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As with all the places that connect me with special people and H.R. Giger, I think I left a piece of my heart in Ljubljana. Reason to visit: Kurja Polt Genre Film Festival, where I had the utmost pleasure and honour to give a lecture on his art through a cognitive-linguistic lens, thus contributing to the homage to H.R. Giger on the second day of the festival, April 14.

plakat_FINAL_KP20161-726x1024How did it all came to be? Marco Witzig, curator and Giger collector (and my dear friend who has helped me tremendously with the corpus for my PhD thesis) put me in touch with the festival organizers in order to do something regarding their homage to H.R. Giger (which included the screening of the „Dark Star“ documentary, short films and music videos). In a matter of hours and some email exchange later – it was all set: I was to present a lecture under the title „H.R. Giger Alienscapes: The Secret Language of Biomechanics“, which is derived from my research so far. Suffice to say – I couldn’t sleep that night from the excitement!
Kurja Polt festival (appropriately named „Goosebumps“ in Slovenian) is run by some of the most talented and interesting people I ever had the opportunity to meet, spearheaded by the incredible Maša Peče (pictured above with me). From the first email, to our encounter on the day of the homage, to our parting (for now), there was a great amount of energy between us – two horror film enthusiasts and art lovers – that we basically hit it off from the get-go, and I cannot wait to see this fantastic lady again.

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Also, the rest of the Kurja Polt gang: Neža, Nika, Ondra, Kaja, Varja, Matevž from Kraken Short Film Festival, and all the others I’ve met (their professionalism and hospitality knows no boundaries), including other festival guests (Francois, Dolly and Bernd), made this an unforgettable experience in the alluring darkness of Kinoteka and Kinodvor cinemas.

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Yes, we went on a boat ride, too! Also, we were treated with great lunches, a ride with the funicular to the Ljubljana castle, along with many interesting activities in and around the venues. For example, after the screening of the Indian blockbuster „Baahubali: The Beginning“, the foyer of Kinodvor was filled with Indian-style snacks (including mushrooms with curry, mmm!); after the H.R. Giger day, Kinoteka was decorated with crushed ice fog (à la Debbie Harry’sNow I Know You Know“) and sangria; before the midnight screening of „I Spit On Your Grave“, encouragement in the form of whiskey shots was served at the entrance.
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As for my lecture, I was incredibly happy and honoured to have so many people in the audience, considering that it was mostly from an academic point of view and that it wasn’t so interactive. After the lecture, I had many visitors coming to me and complimenting me for the insight into the visual metaphors and metonymies in Giger’s art (including a colleague who is doing a Master’s thesis in linguistics at the moment), and I even had a pleasant conversation with students (I believe from performing arts, who were doing a workshop in film criticism) and their professor, on the allure of Giger’s creations.
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My dear friend Claudia was also there with me, making this a complete travel! We had such fun with this trailer (and kept quoting things like „Why haven’t you checked the children?“, or „Oh, really? Did she like it?“) throughout the festival and later as well:

My love for „Suspiria“ was ignited again after finally seeing the film in all its glory on the silver screen (and the soundtrack is a masterpiece which I must own on vinyl too), and we discovered some gems like „La Morte Vivante“ and the original „When A Stranger Calls“.
Kurja Polt Genre Film Festival is a horror film fan’s dream come true, and next year this fantastic event will probably see me as a visitor. Ljubljana is a lovely city, filled with vegan restaurants and friendly people, that I simply cannot wait for April 2017 to come and to see what Maša & Co. have in store for the next edition.
Thank you, Kurja Polt!
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www.kurjapolt.org
Photos courtesy of Matjaž Rušt/Kurja Polt

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29
Jan

New Travelogue Now Online! Winter Switzerland!

