Larisa Jasarevic, “Taste the Honey” (2018)
Taste the Honey is a video-essay composed in anticipation of 2018 TV gathering. It tackles the project I brought to the collective table: an invitation to taste the honey. A familiar act. Except that I wanted us to make the tasting at once more contemplative and more intuitive, investigating the flavors and compositions while opening ourselves to the encounter, wondering: what are we tasting while tasting honey? What can we discern through the tongue-full encounter with the fragrant substance? If honey is a marvel, as so many researchers of its compositional and medicinal properties suggest, what marvels of honey’s suchness can we grasp? And in tasting honey, can we find out the subtle and the foundational which gathers it and holds it together? Can we discern its holding together? And because honey never sits still—it’s a “living” substance in more than one sense, undergoing constant transformations, continuously coming forth as otherwise—how can our tasting be made responsive to the honey’s quickness, its re-generation?
These questions are ethnographically indebted to the medicinal apicultures across contemporary Bosnia, which are often framed by Islamic and Sufi understandings of bees, being, and nature. Tasting is also a technical Sufi term (dhevk), that refers to a particular experience of reality, a certain degree of intensity, that is bestowed on someone very lucky and properly receptive. Tasting in this sense begins with receptivity, leads onwards to contemplation, and onwards to nearing the Real. So, the invitation to taste references Sufi expectations of tasting while it invites us to improvise. Can we register the sheer multiplicity of things that constitute honey, its endless “making-anew” (halki-jedid) across seasons, blossoms, hives, jars, and tasting mouths? A taller order still: can we follow the suit of Sufi metaphysicians to move from multiplicities to the Oneness, from suchness of this drop to the unity of existence that finds us together, that we are finding out?
My sister, Azra, a filmmaker—and fellow traveler, wonderer, and beekeeper—thought these questions through images and sounds she collected over the years, while we explored the field.