Exhibition Contemporary Refresh#2

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August 09-20
Gallery Brodac, Sarajevo

*TELLALL is a Magazine-Laboratory; a critical and experimental exhibi-tion space „on paper“ edited in Sarajevo. An international think-tank which aims to conduct independent research and serve as a meeting space for artists, poli-cy-makers, activists, and intellectuals to share ideas with an art project-oriented attitude that goes beyond the localism/globalism par-adigm. TELLALL focuses on recent events on a monthly basis, putting in focus people and places of high symbolic content in order to constitute a unique space for the discus-sion of art and culture-related topics within the whole Balkans region. Its aim is also to deelitize the access to art and bring it in direct contact with all kinds of audiences.In this light, the first edition is titled “The museum is closed” and will present selected works and interventions related to this topic by local artists; interviews on the status of the museum, its history and educational role, its function of preserving a past, the promotion of the fundamental, irreplaceable aspects of a living culture, and the opportunity for direct contact between the public and the living arts. By doing this, it will also provide an insight into the city of Sarajevo with its new ferment and political change marked by the art scene

Klabika [Residency] 2K17
is a programme that provides audio curatorship & sound manifestos for environments with strong attitude and bold presence where creative industry meets tendencies for tomorrow.

Link to FB event

Publication “Sarajevo – l*a*tribu*t de l’art”

“Sarajevo – l*a*tribu*t de l’art”, edited by Pierre Courtin, Pierre-Philippe Freymond & Christophe Solioz presents a set of 19 exclusive interviews of Sarajevo-based artists belonging to different generations: Edo Numankadic, Nardina Zubanović, Emina Kujundžić, Edin Zubčević, Almir Kurt, Daniel Premec, Nela Hasanbegović, Asim Ðelilović, Gordana Anđelić-Galić, Adela Jušić, Pierre Courtin, Nenad Dizdarević, Danis Tanović, Damir Imamović, Aleksandra Nina Knežević, Mak Hubjer, Paul Lowe, Dante Buu, Andrej Ðerković.

The interviews were realized in Sarajevo by students from the “Collège de Genève” during their “Art Study Trip” which took place end of March 2017 in the framework of the “Philosophy of the City” lecture given by their philosophy professor Christophe Solioz.

This project was done in partnership with the Gallery Duplex 100 m2 (Sarajevo).

This 160 pages strong art book is published by Riveneuve Editions (Paris) and Duplex 100m2 (Sarajevo) and printed in Sarajevo by Amos Graf. The layout is done by Aleksandra Nina Knežević.

BONA – časopis za feminističku teoriju i umjetnost

Drugi broj, juli 2017
Intervju radila Tea Hadžiristić

“Ideja osobnog osnaživanja i subjektiviranja na kojoj je počivala kampanja za opismenjavanjem žena i izlazak na izbore, a kasnije i projekt društvene integracije, ustuknula je pred partijskom retorikom radne borbenosti  (…) Ideja kako će povećani broj radnih sati, te natjecateljski duh riješiti sve probleme nagle industrijalizacije  zaostale poljoprivrede ponekad je graničila s apsurdom: [Mljekarice će] postati… borci za veći prinos mlijeka i u toj će borbi nastojati da pribave kravi što više hrane, tj. da uzgoje što više krmnog bilja, da zasijavaju livade, kako bi dobile više sijena (…) naše će žene uspjeti da uzgoje takve krave, koje će dati i do 16.000 litara mlijeka godišnje.” (Renata Jambrešić Kirin, Žene u formativnom socijalizmu)

Žene Jugoslavije su u do tad najvećem broju ušle na tržište rada u nove fabrike nove Jugoslavije. Trend povlačenja žena iz javne sfere  počinje 1950. ih, te se kao glavni uzrok ovome navodi uvođenje dječijeg dodatka, radi kojeg žene postaju demotivisane za rad u privredi. Bilo je nekih pokušaja podruštvljavanja poslova koji se obavljaju u domaćinstvu, te je  krajem pedesetih godina bilo sve više uslužnih servisa, Ipak, ove usluge koristio je mali broj žena. Osnivani su i restorani društvene ishrane,ali su njih uglavnom koristili muškarci samci.  Donesena je uredba da fabrike i ustanove koje zapošljavaju više od 20 žena majki imaju dužnost osnovati dječije jaslice i vrtić, ali se ova uredba nije poštovala. Dvostruka opterećenost žena radnica i majki bila je jedna od tema Titovog govora 1950. na Trećem kongresu AFŽa Jugoslavije, gdje on govori o ženi koja se trga na dvije strane,  “jer ne bi željela da izgubi obraz napredne žene Jugoslavije, a istovremeno ne bi htjela da njena djeca stradaju ili se unesreće kod kuće.”  Ovaj govor nam potvrđuje kako je vladalo vjerovanje da brigu o djeci treba da vodi i dalje samo žena, čak i ako je zaposlena. Kampanje koje je vodio AFŽ o društvenoj ulozi jugoslovenske žene bile su nažalost upućene samo ženama, ne i muškarcima i to je bila greška, ista ona koja je napravljena i kada su vođene kampanje za skidanje zara. (Žene su radi skidanja zara osjećale stid pred muškim pogledima. Radi tih osuda one su se osjećale ogoljeno i poniženo, te je shodno tome kampanje o osvještavanju trebalo kreirati i za muškarce, podjednako kao i za žene.)

