During his professional career, Dženat Dreković has worked on many projects related to documentary photography. For me, this project is one of the more significant ones, because while seemingly displaying the usual photographs with prison contents, it also manages to expand the concept of prison from the blackness/darkness, as a stereotype for this kind of photographs, to the whiteness and pale grayness and give it another dimension. That is, he “closes” the light undertones in the dark range and gives us the whole meaning and meaninglessness of punishment.
According to Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish”, the organized punishments in the society historically start by punishing the corporal body (by dismemberment, stoning and other cruel types of “revenge” towards the one who has violated the generally acceptable norms, which were by all means, conducted in a public space, in front of a numerous audience that was having fun) and slowly move to a punishment in a closed space, far from the eyes of the audience, because it is the “soul” that is being punished this time, with long prison sentences in closed – limited living spaces. The goal, therefore, is not only to prevent the perpetrator from doing other deeds against the socially acceptable norms, but also to punish him by placing him in the company of those “same like him”, in the “same, limited space” reserved for them only.
The white and light gray nuancing of Dreković’s photographs actually also shows a combination of those initial punishments with the contemporary ones, this time achieved with different, more sophisticated means – by using media and violation of the presumption of innocence, as well as long detentions. In this way, these nuances metaphorically show us the tendencies of mutual duels of the politicians in the countries of the transition zone of the post-communist systems, and the contemporary post(neo)-colonialism. They give some euphemistic interpretation to the real turmoil in the cruel fight for appropriation of capital, implying that at the same time everything is not “so black”.
The third moment is the most important for me. The prison in white and bright tones. The prison in which one feels helpless, but somehow comfortable. It is your land, the space that makes you proud, the one that you love. But it is also the space in which you are fenced and condemned to maybe an “eternal transition”. The space that you are being persuaded is setback and underdeveloped, and it is all your fault; the space that makes you feel guilty.
The white prison, the metaphor of self-blame that strives to self-spite and an self-punishment.