   Posted by: CursedPoet   in Giger, Studying, Travels, Writing

Dear readers,
finally a new travelogue! From Switzerland no less! Read & enjoy the photos right here (note that the Bosnian translation will follow very soon).
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/Impressions taken from the promotion of “Memento Amores”/
A Night Of Poetry“, which was the official title of the promotion, was a delightful way to name the special premiere of my second poetry collection “Memento Amores“, and everyone who attended, hopefully, has satisfied their poetic appetites. The promotion happened on October 30th, 2014 (Devil’s Night, of course) at 19h, in the cozy atmosphere of American Corner in Bihać, Bosnia and Herzegovina (in the building of the Cantonal and University Library). Attendees: my students, colleagues, poetry lovers from Bihać, friends and family.
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For this book I wanted a real journey to the past – hence the record player you see on some of the photos below – we opened the night with a nod to the 80’s (Sisters of Mercy and The Cult), and the promotion itself was accompanied by a plethora of melancholic visuals on screen and the wonderfully eerie melodies of the “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” OST, which is my favourite film soundtrack ever. The closing ceremony was King’s (a lil’ bit of “Jailhouse Rock” and “Love Me Tender” for all the Elvis Presley fans out there)!
And now – to the night itself. I had the great honour and pleasure to have all my three reviewers there for the premiere – my dearest buddy Nizama Muhamedagić and Aurelija Karajić both talked about their unique visions of the book, while Fikreta Muslić gave her passionate impressions in Bosnian. My dear students Arnela Raković, Senita Jusić and Alija Mujanović read the selected poems with their wonderful voices (“Primavera“, “Silence Of A Lover“, “Remembrance Of A Kiss“…), and I cannot describe how proud I felt listening to them and seeing how much this night meant to them too. 058The night of poetry was further enriched by the siren’s voice of Nermina Imerovska, who lead us all through the journey of past loves and whose words we will remember for years to come… Lastly, it was my turn to say a few words to my audience, and I hope that I haven’t forgotten anybody in my thank-yous – if I have, please forgive me. The surreal feeling of the entire night was at the same time enchanting and utterly out of this world, and I only wish that my verses somehow arrived at the gates of Heaven where H.R. Giger now resides, like small gifts carried by the autumn wind.
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Speaking of gifts – I got pleasantly surprised by my family, friends and colleagues with a bunch of bouquets (in all my colours) and presents! I don’t think I could ever thank them all for everything they’ve given me, but here’s a shot: I wish to thank my mom Hajrija and my uncle Hajrudin (also a prolific author) for supporting me in all my academic and artistic endeavours, to Mr. Leslie Barany, Giger’s agent, Mr. Tom Gabriel Fischer and Mr. Matthias Belz for the incredible gift of “Shaft No. 7” on the cover, to Ljiljana Krupić, professor of Latin, for the green light on the title, to my dad Muhamed and my sister Sarah for sharing this evening with me, to my dear friends Nizama, Nermina (and the Book Promotion Society “Liber“, which she currently runs), Aurelija, Fikreta, Rialda, Veldina (who is also a poetess, as well as Fikreta), my dear colleagues Jasmina Tevšić, Alma Žerić, Alma Huskić, Dragana Šenda, Mersina Šehić, to the dean of the Pedagogical Faculty Nijaz Skender, to my dear Mirela Midžić for giving us the perfect venue and full support, to the Head of the Cantonal and University Library Ratko Knežević, to RTVUSK, ac 2and last but not least, to my nightingales Arnela, Alija and Senita, as well as all my students (past and present) and everyone there who came to listen to my poetry and hopefully, were uplifted by the aesthetic aspirations written down for my muse far, far away…
As mentioned, below you can see the full gallery, as well as links to an article & TV piece about the night (for the video, scroll down to “DNEVNIK 31.10.2014.” – the piece starts at 29′). There will also be an extended article tonight at 21h in the show “Kultura” on the same channel – tune in if you have it!
More info on the official release date of the book (both the regular and deluxe edition) + Amazon links soon!

PROMOCIJE – SVESTRANA ILHANA ŠKRGIĆ

http://www.rtvusk.ba/vteka/emisije

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30
Oct

“Memento Amores” Book Promotion

   Posted by: CursedPoet   in Giger, Uncategorized, Writing

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15
Sep

Love and Lights

   Posted by: CursedPoet   in Music, Uncategorized, Writing

U2labcoat1Life moves in mysterious ways. What started out as an acquaintance over mutual love for one of the biggest bands in the world quickly grew into collaboration on a very cool project, and one email after another, I can now say that I’m positively amazed by the light that is my friend James!
The band in question is U2. Those who know me personally also know that this is one of the first bands I started listening to (back in 1989), and that my first concert ever was the one U2 held on their PopMart tour in Sarajevo in 1997. Now on to something you might not have known before: after my musings on U2.com, James responded to my writing and upon him introducing me to his awesome project of a “lab coat around the world”, I was interested to know more and participate. Yes, it was actually a real lab coat signed and decorated by U2 fans across the globe (along with many gifts, DVDs and many other thingies)! Plenty of white surface to cover, but, by the time it reached me, it was already pleasantly colourful! U2labcoat2So, I do the “obligatory” photo session in the lab coat after putting my own touch on it, end up on a blog site of like-minded people and James’ friends – and then we started talking more and more, often about personal things as well. James then confessed to being a poetry lover like me, and even sent me a lovely book of poems from 1927! U2poems1Good thing the book reached me, because it said on the package that the post actually missent it to TaiPei (I still don’t know how TaiPei might sound like B&H, but nevermind). But that’s not all – about two weeks ago, he finally shared his own poetry with me – and the inspiration was none other than moi! I’m still amazed and still blushing from this incredible gift. In turn, I wanted to share his wonderful verses with you, dear readers, wishing for you to remember that there are extraordinary people out there, and friendships that are worth gold. Thank you, James, for this poem and your friendship! We’ll meet on a U2 concert soon for sure!