U oblasti proizvodnje žene su najviše zapošljavane u tekstilnoj i kožnoj industriji, naime najmanje plaćenoj. One su dalje najprisutnije u oblasti obrazovanja, socijalne zaštite, zdravstva i ugostiteljstva, dakle, na onim poslovima koji su se smatrali logičnim produžetkom njihovog rada u kući, tzv, “ženskim poslovima”, radom ljubavi. Na rukovodećim poslovima bilo ih je jako malo. Dugo su čekale na unaprijeđenja ukoliko su ona bila moguća. Lični dohodak žene u prosjeku je bio niži od ličnog dohodka muškarca sa odgovarajućom stručnom spremom. Dakle radilo se o različitim oblicima diskriminacije žena na tržištu rada. „Nepisano je pravilo da se čak i u radnim organizacijama sa velikom većinom ženske radne snage na rukovodećim mestima nalaze muškarci”, kaže Slobodanka Nedović u svom istraživanju.

Link na online verziju časopisa

Publication “Tellall”

Editorial board: Ilari Valbonesi, Mak Hubjer, Bojan Stojčić, Damir Deljo, Smirna Kulenović, Đorđe Krajišnik
Tellall issue 0 “The Museum is closed”
Run 1000
With the support of Balkanology
English language

The publication – named TELAL is designed to become a strategic, dynamic, and interactive process intended to make the different forms of art widely accessible. It aims at engaging artists, thinkers, individuals from notable Bosnian-Herzegovinian and regional writers and essayists, and communities in experiencing, enjoying, and assessing the arts through participation, from co-creation to partnerships.

An international think-tank which aims to conduct independent research and provide a meeting space for artists and policy-makers, activists, and intellectuals to share ideas with an art project-oriented transnational attitude.

For the first number of TELLALL, the publication itself will represent a form of Museum’s landscape: structured through both space and time, respective of the dialogue across generation and among characteristics of the various players and attentive to all innovation processes, the City of Sarajevo with its new ferment and political change marked by art scene.

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Ending is better than mending, Adela Jušić, book collage, 2017

Exhibition opening

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Jelena Petrović – Breaches of Parallel Realities

Geopolitics of the unlimitedconnects incompatible spaces wherein different realities simultaneously operate, in this case the cities of Zurich and Sarajevo. The exhibition Zurich – Sarajevo Unlimited evokes the novel The City & the City by China Miéville, a British author of socialist dystopian science fiction. It tells the story of two imaginary cities, Besźel and UlQoma, which exist side by side, within one another, and perhaps most accurately without one another. The citizens of both cities have been taught to ignore, not see and not to co-exist with each other. There is a clear rule of Unseeing, and failure to comply with this rule is called a Breach, while a police organisation sanctions such transgressions and reports them to the superordinate Oversight Committee, that is, to the authorities. In the video work based on the novel, made by two artists, Karen Mirza and Brad Butler, together with China Miéville, this committee for preservation of mutual invisibility, that is of the unavoidable invisible borders of the new democracies, is called a state within the state, shadow government, or deep state (after the Turkish term DerinDevlet). Deep state occurs as a supervisory authority, in which the elected representatives of both cities actually coexist in their positions of power with the sole purpose to define the past, sanction the present (so-called breaches, or interruptions of reality) and create the future. The City and the City thus remain invisible to one another in their daily existence, not physically, but rather psychologically, through the power of free choice and established morals which make any breach be defined as a transgression, or a crime. Mutual invisibility of the cities thus prevents social, historical, material, or any other coexistence. Furthermore, it testifies to the impossibility of the common, impossibility of the unlimited, which is essentially evidenced by any attempt to breach borders, or to abolish entrenched geopolitical realities, both in everyday life and in art.

