1. STRAW
2. CARPET
3. SYMBOLS
4. GRIEF
5. DENIAL
6. BARGAINING
7. ANGER
8. DEPRESSION
9. ACCEPTANCE
10. THANK YOU

STRAW

On Wednesday the 19th of January 2019 the European Union reached a decision to eliminate all plastic straws from the world by the year 2024. With this decision the idea for The last straw project was born.

European Union moves closer to ban on single-use plastic straws, other products

The European Union (EU) moved closer to a ban on single-use plastics Wednesday.

In a statement, the European Commission said the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union reached a preliminary agreement to restrict single-use plastic items like straws, plates, cutlery and cotton swabs. The agreement has to be formally approved before being implemented over the course of two years, it added.

The European Parliament approved the policy in October.

Supporters of the policy highlight that it avoids “3.4 million tons of CO2 equivalent” and “environmental damages which would cost the equivalent of €22 billion by 2030” and will save “consumers a projected €6.5 billion.”

“When we have a situation where one year you can bring your fish home in a plastic bag, and the next year you are bringing that bag home in a fish, we have to work hard and work fast,” European Commission environment commissioner Karmenu Vella said.

“So I am happy that with the agreement of today between Parliament and Council, we have taken a big stride towards reducing the amount of single-use plastic items in our economy, our ocean and ultimately our bodies.”

The EU describes the project as “the most ambitious legal instrument at global level addressing marine litter.”

The commission estimates that almost 60 percent of the 25.8 million metric tons of plastic waste produced by member countries each year comes from packaging.

The EU’s decision is part of a larger push globally to eliminate plastic items, particularly straws.

Major chains and restaurants, including Starbucks, The Walt Disney Co. and McDon- ald’s, have announced in the last year that they will ban plastic straws at their busi- nesses.

Seattle became the first major city to ban plastic straws and utensils in July.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May announced a nationwide ban on the products effec- tive in 2024 to reduce waste.

With the disappearance of straws, some of our habits and rituals will die as well. They will remain only as relics reminding us of old extinct cultures. In these last few years straws became a symbol of all the polluting and malignant objects, technologies and habits that we are about to live behind in order to move on, to keep living on this planet. But even if we accept that they are the villains, an incarnation of evil, straws are con- nected to the culture and rituals that we are going to miss.

CARPET

In Serbian tradition, the place of my origin, carpets are given as a valuable present for beginnings, when someone is about to start a new phase of their lives. The most famous and most celebrated ones, are The Kilims from Pirot. For centuries they have been made by women that would interweave stories out of sym- bols preparing a farewell and good luck charms for the new phase of the receiver’s life. They make them while kneeling like in a praying position, making each one a unique story-line. This carpet is a nomadic space with symbols of Vraško koleno, birds and almonds tell the story of letting go, they give us strength, courage and good fortune for the times to come. It travels into places and offers an occasion to stop into a moment of grief.

SYMBOLS

Vraško koleno / okretuša
The ornament of kolo is believed to bring strength, courage, hardiness and fearlessness as well as good for- tune. It is connected to the ritual of being together, dancing, or sharing.

Birds
Birds are bearers of good news, joy, success, happiness and love. They connect us to the living world around us.

Almonds
Almonds, also interpreted sometimes as leaves, embody our connection to the living world, to the ephem- erality of things.

This carpet was woven out of the last straws collected during the past two years from 4 bars of Marnixplaats (Vitrin, Soul, Baron, Soho) in Antwerp, where I live and work. The carpet is a space that is open for grieving practices and rituals, which honor all that will have to change in our way of living in this time of crisis, but which we are not ready to accept yet. 

 

 

GRIEF

We have already lost a lot, and we are about to lose more. The question is how to deal not only with these turbulent changes in the world, but also with our feelings of loss and grief. It’s common to experience grief in 5 phases: denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance. They do not always come in this order, and we do not always experience all the phases, sometimes we go back to the phase we have already gone through. There is no formula for how to grieve, we are all different and our grief, same as us, is unique. There are many existing rituals that help us with the grieving process, enabling us to go through loss.