Love and Lights
(for Ilhana)

Daylight hours host the mundane and cliché
Quiet humdrum beat of the quest for pay
Lines of masses arranged in single file
Driving with glazed looks , mile after mind-numbing mile
Conforming
Resigning to boring
Comfortable and unbothered they seek to remain
Choosing feeling nothing over feeling any pain
Dreams of youth thus traded
For lukewarm nothing and mediocrity
Capalist façade of consumerism, slowly molding the insane

I met a girl in the darkness, born of star-filled night
Poetry and art flowing through her veins
Emitting the majesty of a raven in flight
Believes not in umbrellas, wants to feel the sensational rain
Wishing upon others “love and lights”
Light only needed where light doesn’t exist
She’s seen the most horrible evils man has to offer
She kept love alive on the precipice of war torn abyss
“dreaming out loud“ becomes her
She sculpts words into masterful form
Not interested in what others see as “normal “
She has darkness, peace, goodwill and love and lights to keep her warm
She has a name others might find ”hard to spell“
But its an honor to be able to see
A wordsmith of inspirational magnitude
Yet as sweet as a person can be
When shall I meet her?
I often wonder up in my mind
This lovely, starlit, intense child of the darkest night
Perhaps one day, perhaps never
The future might not get it right
But she will always be a brilliantly luminous inspiration
This dark girl full of love and full of light

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6
Sep

14 ON FIRE: The Rolling Stones in Vienna

   Posted by: CursedPoet   in Music, Travels

The concert highlight of the year belongs to the Rolling Stones in Vienna! Around 60,000 people were positively on fire during the two hour show at Ernst Happel Stadium in the Austrian capital. I mean, just watch the intro below!

This is the greatest rock band on the planet, hands down. From the iconic hits such as “Sympathy for the Devil“, “Gimme Shelter“, “You Got Me Rocking” to the huge, flashy stage, and of course, the four Englishmen who took the world by storm ever since they first rocked together, and are taking it again on every tour – you’ve got it all. A feast for the eyes, ears (legs too – I danced them right off!) and spirit, and one I definitely didn’t want to miss. Thanks to the concert travel agency SviKoncerti.eu, I had the time of my life with fellow Stones fans, plus I got to meet some cool new people while en route & there – cheers, Hrvoje, Biserka, Albin & Edvin! ;)
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Also, check out the whole gang here (courtesy to Tomica & svikoncerti.eu):
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What I especially liked (next to those sexy visuals on “Honky Tonk Woman“) were the outfits that Mick & Co. chose for the show – so stylish and cool! In love with Ron’s jacket (photos by Matthias Hombauer):
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Of course, I splurged a small fortune on the official merchandise, grabbed a lángos on the way back to the bus, and spent the time travelling back to Zagreb in thoughts coloured with pure rock’n’roll!
Now, even though I’m ecstatic to have seen them live again after so many years (Zagreb ’98, anyone?) and probably on their last tour, I actually wish they have a new album and tour soon, because this is a concert experience like no other! I can’t get no satisfaction! ;)

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8
Aug

14 ON FIRE: Burch & TETA Conferences

   Posted by: CursedPoet   in Studying, Travels

For those of you not familiar with the title – it was actually the Rolling Stones tour this year where I managed to see one show (more on that in the upcoming post), so I thought it’s a nice way to describe the whole summer. ’14 on fire, indeed!

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The unofficial start was all business. The long awaited conference at the Burch University in Sarajevo was an event I anticipated ever since I got the presentation acceptance letter back in February. This was an effective strategy to both research political metaphors in our surroundings, get much needed ECTS points for my studies, and test whether the idea will hold water in the long run (basically, will it be of interest to me to my PhD thesis on it) – and test it I sure did. This was my first solo presentation at a conference, but I had my faithful companion and dear friend Nizama with me, so I was simply „positively“ excited to present my work. Not only her, mind you, but also my professor from Osijek, Prof. Tanja Gradečak-Erdeljić, along with her colleagues, my PhD colleague Ružica, my colleagues from the faculty in Bihać… Their presence meant a lot, and I still can’t thank them enough! Just imagine the situation – the colleague who presented before me just ended his speech, which was taken as cue for the bunch of people to open the door of the hall and enter it – for me! So cool! The hall was full, and even though I didn’t have the planned time to present everything (due to all first-round presentations being late since prof. Langacker prolonged his keynote speech), I was pretty satisfied with how it all went. I prefer presenting on the first day, because I can relax after my speech and just hang out with my friends and colleagues, checking out interesting presentations or mingling at the buffet. In that aspect, it was like the lovely organizers at Burch read my mind.