The artists, whose works deal with geopolitical (in)visibility, memory and social, mutually conditioned individual and collective trauma, ruthless drawings and erasures of borders, the war and the dystopian future ensuing after the most recent war, thus create a social space in which Sarajevo becomes a shared city. This is the location of the search for the politics of hope, for the sanctuary of friendship and community, for the poetry in the wake of the war, i.e. as phrased by Marx, poetry from the future in which some new social revolution needs to win over its ravaged past[1].The historiography of such past is still entrapped in institutional systematisations of historical knowledge,and is produced today from the positions of power based on the neoliberal structure of post-transitional changes. Subjugated knowledge resurfaces as the politics of error, a counter-historical trigger, and calls for the defence of the society which, following the war and the so-called transition, has ended on the global periphery[2]. Accordingly, the exhibited works which commonly address the city of Sarajevo use different strategies to investigate liminal spaces, their boundaries and assigned geopolitical borders, in the confines of which war by all means and war by other means are alternately being led[3].

In her video work entitled Geometry of Time, Lana Čmajčaninuses geopolitical factography: the choice of 32 geographical maps which evidence the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the previous 551 years. The maps which succeed and overlap one another, instead of evidencing precise and clear borders, in fact demonstrate their ebb and flow, the inconsistency and instability arising from colonial, imperial, expansionist, migratory, wartime, but also “peace-making” efforts and revisions. The grey areas of separation are revealed through the artistic strategies of opposing the great historical narratives, and they indicate the necessity of our permanent fight against what instrumentalises, controls, shapes or quite clearly oppresses and socially exploits us, leaving behind its visible marks.

On the other hand, the historiography of (dis)continuous resistance and struggle is figuratively presented by DženanHadžihasanović in his series of paintings Blank Title, mapping the mass movements which caused emancipatory shifts in society throughout history. An open sum of individual scenes from the past to which we refer when we talk about mass social movements serves to compose a single picture, structurally open to future inscriptions of revolutionary narratives. White banners, simplified human forms, blank faces, they all testify to the instability of the battles won, emptied out emancipatory politics, the inability to claim victories in the devastation of the present moment, in other words, to the faultiness of talking about revolution, unless this revolution is permanent. Therefore in his new series of paintings entitled Moving Back, Hadžihasanovićopens the chasm of inversion, painting people in queues, people on the move, migrating people. Forced and violent mass movements in society breach into prior images of the victorious past, confirming both the instability of the victories won and the necessity of permanent struggle.

The series of photographs entitled Nostalgia by Adela Jušić and Lost Things by Jim Marshall introduceinto the preconfigured historical map a social forensics of blurred individual and collective relationships with their constant shifts and violent displacements caused by war, and their impossible politics of memory. Both these works follow and document the objects lost in the course of wars: the former tells the story of the things abandoned in the war zone, possessions left in a 1990’s Sarajevo apartment after the family had gone into refuge, while the latter traces the objects abandoned and lost along the Balkan route of the present mass migrations. (In)visible objects, bodies, spaces depicted in the photographs and their mutual relations become in themselves witnesses of the events that produced them, creating the space for forum, the locus of discussion following material evidence. What follows in this forum is material rhetoric, forensicsin its original meaning: the space in which the truth about an event is built upon the object which simultaneously represents an outcome of the conflict and negotiation of its meaning. On the one hand,Adela Jušićexhibits personal belongings of a Sarajevo family to testify to thenostalgia which appearsas a particularist colonisation of politics and history; and on the other,Jim Marshallleaves the photographs of objects as forensic records of our everyday existence. Objects from both artworks emerge as a locus of political articulation of time and space within the global cartography of the permanent war.

The artwork of JusufHadžifejzovićshows different kind of things, countless and different objects such as empty bottle, wrapping materials and similar, which be can summarised in the words by Peter Brook – All begins and ends in emptiness.[4]They are in fact the substrate of our emptied out reality, the parodist images of the neoliberal social economies. With its massive nothingness, this dystopian materialism serves to camouflage the images of the bygone war, and finally comes to break the deadlock through parody and humour, utilising them as artistic strategies of political struggle and everyday survival. The vacuity of the objects and their images reveals the essence, the initial spark of overcoming the very same fear which, in the performance entitled The Fear of Drinking Water, highlights the value of human relationships, as well as the changes in social life conditioned by the deflating economy of the war which perpetuates.

This forensic intersection of cartography, historiography and their objects, at the place where every BREACH of borders is a matter of personal and social responsibility, contains common ground wherein a politics of hope can be articulated. This is the politics of hope which resides in the distorted geopolitical zones suspended between utopian and dystopian future, not unlike the one informing the work of BojanStojčić and its poetic sights of everyday situations and landscapes. The title of his work: No Trace promises the Pathmaybe is the best way to conclude that the society in which we live, with its borders and politics, actually depends on us, on our transgressions and inscribed messages. What disables us to be ready – to mine for the poetry from the future, massively and permanently – is alienation: the moment from the City and City in which we decide to accept the rule of Unseeing.

Translated by Milan Marković and TijanaParezanović

[1] Cf. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, 1852, https://www.marxist.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18th-brumaire/ch01.htm (last viewed on 2 March, 2017).