DENIAL

We deny that something terminal has happened, we disbelieve in the loss, as we cling to the conviction that it could have been different. The denial phase helps us survive the shock of the realisation that something or someone is gone from our lives forever.

The denial ritual took place on the Marnixplaats where the straws have been collected. The group of mourn- ers has gathered there on 7th of September 2020 at 16 o’clock to pay their tribute to the last straws of Marnix- plaats. For this ritual I have read a farewell text.

Hello, I am Martina
Thanks for joining
This is the last straw.
On Wednesday the 19th of January 2019 the European Union reached a decision to eliminate all plastic straws from the world by the year 2024.

With the disappearance of straws, some of our habits and rituals will die as well.
They will remain only as relics reminding us of old extinct cultures.
The carpet you see before you is made of the last straws collected in the past two years from some bars in the Marnixplaats.
This is a ritual to say goodbye to them.
To face the grief of letting go of the world as we know it, if we want to continue living on this planet.
Its common to experience grief in 5 phases:
Denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance.
We gathered today in order to welcome and honour the first phase of grief. DENIAL.
The denial that something terminal has happened, the disbelief in the loss, the conviction that it could have been different. The denial phase helps us survive the shock of the realisation that something or someone is gone from our lives forever.
Let the denial begin.
Let’s take a minute of silence for each of us to reflect on all that will have to change in our way of living in this time of crises, but which we are not ready to accept yet.

In the end we toasted to letting go! Afterwards the gathered were invited to take a sip of rakia and pour the rest of their drinks on the carpet, where the ritual of washing took place. With that the phase of denial was concluded and the space for the next phases of grief to come was opened.

BARGAINING

The 2nd phase of grieving is usually bargaining. The bargaining is a moment of temporary truce when we wonder: If only we have done things differently, if only we have taken a different path, if only we have been more careful, if only we have been more thoughtful, if only, if only, if only… Maybe then things would have turned out differently. We try to avoid reality and the pain of loss by remaining in the past, bargaining our way out of hurt. We resort to words to south our broken heart. We need words that sting, that pierce straight through the heart, words that will realise tears from the eyes and help us overcome guilt. Only then we will be able to adjust to the present, laying the path to welcome the future.

The Bargaining ritual is taking place in KASK School of Arts in Gent, on 10th and 19th of September, 2020. The ritual of bargaining is entrusted to 3 wailing women: Noy Despoina Grigoriadou, Prisca Agnes Nishim- we, Renata Turkeš, with whom I have gathered for a couple of séances prior to the moment of the ritual itself. There we have taken time to go through the in depth exploration of things that we have lost and that we will soon lose due to the state of the world we live in. Each of them has interweaved her own personal loss as well as her own lamenting approach into the ritual. The gathered audience is as well welcomed to offer their own loss experience. They are invited to share it in the grieving space, enabling the lamenting women to bargain for their loss as well.

 

After the ritual of grieving is over, the carpet is accompanied with a video recording that accumulates the previous phases as well as an interview which explains the traditional ritual of lamenting.

Noy

Ώσπου να έν ο θάνατον Ώσπου να έν ο χάρον Κανείς μήν κλώσκεται και λέει Εγώ κί θ ́ αποθάνω Κόρ ́ επάρ ́ ασό σάβανο Κορδέλα σα μαλλία σ ́ Και όντες θα κορδελιάς ́ ατά Να κλαίς απο καρδίας. Άχ καλαμόπον μ ́εσύ κί θ ́αποθάνεις Άν αποθάνω θάψτε με Σύρτε απάν-ι-μ χώμα Αφήστε με παράθυρο Να ελέπω την τρυγώνα μ ́ Αναθεμά σε νέ ρακίν Πώς να πινώ σέ ατώραν Το καλαμόπον μ ́έχασα Και ντό θα φτάω ατώρα

Prisca

Qui sera
Qui se souviendra
Qui verra les oiseaux
A travers la neige qui tombe Quand les cieux fondent en larmes

