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RE: EX-POST, Critical Knowledge and the Post-Yugoslavian Condition

20th January - 21st February 2010

OPENING: 19th February, 7 PM - 9.30 PM

PROJECT CURATOR: Luisa Ziaja »

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS:
CHTO DELAT? WITH VLADAN JEREMIĆ AND RENA RÄDLE
NINA HÖCHTL
MARIJA MOJCA PUNGERČAR

EXHIBITION DESIGN: TOLEDO I DERTSCHEI

Presentation/discussion: 19 January 2010, 7 pm

Chto Delat International / Issue 001 / November 2009: Transitional Justice
with Vladan Jeremić


The exhibition project re: ex-post. Critical Knowledge and the Post-Yugoslavian Condition explores artistic strategies of re-reading and re-writing recent history in view of the present post-Yugoslavian condition. Despite its complex and specific nature, the Yugoslavian experience of Socialism and its collapse is frequently incorporated into a dominant pattern of historical interpretation that is said to hold true for “Eastern Europe” in general: the inevitable path from communism (allegedly doomed to failure) via a cathartic process of “transition” into the final form of normality – a leitmotif that could be called “salvation history”, justified by a universal norm of general historical evolution. For (Ex-)Yugoslavia, Boris Buden has shown how this instrumentalization of the year 1989 “factually operates in its hegemonic version as a historical master narrative of sorts: as a well-known story about the ultimate victory of capitalism and liberal democracy”.*

But this claim of an all-embracing explanation constantly cracks when juxtaposed to the political realities of these societies. With its independent course of socialism and its bloody dissolution as a multi-ethnic state, Yugoslavia in particular differs from other post-communist countries. Such contradictions are increasingly addressed through critical art practices questioning these politics of history and the politics of amnesia as “side”-effects of the “transition” period and its dynamics of normalization. The exhibition presents three artistic projects that link current political and economical conditions with potentialities of the past in order to look for modes of their actualization.

*Boris Buden, The post-Yugoslavian Condition of Institutional Critique: An Introduction. On Critique as Countercultural Translation, in: eipcp (ed.), transversal 02/08, http://transform.eipcp.net/transversal/0208.


Chto delat? / What is to be done?

Chto delat? / What is to be done? Link

PARTISAN SONGSPIEL. BELGRADE STORY.

video work, 2009

Structured like an ancient tragedy, the video work “Partisan Songspiel. Belgrade Story” (2009) depicts contemporary Serbian society by means of different “archetypes” that embody the confrontation of political and economical systems and their respective ideologies. The forced eviction of the Roma settlement Belleville on the occasion of the summer Universiade Belgrade 2009 serves a concrete cause in this context. The ruling power – exemplified by a woman politician, an oligarch, a nationalist, and a Mafioso – encounters the oppressed, exemplified by a war veteran, a Romani woman, a worker, and a lesbian activist. A choir of “dead Partisans” functions as historical consciousness and political conscience commenting on the confrontation.

The exhibition also presents the current issue of the newspaper Chto delat International entitled “Transitional Justice”, produced in cooperation between authors and in connection to the previous realization of the video Partisan Songspiel. Belgrade Story, which was realized in Belgrade in Summer 2009. The authors gathered for this issue give a contextual overview of the situation and condition of transitional Serbian society, which during the last two decades existed as an isolated camp where everyday life was monopolized by corrupted politicians and ruthless tycoons. After the catastrophe of the wars in the ex-Yugoslav countries, which unfolded in the manner of a mutual extermination, there followed the economic polarization and discrimination of a large part of the population which ended up being homeless and deprived of any state protection.


Nina Höchtl

Nina Höchtl Link

TALES OF PROTEST. A NECESSITY.

5-channel-video installation, 2009

After a two-year long fight against the privatization of their factory “Jugoremedija“ in Zrenjanin/Serbia the workers finally succeeded: for the first time in former Yugoslavia, this factory has been recovered and handed over to self-management. The experiences of the workers are the basis of five fictive stories that are linked with footage from the silent film “Strike” by Sergej Eisenstein in Nina Höchtl’s 5-channel-video installation “Tales of Protest. A Necessity”. In 1925, Eisenstein and the Proletkult Theatre restaged a workers’ fight that had taken place in pre-revolutionary Russia in 1912. Höchtl revisits history and its political potential on many different levels, not only depicting but actualizing it. She asks for the relation between collectivism and individualism and how they are represented.


Marija Mojca Pungerčar

Marija Mojca Pungerčar Link

BROTHERHOOD AND UNITY

Photo-video-installation, 2006

The most famous slogan of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, “Bratstvo in Enotnost” – “Brotherhood and Unity”, serves as a multi-leveled frame of reference for the photo-video installation of the same title by Marija Mojca Pungerčar: Coined by Tito as a motto of the Yugoslavian fight for liberation in 1941, it was opposed to nationalist and separatist tendencies in the different ethnic and religious groups and later designated the official policy of inter-ethnic relations aiming at the equalization of nations and ethnicities. “Brotherhood and Unity” is also the name of the motorway that connects Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade and Skopje, and which was built in the 1950s by shock-work brigades from the different republics. On occasion of the reconstruction of its Slovenian section in 2006 Pungerčar ar looks into the changed political, social, and economic conditions of this kind of work. Today, it is mostly migrants from the former republics of Yugoslavia who are working in road construction for comparatively low wages. How about the relevance of ideals like Brotherhood and Unity or solidarity and community in fragmented societies now urged to follow a neo-liberal logic?


supported by:

BM:UKK
Stadt Wien - Kulturabteilung MA 7


in kind support by:

IG Kultur Wien




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