[2] Cf. Foucault, Michel, Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the College de France, 1975-76. St. Martin’s Press. 2003.

[3] Inversion of the thesis made by Clausewitz of “War as politics by other means“, to suggest that politics is in fact continuation of war by other means.

[4]Taken from the artist statement of Jusuf Hadžifejzović.

 

 

Artist Talk at K2 Contemporary Art Center

June 21st at 18.30h
Contemporary Art Center
Izmir, Turkey

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At the moment artist is a researcher at Izmir University of Economics as a part of the Transmaking project. The Trans-making project aims to establish a multilateral network of research and innovation staff active in the fields of placemaking/place-based art activities as a space to create alternative narratives for social, economic and democratic renewal. It will investigate and experiment with placemaking to contribute actively to the democratization/well-being of society, educating and empowering individuals and disadvantaged minorities through research and production in the connection between art and new technologies.

The objective is to strengthen research capacities, through exchange of knowledge and expertise between academic and non-academic partners from Europe and Third Countries in a shared research programme focused on: collecting, documenting / Exploring, experimenting / Performing / Designing. The final aim of Trans-making will be to establish long term collaboration among the partners in order to have a scientific and innovative worldwide community devoted to the research, (including art-based research), innovation, education activity in the matters concerned by the project.

More info on
http://www.h2020.org.tr/en/h2020/marie-sklodowska-curie-actions

As a part of her research stay in Izmir artist is proposing to do an artist talk, presentation of works in different media (video, performance, sound installation, mixed media) at K2, followed by discussion with audience.

Workshop “Art and Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community”

June 28th and 29th
Post Conflict research Centre, Sarajevo, Bosia and Herzegovina

Workshop organized in collaboration between King’s College London, the London School of Economics and the University of the Arts in London.

Art and Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community’ is an innovative collaboration between  King’s College London, the London School of Economics and the University of the Arts in London that aims to improve our understanding of a major current and future global security challenge.

Although billions of pounds have been invested in post-conflict reconciliation projects involving aspects of justice and the creative arts, there has been no study of this phenomenon as such. ‘Art and Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community addresses this major gap, opening up knowledge exchange between government, academia and the third sector.  Impacting beyond the academic community, this unique collaboration brings together academics, artists and NGOs to create and develop artistic practices and artefacts through a variety of media.

This inter-disciplinary project combines history, conflict resolution methodologies, art and creative practice, and both qualitative and quantitative social sciences.

More info

 

Non/Motherhood (endless) Red Mined Symposium #1

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May 09th
Lothringer13 Florida
Munich, Germany

6 pm
*Perpetuum Mobile The Artotheque/Living Archive non/working station
Introduction by Red Mined on Feminist art, curating, production and politics

7 pm
(endless) Red Mined Symposium ON NON/MOTHERHOOD
with a feminist curatorial collective Red Mined – Jelena Petrović, Danijela Dugandžić, Katja Kobolt, Noor Afshan Mirza, Lala Raščić, Jelena Vesić, Munich based artists and others
…and an artistic feast

Only in a relation where I am allowed to be a mother and a non-mother at the same time, I am free.

Following the red thread of the Living Archive (2011-2015), a long term project that co-created it’s own community like a polis, or like a true space between people, who organize themselves for acting and speaking together on art commons and political freedom, Red Mined moves towards new practices: symposium. As one of the most characteristic social fixtures of ancient times, symposium appears here through its primary meaning of off or semi-public space, where people gather to eat, drink, dance and talk, or simply to spend time together around specific or everyday life topics. But with a difference, this time symposium is for everyone.

Symposium #1 will open space for giving birth to different ideas on non/motherhood.
As a multi-voiced star-formed platform, this first symposium is here to engage the troublesome “nature” and “law” of not/giving birth, non/reproduction, non/family and non/work. The subject of non/motherhood affects all classes, genders and races with different intensity and culminates in internalized symptom: “very sorry, but you could not have it all”. Consequently, it naturalizes an exclusive work-life paradigm along gender, class, race hiding behind the geopolitical/neo-imperial intersectionality.

What is believed to be universal in a feminine nature, to care and to (re)produce, is in fact social construct of patriarchal law entwined in the capitalist mode of production. This long-lasting marriage between patriarchy and capitalism junctures women’s lives and suppresses their affective and constructive forces. Social politics of non/reproduction is materialized today under the free market rationality and its civic subjectivity, or under competitive relations of disconnected individuals, who call for: self-responsibility (for failure or success), self-control, self-morality, commercial pleasure, ultimate happiness, health and wealth, self- esteem and self-performativity… for (re)productive entrepreneurs of themselves.