Renata

Šta doživeh slamki nema
Joj kud odoste slamke ajme meni
Da još samo malo tu ste slamke
Vratite se slamke kunem vam se slamke
Da ću manje piti mile slamke
Joj de baš danas da nas napustite slamke
Joj gđe nas same ostaviste slamke
Zlo mi jutro mile slamke jooj
De se zelen bor srušio zarušen je još nezelen
Da smo samo bolji bili još bismo iz vas pili
Da smo samo svet pazili da nismo crnu zemlju zagadili Gde bismo sad bili još bi uživali

ANGER

Anger shelters pain, sadness, hurt, panic and loneliness. It is a necessary stage of the healing process, but of- ten we fear it. Instead we should honour it by allowing ourselves to be angry, to express it. We get angry with ourselves for not being able to stop the chain of events from happening, we get angry at others, we get angry with the world we live in. Get angry! Anger allows us to feel, not to hide our emotions. It is a natural reaction to unfairness of loss. Often it happens that our anger isolates us, but let’s share it. We will come together to the other end. It will allow our grief to transform again.

For the Anger phase the carpet is offered to Extinction Rebellion Belgium, at the conference curated by Christoph Meirhans on 25-26 september in Brussels, at La Belonne, with the CIFAS.

DEPRESSION

Depression often appears in our society as a state to be fixed, to be handled, to be dealt with. But it is an es- sential part of grieving. It exposes us to our deepest sadness. Depression is a heavy dark feeling, in which we fear. We wonder if we will be able to feel anything again or if this will be our reality from now on. The bottom of the loss seems endless. But it is normal to feel depressed after a loss, it is not permanent, nothing is.

The Depression phase will be developed with Manoeuvre in Ghent from October til December 2020. Through a series of workshops and meetings with the women of Manoeuvre the carpet surface will be broad- ened and reinforced with their own experiences, traditions and techniques. Together we will explore the feel- ings of depression and sadness we feel for the customs, family, friends and environments we have left behind us in our countries of origin. While communicating through the practice of waving and sharing some new rituals hopefully will emerge.

ACCEPTANCE

Healing looks like remembering, recollecting and reorganizing.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

This is the moment when we accept that we must continue living in the world without things, environments, habits,… that we have lost. It is the time for new thoughts new beginnings, and moving on.

The phase of Acceptance will close the circle of the 5 The Last Straws rituals. The final stage will take place in October 2021, in Dom Omladine, Belgrade in the collaborative exhibition Terrestrial Oddities II. It will be a collaborative process with artists: Nadežda Kirćanski, Gorana Bačevac, Marija Avramović, Darko Vuke- lić, Slavica Obradović and Bogdan Obradović, with whom I will share a residency in Belgrade in September 2021. The last ritual for The Last Straw will be developed.

THANK YOU

This is a thank you note to all the amazing people that have helped this project, and to ones that will be part of it in the future. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, The last straw would not be what it is without you!

Thank you all the bartenders of the Marnixplaats that have diligently been saving straws for me for the last two years!

Thank you Jana Vasiljević for all your help, ideas, preparation of the carpet, this booklet, making this project work, .. for everything!

Thank you Adva Zakai for being my mentor and a friend!

Thank you Katarina Kosmina for the video and the montage, for being an inspiration and endless source of energy and joy!

Thank you Rumena Tosić for the wonderful interview and hospitality!
Thank you Noy Despoina Grigoriadou, Prisca Agnes Nishimwe, Renata Turkeš for bargaining for us!

Thank you Adriana Gvozdenović, Vijai Patchineelam, Alexander Đurišić for documentation and your friend- ship!

Thank you Hijene for your support, ideas and adventures!
Thank you Isidora Radojković for sharing your expertise in weaving and tapestry!

Thank you Danijela Filipović and the Etnographic Museum of Belgrade for sharing your sources and archives for this project!

Thank you all collaborators, colleagues, family, friends and audience for being a part of this journey! I am happy and honored to have you besides me!

Thank you!

THE LAST STRAW

The Last Straw is a MA project by Martina Petrović, student of Autonomous Design 2019/2020, mentored by Adva Zakai.