Overall impression from Burch – it was like a rockstar show, only for linguists! Not only because they had some pretty big names of the academic world (aforementioned Prof. Langacker, then Professors Pinker, Mackey, Ellis and Schmidt), but also due to the fact that they had that special event vibe going on – and with 600 presenters and who knows how many visitors, it was a true academic beehive! As for Nizama and me, we loved buzzing around and we’re already planning our speeches for next year. Hopefully, we’ll finally get to see and meet Prof. George Lakoff, who was announced, but in the end couldn’t come or hold a video conference this year (he’s up on the 2015 poster though). We’re totally gonna fangirl over him and have him sign our copies of „Metaphors We Live By“, right, Nizama?

After we came back home, disaster struck our country (the May floods), so we were all, in one way or another, influenced by the whole catastrophe. For a while it was also touch-and-go for my third conference this year, organized by TETA – Tuzla English Teachers’ Association that currently dubs as the organization for the whole country, and does a pretty good job at it too. By then (second week of June), I was entirely spent by the exhausting work year behind me and ready to call it a day – or in this case, a year. Hence me being extremely tired at the conference and the days preceding it. I also had a solo speech there, and in the presence of several colleagues – English teachers there (Nizama too), and a couple of my students from Bihać who were helpers at the conference, I presented my research on the cognitive dimension of early acquisition of EFL, and was once more able to relax after that. I think my brain went officially on vacation the minute my speech ended. After that, it was mingling time again – and at the dinner TETA organized for us at an Irish pub in Tuzla, I actually won a pretty nifty tablet! How cool is that! The rest of the evening I spent in a very pleasant company of fellow English teachers from all across Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. The late evening was blank, as I basically fainted and slept for close to 12 hours. Tomorrow held another journey for me, but more on that and the four Englishmen in the biggest rock band in the world soon! Until then, enjoy my gallery from Burch, with TETA being added soon as well!

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My presentation (as you can see, I love to plug my fave horror movies in them – and “They Live” is a masterpiece!):
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With colleagues Hakan and Nizama in front of Burch:
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At the House of Sevdah in Sarajevo:
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With Ružica at the Pope John Paul II statue in Sarajevo:
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Where’s Waldo? :) (last photo courtesy of Burch University)
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28
Jun

H.R. Giger (February 5, 1940 – May 12, 2014)

   Posted by: CursedPoet   in Giger

More than a month has passed since H.R. Giger died in Zurich, and I am still grieving. There is no fancy or more beautiful way to reflect on his tragic passing… Actually, there is, but those words are not mine (his longtime friend and assistant Tom Gabriel Warrior of Triptykon: www.triptykon.net). The shock subsided, but the emptiness announced its stay until the end of time.
My eternal love and devotion to his art does not stem from Alien alone, but this breathtaking creature did introduce me to Giger at a young age. Then, as I finally walked into the museum in Gruyères two years ago, the storm of recognition raged joyously inside me. This! This has been the world of my existence! Not the bleak copy outside, ridden of everything seductively dark and magnificent. I was home…
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Incidentally, today was the tentative slate for the release of my second book “Memento Amores“, whose cover is graced by Giger’s Schacht VII, my favourite work of art. However, I decided to wait for a while. The realisation of this book being an homage to him played a crucial part in this decision. Ultimately, I will offer my verses to him and hope the winds will be my faithful servants, bringing them to the gates of his design.
However, this will not be my last bestowal. I will forever celebrate the genius of H.R. Giger, his remarkable talent and legacy, whether by visiting his museum and bars in Switzerland, art exhibitions around the world, acquiring books devoted to him, and more. A few days ago, as I was sitting in the bus bound for Zagreb, one thought appeared and hasn’t let go since then – what if I pay the ultimate homage by writing my PhD thesis on the visual symbolism in his art? I don’t think such a dissertation, especially from a linguistic point of view, has ever been done. The intrigue and challenge rest abound on this barely-seen semiotic path, and, by God, I will try to pave it. It’s like the call of Lovecraft to my August Derleth.
In the end, many artists will be born upon this world, and even more will try to portray their insides and outsides in various forms. Yet, since May 12 this year, the world itself has stepped into the final act of the play. Without H.R. Giger, we are all left with sundown and memories of a dimension our insectoid selves will never see again.
/photo by Willy Spiller – H.R.Giger at the entrance to the Giger Bar in Chur, Switzerland/

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28
May

The Farewell…

   Posted by: CursedPoet   in Giger

Dear Mr. Giger, I have tried to come there, but it is impossible… my last farewell will be in my spirit… Good night, dark prince.
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My sincere condolences to his wife Carmen, his agent and friend Les Barany, his assistant and friend Tom Gabriel Fischer, and all his family, relatives and friends.
/courtesy of www.hrgiger.com/

13
May

My Pain

   Posted by: CursedPoet   in Giger

http://www.triptykon.net/triptykon/News.html