On the occasion of Symposium #1, Red Mined invites friend artists, curators, theoreticians and practitioners, mothers and non-mothers to reflect, to talk and to-future on and from performative materializations of “non/motherhood”, through both refusal and embracing.

*Perpetuum Mobile The Artotheque
Once activated it would run forever, perpetual motion or continuous and unceasing movement or action. Repetition until recognition.

The collection started with a simple act of giving. A gift of art, for art is a gift that we find no value for. It is more than just a collection of video works, texts, drawings and so forth. What it contains is a multitude of lives and narratives, images and messages that feed the body of this genuine artotheque.
With works by: Atilkunst, Gülçin Aksoy, Nevin Aladag, Nancy Atakan, Nika Autor, Ana Baraga, Dunja Blažević, Bashir Borlakov, Vanja Bucan, Cengiz Çekil, Banu Cennetoğlu, Fulya Çetin, Ana Čigon, Lana Čmajčanin, Burak Delier, Extramücadele, Natasha Davis, Andreja Dugandžić, Lina Dokuzović, Flaka Haliti, Nela Hasanbegović, Nazım Hikmet Richard Dikbaş, Ana Hoffner, Ana Hušman, Gordana Anđelić Galić, Ender Gelges, Marina Gržinić and Aina Šmid, Özlem Günyol and Mustafa Kunt, Nilbar Güreş, Gözde Ilkin, Jelena Jureša, Adela Jušić, Bengü Karaduman, Gülsün Karamustafa, Margareta Kern, Jovana Komnenić, Servet Koçyiğit, Emina Kujundžić, Andreja Kulunčić, Nikoleta Marković, Nela Milić, Dragana Mladenović and Media Archeology, Şükran Moral, Yasemin Nur, Füsun Onur, Irfan Önürmen, Fehrettin Örenli, Yasemin Ozcan, Ferhat Özgür, Orhan Pamuk, Armina Pilav, Monika Ponjavić and Marina Radulj, Neriman Polat, Renata Poljak, Nada Prlja, Vahida Ramujkić, Bojana Jelenić and Dionis Escorsa, Lala Raščić, Dina Rončević, Necla Rüzgar, Ivana Smiljanić, Tina Smrekar, Alenka Spacal, Evelin Stermitz, Marko Tadić, Cengiz Tekin, Nataša Teofilović, Milica Tomić, Sarah Vanagt, Dragan Vojvodić, Nil Yalter, Pinar Yolaçan, …

curation: Red Mined
production: Lothringer13_Florida / Katja Kobolt, Colin Djukic, Maximiliane Baumgartner
image and design: Lala Raščić
web: Marija Ratković

Link to FB event

Catalog Resolution 827

Imprint
Co-publishers:
Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade
SMBA/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Archive Books
Editors: Jelle Bouwhuis and Zoran Erić
Print run: 1000 copies
ISBN: 978-86-7101-331-4 (MoCAB)
           978-3-943620-50-4 (Archive Books)
English
Pages 150

Exhibition Resolution 827 was set from 18.04. – 31.05. 2015. in Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

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I Will Never Talk about the War Again – Jelena Petrović

The work I Will Never Talk about the War Again by Lana Čmajčanin and Adela Jušić was made in 2011, when it was also included in the Perpetuum Mobile collection of Living Archive, during its first edition in Zagreb.[1] As one of the works of art contributed to this archive, which was grounded in contemporary art, feminism and the post-Yugoslav space, the work became its integral part, an attempt and challenge to politically (re)articulate these overlapping, conflicting and rebounding grounds. What the archive and this work had in common was a point of rupture, or at least an attempt at disrupting the linear trajectories of historical violence and identitary/identifying stigmatization, epitomized in expressly brutal yet covert mechanisms of maintaining the social power of different elite groups, be they ethno-nationalistic, militant, class-based, patriarchal, administrative, or of any other kind. During this Zagreb based event, as a member of the Red Min(e)d team and co-initiator of Living Archive, I touched on this video performance many times, always briefly and fleetingly, though with a different sentiment each time, as if mirroring the ebb and flow of emotions evident in the voices and faces of the artists: from anger to some vague pleasure, from an avowed acceptance to utter silence, from wish to reality, until I finally watched the entire performance in order to bend these affective turns towards a complete politically articulated meaning. The video performance at that moment became an image with red background, against which the two artists, whose work had for years already been intensely focused on the war, its traumatic experiences and (in)human forms, now faced one another, faced themselves, faced everyone. It was precisely that frozen and muted image that became the point of rupture or, paradoxically, that which connects and creates what is shared: neither the subject nor the object, but affective engagement and abject confrontation[2] with the war that everlastingly rages among and around us, because of what we, individually or collectively, are or are not, or ultimately (don’t) accept to be.   