 

KASK Ghent, September 2020

 

1. STRAW
2. CARPET
3. SYMBOLS
4. GRIEF
5. DENIAL
6. BARGAINING
7. ANGER
8. DEPRESSION
9. ACCEPTANCE
10. THANK YOU

STRAW

On Wednesday the 19th of January 2019 the European Union reached a decision to eliminate all plastic straws from the world by the year 2024. With this decision the idea for The last straw project was born.

European Union moves closer to ban on single-use plastic straws, other products

The European Union (EU) moved closer to a ban on single-use plastics Wednesday.

In a statement, the European Commission said the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union reached a preliminary agreement to restrict single-use plastic items like straws, plates, cutlery and cotton swabs. The agreement has to be formally approved before being implemented over the course of two years, it added.

The European Parliament approved the policy in October.

Supporters of the policy highlight that it avoids “3.4 million tons of CO2 equivalent” and “environmental damages which would cost the equivalent of €22 billion by 2030” and will save “consumers a projected €6.5 billion.”

“When we have a situation where one year you can bring your fish home in a plastic bag, and the next year you are bringing that bag home in a fish, we have to work hard and work fast,” European Commission environment commissioner Karmenu Vella said.

“So I am happy that with the agreement of today between Parliament and Council, we have taken a big stride towards reducing the amount of single-use plastic items in our economy, our ocean and ultimately our bodies.”

The EU describes the project as “the most ambitious legal instrument at global level addressing marine litter.”

The commission estimates that almost 60 percent of the 25.8 million metric tons of plastic waste produced by member countries each year comes from packaging.

The EU’s decision is part of a larger push globally to eliminate plastic items, particularly straws.

Major chains and restaurants, including Starbucks, The Walt Disney Co. and McDon- ald’s, have announced in the last year that they will ban plastic straws at their busi- nesses.

Seattle became the first major city to ban plastic straws and utensils in July.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May announced a nationwide ban on the products effec- tive in 2024 to reduce waste.

With the disappearance of straws, some of our habits and rituals will die as well. They will remain only as relics reminding us of old extinct cultures. In these last few years straws became a symbol of all the polluting and malignant objects, technologies and habits that we are about to live behind in order to move on, to keep living on this planet. But even if we accept that they are the villains, an incarnation of evil, straws are con- nected to the culture and rituals that we are going to miss.

CARPET

In Serbian tradition, the place of my origin, carpets are given as a valuable present for beginnings, when someone is about to start a new phase of their lives. The most famous and most celebrated ones, are The Kilims from Pirot. For centuries they have been made by women that would interweave stories out of sym- bols preparing a farewell and good luck charms for the new phase of the receiver’s life. They make them while kneeling like in a praying position, making each one a unique story-line. This carpet is a nomadic space with symbols of Vraško koleno, birds and almonds tell the story of letting go, they give us strength, courage and good fortune for the times to come. It travels into places and offers an occasion to stop into a moment of grief.

SYMBOLS

Vraško koleno / okretuša
The ornament of kolo is believed to bring strength, courage, hardiness and fearlessness as well as good for- tune. It is connected to the ritual of being together, dancing, or sharing.

Birds
Birds are bearers of good news, joy, success, happiness and love. They connect us to the living world around us.

Almonds
Almonds, also interpreted sometimes as leaves, embody our connection to the living world, to the ephem- erality of things.

This carpet was woven out of the last straws collected during the past two years from 4 bars of Marnixplaats (Vitrin, Soul, Baron, Soho) in Antwerp, where I live and work. The carpet is a space that is open for grieving practices and rituals, which honor all that will have to change in our way of living in this time of crisis, but which we are not ready to accept yet. 

 

 

GRIEF

We have already lost a lot, and we are about to lose more. The question is how to deal not only with these turbulent changes in the world, but also with our feelings of loss and grief. It’s common to experience grief in 5 phases: denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance. They do not always come in this order, and we do not always experience all the phases, sometimes we go back to the phase we have already gone through. There is no formula for how to grieve, we are all different and our grief, same as us, is unique. There are many existing rituals that help us with the grieving process, enabling us to go through loss.

