Tacita Dean, Ztráta, (1991)
In 1991 Dean visited Prague. She took with her the Standard 8 camera that her father had given her in about 1983. It was on this visit that she created Ztráta. Set in a Prague schoolroom just after the collapse of communism, the film shows a male teacher writing a word in Czech on the blackboard, the meaning of which is then acted out. For example, he writes pritomnost, meaning “presence”, and we see a shot of the classroom full of pupils. Then we see the word nepritomnost, meaning “absence”. The camera pans through an empty classroom. The last word that the teacher writes on the blackboard is Ztráta, meaning “loss”, or “Disappearance”. He wipes out what he has written and throws the cloth out the window. The whole thing lasts three minutes.