This video performance produced in collaboration by Lana Čmajčanin and Adela Jušić has been displayed at numerous exhibitions, and served twice as the source for the very titles of exhibitions: on one occasion the exhibition title was taken from this work verbatim (I Will Never Talk about the War Again, exhibitions in Färgfabriken and Stockholm in 2011, and Maribor in 2012, curator Vladan Jeremić), while on the other it was somewhat altered (I want to speak about the war, Zagreb 2014, from the Voyage to Europe series of exhibitions, curators Mia David and Zorana Đaković Minniti). Positioned in the very focus of an exhibition, and thus politically marked together with the artists who perform and the reasons why they perform, the work itself becomes a trigger for the curators’ positioning in relation to the work, as well as a signifier of the context in which it is presented to the audience, media and the politics of place. The range of these political significations is broad: they could be engaged, passive, observational, identifying, forensic, diagnostic or independent from any meaning the artists had in mind when they created the work; they are in any case ambivalent and not finally determined despite the intention to make them such, as it actually remains unclear on behalf of what the work speaks once placed in the exhibition epicenter. The politics of memory and forgetting, trauma and crime, human empathy and ethics, attempts to overcome everything, pack it up and leave behind – all these possibly explain why the war is spoken about and against, but not on whose behalf it is done. It is a question that still remains open or perhaps rather closed, much like the one preceding it: What do we actually speak about when we speak about “the” war?             

As selector of the 2014 Zagreb Film Mutations: Festival of Invisible Cinema 08 Parallel Film, Marina Gržinić included this video performance in the program, along with several previous works by the same artists, with a view to showing that the war machinery “regulates gaze, affects and life”[3] in its ever more intensive forms of militant colonialism. According to her, this work carries in itself an obsessive performative statement “that exposes the circularity conditioning the social, economic and political texture of Bosnia and Herzegovina today,”[4] the texture which is nearly 20 years after the so-called Dayton Agreement still necropolitically subjected to peace. What Gržinić actually speaks about here is the never-terminated war, the war waged by different means that continuously drags Bosnia and Herzegovina deeper into poverty and oblivion. She also sees the repetition of this performative statement as an answer to all the manifest, governing and arbitrary discourses on the war – an answer produced by means of all the emotions available for resisting this regulatory necropolitical process. Such an answer perhaps best describes what kind of war we speak of today, and against what the reiterated negation of Lana Čmajčanin and Adela Jušić is raised.    

On the other hand, the Resolution 827 exhibition (SMBA, Amsterdam 2015, curators Zoran Erić, Jelle Bouwhuis and Joram Kraaijeveld), which this text is in effect occasioned by, regards the work of these two artists, through the lens of the consequences of the war, as one of the exhibition’s underlying perspectives. According to Zoran Erić, the work is “a metaphor for the position of the traumatized subject that cannot depart from trauma’s need to act by repetition, while it also poignantly depicts the rhetoric of nationalist parties that need to remind citizens of the war in order to maintain their power positions and nurture nationalist feelings towards the ‘other,’ or the enemy.”[5] In other words, the work explores the ambivalence of meaning inherent in the very act of the repetition of the statement in the historically contextualized political reality of the post-Yugoslav space, as well as possibilities to determine the perspectives of the act’s significance from the position of the traumatized subject, which stands in contrast to the positions of power that determine who “the other” actually is. The position of inability to talk about the war outside the given frameworks of nationalistic narratives and simultaneous rejection of the positions of power perhaps open up the space for the discussions with the aim to diagnose the present – the discussions that have occasionally been held in the past on certain margins of society. It also, however, overlooks the affective turn in which this state of abjection becomes pervasive and indicative of a need to politically articulate the demand to “banish” the war and its consequences from our everyday lives, in the most basic existential meaning of social relations and economic state of society on the whole (even if that may merely be a social utopia).    

The mentioned exhibitions named after this work – I Will Never Talk about the War Again – play upon the linguistic potential of this statement, the meaning of which is in both contexts emptied and, if we follow the terminology of semiotics, functions as the signifier. In the case of the first exhibition, an arbitrary meaning is attached to the given signifier, providing an answer to the central question posed by the exhibition: “Can contemporary artistic practice really give innovative form and find a language with which it is possible to speak politically about individual and collective war and post-war experiences?”[6] Thus the work itself is placed within the context of the personal and emotional, in which any talk about the war is rendered pointless precisely due to its shocking brutality: “the two artists promise each other not to talk about the war anymore, repeating the same sentence over and over. The work is an emotional statement on the fact that more than fifteen years after the Dayton Peace Agreement the war remains a central experience in the divided country.”[7] In the second exhibition, the altered statement I want to speak about the war is reduced to an inverted signifier, upon which the same motivational meaning is built, which in this case serves to bring the vicious circle of the wars waged in this region throughout history to the same level, and answer the question posed by the curators in relation to this work: “Why is it important to speak about the war? (Lana Čmajčanin and Adela Jušić’s work).”[8] Talk is thus positioned as a political place of power, the will to truth, social practice and an artistic event which tries to illuminate the great historical (un)truths and unravel them on the Voyage to Europe (title of a series of exhibitions organized to mark the World War I centenary).  