DENIAL

We deny that something terminal has happened, we disbelieve in the loss, as we cling to the conviction that it could have been different. The denial phase helps us survive the shock of the realisation that something or someone is gone from our lives forever.

The denial ritual took place on the Marnixplaats where the straws have been collected. The group of mourn- ers has gathered there on 7th of September 2020 at 16 o’clock to pay their tribute to the last straws of Marnix- plaats. For this ritual I have read a farewell text.

Hello, I am Martina
Thanks for joining
This is the last straw.
On Wednesday the 19th of January 2019 the European Union reached a decision to eliminate all plastic straws from the world by the year 2024.

With the disappearance of straws, some of our habits and rituals will die as well.
They will remain only as relics reminding us of old extinct cultures.
The carpet you see before you is made of the last straws collected in the past two years from some bars in the Marnixplaats.
This is a ritual to say goodbye to them.
To face the grief of letting go of the world as we know it, if we want to continue living on this planet.
Its common to experience grief in 5 phases:
Denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance.
We gathered today in order to welcome and honour the first phase of grief. DENIAL.
The denial that something terminal has happened, the disbelief in the loss, the conviction that it could have been different. The denial phase helps us survive the shock of the realisation that something or someone is gone from our lives forever.
Let the denial begin.
Let’s take a minute of silence for each of us to reflect on all that will have to change in our way of living in this time of crises, but which we are not ready to accept yet.

In the end we toasted to letting go! Afterwards the gathered were invited to take a sip of rakia and pour the rest of their drinks on the carpet, where the ritual of washing took place. With that the phase of denial was concluded and the space for the next phases of grief to come was opened.

BARGAINING

The 2nd phase of grieving is usually bargaining. The bargaining is a moment of temporary truce when we wonder: If only we have done things differently, if only we have taken a different path, if only we have been more careful, if only we have been more thoughtful, if only, if only, if only… Maybe then things would have turned out differently. We try to avoid reality and the pain of loss by remaining in the past, bargaining our way out of hurt. We resort to words to south our broken heart. We need words that sting, that pierce straight through the heart, words that will realise tears from the eyes and help us overcome guilt. Only then we will be able to adjust to the present, laying the path to welcome the future.

The Bargaining ritual is taking place in KASK School of Arts in Gent, on 10th and 19th of September, 2020. The ritual of bargaining is entrusted to 3 wailing women: Noy Despoina Grigoriadou, Prisca Agnes Nishim- we, Renata Turkeš, with whom I have gathered for a couple of séances prior to the moment of the ritual itself. There we have taken time to go through the in depth exploration of things that we have lost and that we will soon lose due to the state of the world we live in. Each of them has interweaved her own personal loss as well as her own lamenting approach into the ritual. The gathered audience is as well welcomed to offer their own loss experience. They are invited to share it in the grieving space, enabling the lamenting women to bargain for their loss as well.

 

After the ritual of grieving is over, the carpet is accompanied with a video recording that accumulates the previous phases as well as an interview which explains the traditional ritual of lamenting.

Noy

Ώσπου να έν ο θάνατον Ώσπου να έν ο χάρον Κανείς μήν κλώσκεται και λέει Εγώ κί θ ́ αποθάνω Κόρ ́ επάρ ́ ασό σάβανο Κορδέλα σα μαλλία σ ́ Και όντες θα κορδελιάς ́ ατά Να κλαίς απο καρδίας. Άχ καλαμόπον μ ́εσύ κί θ ́αποθάνεις Άν αποθάνω θάψτε με Σύρτε απάν-ι-μ χώμα Αφήστε με παράθυρο Να ελέπω την τρυγώνα μ ́ Αναθεμά σε νέ ρακίν Πώς να πινώ σέ ατώραν Το καλαμόπον μ ́έχασα Και ντό θα φτάω ατώρα

Prisca

Qui sera
Qui se souviendra
Qui verra les oiseaux
A travers la neige qui tombe Quand les cieux fondent en larmes

