Saša Karalić



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Spellbound
Light installation / reconstruction, 1997

Spellbound project started in January 1997 with fabrication of a story about Jan Braaksma,
a character who in 1968 saw a mysterious light on the beach of Castricum aan Zee, The Netherlands. According to the story, Braaksma saw two powerful light beams suddenly descending from the sky and spreading across the water surface. It was an endless band of light rising up to the horizon. The story was published in several Dutch newspapers and presented as a true story along with an invitation to the reconstruction of this vision on the same location where 'the miracle' took place
.

In the night of 19 May 1997, this fictive story was reconstructed with help of two strong laser beams that were creating an endless light road reaching form the beach to the horizon. The audience was transported to the beach by buses from Amsterdam and Rijkswaterstaat (The Netherlands Directorate-General for public works and Water Management) provided a ship that controlled the project from the sea. Since the fictive story was treated as a true story and the reconstruction of it as a rehabilitation of a forgotten vision, the actor playing Jan Braaksma was also present on the beach during the event. In order to make the story as beleivable as possible, the actor stated that the reconstruction is impressive but that the light he saw was white while the laser light is greenish. Next day in the local newspaper appeared the article in which the journalist confronted me with my own fictive creation and implied that I didn't recreate it correctly (see extract from the article bellow).

Supported by

Laser Image
Rijkswaterstaat
Materiaalfonds
Gerrit Rietveld Academie

Hij staat een beetje achteraf: Jan Braaksma bekijkt wat zich voor zijn ogen op het strand afspeelt. De Amsterdamer ziet twee laser-apparaten die hun smalle groene lichtbundel in westerlijke richting dirigeren. Het bizarre schouwspel in het donker, het is bijna middernacht, moet een visueel eindloze lichtweg van strand naar horizon uitbeelden. Verantwoordelijk voor de vertoning is de Amsterdamse kunstenaar Sasa Karalic. Hij baseert zijn performance op een geburtenis die Braaksma in 1968 op dezelfde plaats overkwam. Karalic, enthousiast: "Precies wat Jan meemaakte. Dat zegt hij zelf ook." Braaksma zelf: "Het is indrukwekkend, maak ik zag heel wat anders. Zo was bijvoorbeeld het licht helwit en niet groen."

(Noordhollands Dagblad , Woensdag 21 Mei 1997, Spellbound-spektakel roept bij kijkers gemengde reacties op)

(English translation)
He stands in the back: Jan Braaksma observes what is unfolding in front of him on the beach.
He sees two laser machines shooting green light beams towards the West. This bizarre show in the dark, it's almost midnight, creates a visually endless light road between beach and horizon. Responsible for this show is Sasa Karalic, the artist from Amsterdam. He has based his performance on the happening from 1968 that Jan Braaksma witnessed on the same place. Karalic, enthusiastically: "It's exactly what Jan saw. He confirms it himself." Braaksma, himself:
"It's impressive but what I saw was different. The light I saw was totally white and not greenish."  

(Noordhollands Dagblad , Wednesday 21 May 1997, Spellbound spectacle invites mixed reactions from the viewers)