this kind of absurd situation generate outrage and invite ridicule?
The focal point of Babnik's long-term visual study are (permanent or temporary) ornate structures, which clearly serve no purpose and in relation to which it is often unclear what their original or intended function was. Thus, the author consistently continues the line of photographic expression dedicated to researching the phenomena of man's living environment. He is focused primarily on people's creativity that follows no dominant aesthetic codes or any spatial development trends, while it inevitably reflects a specific local iconography and cultural codes. Thereby, he raises questions about the nature of public and private spaces, about who defines the standards of their appearance, and about the background of these apparent paradoxes – are they really merely a result of bad planning or do they also carry different symbolic meanings? In times of accelerated gentrification of the outside environment, these phenomena are particularly topical, since they deal with the original creative approaches, while simultaneously testifying to the enormous production of ornate structures in the Anthropocene period.
- Miha Colner
Filmed and Edited by Tomaž Šantl