Renata

Šta doživeh slamki nema
Joj kud odoste slamke ajme meni
Da još samo malo tu ste slamke
Vratite se slamke kunem vam se slamke
Da ću manje piti mile slamke
Joj de baš danas da nas napustite slamke
Joj gđe nas same ostaviste slamke
Zlo mi jutro mile slamke jooj
De se zelen bor srušio zarušen je još nezelen
Da smo samo bolji bili još bismo iz vas pili
Da smo samo svet pazili da nismo crnu zemlju zagadili Gde bismo sad bili još bi uživali

ANGER

Anger shelters pain, sadness, hurt, panic and loneliness. It is a necessary stage of the healing process, but of- ten we fear it. Instead we should honour it by allowing ourselves to be angry, to express it. We get angry with ourselves for not being able to stop the chain of events from happening, we get angry at others, we get angry with the world we live in. Get angry! Anger allows us to feel, not to hide our emotions. It is a natural reaction to unfairness of loss. Often it happens that our anger isolates us, but let’s share it. We will come together to the other end. It will allow our grief to transform again.

For the Anger phase the carpet is offered to Extinction Rebellion Belgium, at the conference curated by Christoph Meirhans on 25-26 september in Brussels, at La Belonne, with the CIFAS.

DEPRESSION

Depression often appears in our society as a state to be fixed, to be handled, to be dealt with. But it is an es- sential part of grieving. It exposes us to our deepest sadness. Depression is a heavy dark feeling, in which we fear. We wonder if we will be able to feel anything again or if this will be our reality from now on. The bottom of the loss seems endless. But it is normal to feel depressed after a loss, it is not permanent, nothing is.

The Depression phase will be developed with Manoeuvre in Ghent from October til December 2020. Through a series of workshops and meetings with the women of Manoeuvre the carpet surface will be broad- ened and reinforced with their own experiences, traditions and techniques. Together we will explore the feel- ings of depression and sadness we feel for the customs, family, friends and environments we have left behind us in our countries of origin. While communicating through the practice of waving and sharing some new rituals hopefully will emerge.

ACCEPTANCE

Healing looks like remembering, recollecting and reorganizing.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

This is the moment when we accept that we must continue living in the world without things, environments, habits,… that we have lost. It is the time for new thoughts new beginnings, and moving on.

The phase of Acceptance will close the circle of the 5 The Last Straws rituals. The final stage will take place in October 2021, in Dom Omladine, Belgrade in the collaborative exhibition Terrestrial Oddities II. It will be a collaborative process with artists: Nadežda Kirćanski, Gorana Bačevac, Marija Avramović, Darko Vuke- lić, Slavica Obradović and Bogdan Obradović, with whom I will share a residency in Belgrade in September 2021. The last ritual for The Last Straw will be developed.

THANK YOU

This is a thank you note to all the amazing people that have helped this project, and to ones that will be part of it in the future. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, The last straw would not be what it is without you!

Thank you all the bartenders of the Marnixplaats that have diligently been saving straws for me for the last two years!

Thank you Jana Vasiljević for all your help, ideas, preparation of the carpet, this booklet, making this project work, .. for everything!

Thank you Adva Zakai for being my mentor and a friend!

Thank you Katarina Kosmina for the video and the montage, for being an inspiration and endless source of energy and joy!

Thank you Rumena Tosić for the wonderful interview and hospitality!
Thank you Noy Despoina Grigoriadou, Prisca Agnes Nishimwe, Renata Turkeš for bargaining for us!

Thank you Adriana Gvozdenović, Vijai Patchineelam, Alexander Đurišić for documentation and your friend- ship!

Thank you Hijene for your support, ideas and adventures!
Thank you Isidora Radojković for sharing your expertise in weaving and tapestry!

Thank you Danijela Filipović and the Etnographic Museum of Belgrade for sharing your sources and archives for this project!

Thank you all collaborators, colleagues, family, friends and audience for being a part of this journey! I am happy and honored to have you besides me!

Thank you!

THE LAST STRAW

The Last Straw is a MA project by Martina Petrović, student of Autonomous Design 2019/2020, mentored by Adva Zakai.

 

KASK Ghent, September 2020