Still, a question remains: what is actually the repetitive statement of this work? It is the speech which, even when refusing to talk about the war, in fact communicates its essence and its symptoms still present today in their various manifestations. Furthermore, what needs to be noted when interpreting this work, and bearing in mind the feminist position of the artists, is that this is the talk which does not accept patriarchal labels of apolitical and private when originating from emotional and personal perspective, or the label of incapability when refusing to be made. Here, the position of the artists is clear: it is one of personal experience which shows that talking about the war, as well as the war itself, are still all around us, permeating our everyday lives. Their reiteration: I will never talk about the war again, reintroduces affect into the political which has been rendered faceless, manipulative and oriented towards administration and economy of war, maintenance of trauma and relativization of crimes, psychologisation of the politics of coping and reconciliation, and all those legal and human rights regulations and scientifically guaranteed remedies which are constitutional for the surviving and renamed national elites and interethnic imaginary communities, rather than for the society and community in which we live our everyday existence. At least, this applies to the society as perceived by the artists, one that serves as a backdrop for talking about the war, liberated and free from all of the above mentioned. The politics of this repetitive speech act: I will never talk about the war again, is simultaneously the politics of affect and politics of hope, not merely the position of the victims unable to face their trauma and the war. Thereby, at this point, the personal becomes political, neither declarative in terms of the decision not to talk about the war anymore, nor confessional in terms of articulating powerlessness, as it might seem at first if one takes into account all the circumstances and usual identifiers, and simultaneously excludes the feminist principle of the personal creating affect and resistance, and demanding a politically articulated answer to the question: On behalf of what do we speak when we speak about the war? Therefore, at the conclusion of the statement accompanying the work by Lana Čmajčanin and Adela Jušić, we read a series of questions, simultaneously provocative, subversive and open:  Is it possible not to talk about the war? Why do we do it and when will it stop? Will we stop? Should we stop?, where these questions underlie the two artists’ performative act of subjectifying repetition.  

Finally, there is a series of questions introduced by the work itself and its perception within different contexts and exhibitions, which forces us to decide on the concrete war we are talking about. What does that war mean or entail today? Does it in fact still go on? Who has the right (not) to talk about the war? What does Dadaistic rebelliousness of this work involve as it reiterates and affects the sentence which opposes everything else just like any other statement containing personal pronoun I? How does the subject that, confronted with the object, rejects itself and wishes to be transformed and through a repetitive pattern comes to resemble the abject, the very thing which in this process of political subjectivization shapes and integrates us into an acting social community through the politics of affect which drives and carries us, not letting us stop, but instead makes us search for the thing which represents this war today, in order to defeat it?[9]  The artists personally and emotionally oppose systematic mechanisms of power, which in turn pacify, regulate and fuel that very war for the benefit of various but always profitable elites. They oppose and at the same time negate, as they articulate their political agenda as a demand, in fact the demand of Antigone as read by Judith Butler and other feminists: the destruction of the violent order of hegemonic and patriarchal power in the name of freedom. Or this is perhaps also, when interpreted more liberally, the rebellion against patriarchal, regulatory, state principles which do not allow the war to be “interred” as a means of establishing social order – the same rebellion in which Antigone persists at any cost, refusing to admit her act as the cause for guilt.  

In any case, the affective drive which in this work propels us towards the red background of the freeze frame concluding the work, the background which undulates before our eyes and makes the impossible possible, is created in this very abject and is characterized by its own dual time: “a time of oblivion and thunder, of veiled infinity and the moment when revelation bursts forth.”[10] It is up to us to choose what we will reach for in this talk which refuses to address the war. Through their repetition, the artists simultaneously oblige and subvert the rules of patriarchy, for they are aware that no one ever even asked women to express their political opinion publically, let alone to politically, socially or economically position themselves in relation to the war and what it meant to them in its utter brutality and criminality. In brief: after the World War II, Yugoslav women fought out their freedom and right to equality, labor and independence, due to the activity of the Women’s Antifascist Front, but soon encountered the oppression of the ideologically adjusted patriarchy embodied in the concept of modern socialist family. It involved the survival of the privatized forms of unpaid and invisible women’s work and patriarchally structured distribution of power, and consequently, violence. At the very same location of this common Yugoslav state, the next (un)named and (un)finished war assumed and still assumes women’s complete and now entirely transparent re-traditionalization within the transitional, neoliberal and ethno-nationalist reproductive processes of the modern society and everyday life. This is precisely the everyday life which Lana and Adela designate in the statement of their work as the locus of political talk, of the need and reasons to claim: I will never talk about the war again. This talk was created to propel the changes in these newly emerged social situations, political circumstances and economic conditions, not to establish peace at any cost; and it was the women who eventually paid the greatest toll for it in these newly created post-Yugoslav states (feminization of poverty, abolishment of social rights, flexibilization of labor, perpetual exploitation, structural and manifold violence, among many things).

