Hana Miletić

The Molem Collective

The Molem Collective gathers a collection of hip hop sneakers of the young Morocco-born Zakaria Haddou aka Zak from Molem. I asked Haddou to portray his collection of 24 pairs of sneakers, bought during the last eighteen months. The succession of different sneakers can be regarded as a short historiography of the hip hop subculture. The bold and objective aesthetics of his photography is very close to my own artistic practices. Haddou is holding up every shoe against a slightly different background which consists of different walls of his bedroom; every close-up is shot from the same side angle. The selection of rap songs, chosen by the young man himself, reveals even more about the remarkable collection and his owner. Here the rigor of the photographic series is played out against the personal tone of the project. Against the background of his favourite songs, Zak shares stories related to his collection of sneakers that introduce the audience to the hip hop culture. But despite the status symbols, a more personal story is told, related to the boy’s experience of ‘coming of age. The Molem Collective project was released as a limited edition LP record (Art Paper Editions, 2013). The yellow record sleeve and the blue vinyl label refer to the flag colours of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, better known as ‘Molem’ in slang, the multi-ethnic neighbourhood where this young man lives. The Molem Collective is part of a larger socio-artistic research project Molem (www.molem.be). This versatile project has an organic structure where meetings and experiences can lead to a further exploration of this contested Brussels area.

Coif Mode

Hana Miletić relates to the work of Stilinović in her book Coif Mode. She is driven by a similar interest, but not the same one; she captures street scenes and records them in a street photography way, sensible to the specifics of the social environment. While in the period of socialist urban boom a large number of rural inhabitants (that includes also the unskilled sign painters) came to the city, Hana Miletić shows an interest in the parts of Brussels inhabited by Muslim immigrants. By dislocating from their inherited cultural identity they partially accept, partially change the environment in which they live. While others will notice the way they dress, eating habits or their way of (co)existing in the urban circumstances (without flâneurs, because moving around is limited, connected to purpose, not to pleasure or uncertainty), Hana Miletić captures the way in which the hairdressing salons are decorated in these neighbourhoods, covered with photographs from commercials from the 1980s and the 1990s. They function as a kind of time-based and cultural screen, made out of photographs of old-fashioned western hairstyle models. Maybe the sensibility towards the passing of time and the perception within the public space are more stable connectors to Stilinović, while cultural and other identities which can be recognized in this work differ from him. Both, Hana’s book and Mladen’s book, are, among other things, also sequences of a flâneur, a concept of revolving the cities in which they live and work. The rhythm of movement, the direction of the view the continuity of the interest can be at least partially recognized within them, which is accentuated also by choosing the accordion format. Stilinović’s specific concern does not regard the media issue, which is, on the other hand, constantly in Hana Miletić’s focus. Although Hana in some previous series (Class of 2008, The Molem Collective), as well as in Coif Mode, chose the strategy of the creator-amateur, collecting and then citing the photographs of unknown authors, she examines the statuses of photography as an object, the position and the role of the subject, the media functionality and its role as a carrier of meaning. Coif Mode is a series which questions the relationship with the photographic portrait, with the image of the other in which she does not reflect, consciously avoiding being present in the shot. // Sandra Križić Roban (Excerpt from the text: “Is today really everything so dreadfully the same, or, on Hana Miletić’s fascination with Stilinović’s Hairdressers”)


In this series, I explore and show the Sint-Annabos, the forest close to the city of Antwerp in Belgium that is threatened by the construction of a highway bridge. I photographed the forest, isolating individual trees and capturing their shapes in the midst of the night, in order to capture the secret portrait of each one of them. The photographs were printed using the Fresson technique, a carbon printing technique that was used in the early days of photography. The process involves natural carbon extracted from burned organic material that is then deposited on the paper in order to render the picture. Thus, in a way, the photographs of the Sint-Annabos forest suggest a potential for the reincarnation of the trees threatened by destruction. They call for the preservation of such secret and dangerous places within the Europe’s carefully engineered, suburban landscape. In addition, the dramatic effect of the Fresson printing technique grants a deep and dark image quality, creating an almost mystical atmosphere inhabiting the photographs.Moreover, the photographs of the trees are not presented in an exclusively typological fashion. I wanted to reawaken the sense of mystery and uncanniness in the experience of the European forest at large. The photographs remind of the fact that once – long before modernity disenchanted the forest and turned it into a place of leisure and recreation – the forest was considered as an impenetrable place inhabited by wolves, witches and bandits.