Talking about the war therefore does not entail the victim’s testimony, but rather a political act, and the negation in this speech implies refusal to accept the assigned roles and official narratives. Refusal to talk about the war is a lesson in discontent, affective rebellion and return to the beginning, to the phase of taking up the position of (not) speaking about the (non)war, the position which is always one of power, in order to politically rearticulate the questions: Who speaks and on whose behalf? Why are the locations of speaking about the war abolished? By and to whom and were they delegated? This very position of speech which contains nothing bar the mere negation allows for a transgression of the inverse empty signifier into the field of performance art. If we now perceive this work in the context of the artists’ entire oeuvre, it testifies of the engaged action which predominantly involves the demand for an actual change, rather than reaction to the social reality in which we live, as it demonstrates what we in fact talk about when we do (not) talk about the (non)war.  The answer to the crucial question imposed by contextualizing this work within the exhibition lies actually in the politics of affect and politics of hope, presented to us through the works of these artists and feminists as the future loci of the common political articulation. In other words, when the artists attempt to answer the question of whether we can talk about the war, they seem to suggest that revolution maybe the thing that we should rather talk about.

Translated by Tijana Parezanović and Milan Marković

[1] The first edition of Living Archive, a project developed over several years by the feminist curatorial team Red Min(e)d Bring In Take Out, took place in Zagreb between 13 and 16 October 2011. For more information please visit: https://bringintakeout.wordpress.com/la-editions/zagreb/ (Accessed on 10 August 2015)

[2] According to Julia Kristeva, the concept of abjection has a complex meaning which, importantly, still remains undefined. The term abject refers to what is repulsive, liminal and unacceptable to the subject, though at the same time constitutive, and thus bearing emancipatory potential in a political sense. Among other things, Kristeva stresses that all repetitive instances of facing the abject are simultaneously accompanied by the feelings of loss and gain. Performative repetition of abjection causes a series of affects that represent more than mere emotions, since they express both the positive and the negative, interconnected in the process of constituting the subject. Cf. Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (trans. by Leon S. Roudiez), New York:  Columbia University Press, 1982.

[3] Marina Gržinić, Politicizing and rewriting counter histories: for a new politics of empowerment and interventions, text written for Film mutations: The Festival of Invisible Cinema, 2014 https://adelajusic.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/here.pdf (Accessed on 10 August 2015)


[4] Ibid.


[5] Zoran Erić, Fragments of Resolution, Newsletter No. 141 — Global Collaborations, 2015

 http://www.smba.nl/static/en/exhibitions/resolution-827/smba-nieuwsbrief-141.pdf (Accessed on 12 August 2015)

[6] Vladan Jeremić, from the exhibition catalog: I WILL NEVER TALK ABOUT THE WAR AGAIN, Färgfabriken, Stockholm, 2011.

https://adelajusic.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/catalogue.pdf (Accessed on 12 August 2015)

[7] Ibid.


[8] Zorana Đaković Minitti and Mia David, announcement of the exhibition Voyage to Europe: I want to speak about the war, 2014. http://www.kcb.org.rs/OProgramima/Projekti/Projektinajave/tabid/1092/AnnID/2867/language/sr-Latn-CS/Default.aspx (Accessed on 12 August 2015).


[9]Grupa Spomenik (Monument Group) which has since 2002 dealt with (in)ability of talking about the war, founded a translation platform in 2010 to address this issue, naming it after a text by Catherine Hass: Qu’ appelle t-on une guerre? Enquete sur Ie nom de guerre aujourd’hui. The project was first presented at the first Biennial of Contemporary Art (No Network “Time Machine” Biennial, D0 ARK Underground) held in Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2011, which actually uncovered the (administrative) mechanisms of perpetuating the war using different means. The question: What does the name war stand for today?, testifies of this current state of war, its permanence and necessity, the purpose of which, as it is emphasized by Catharina Hass, is not the achievement of peace. Read more in: Catherina Hass: Qu’ appelle t-on une guerre? Enquete sur Ie nom de guerre aujourd’hui, Universite Paris 8, Paris, 2001 (PhD Thesis); The Project Biennial D-0 ARK Underground, Bosnia and Herzegovina, ed. by Başak Şenova, Association Biennial of Contemporary Art, Sarajevo, 2013.


[10] Kristeva, ibid., p. 9