"Political practices of (post-) Yugoslav art”

(Conceptual Art, New Media, Yugoslav and (post-)Yugoslav Film, Post Socialism-Historical Revisionism-Socialist Modernism...)

The project "Political Practices of (post-) Yugoslav Art" is concieved as a long-term process in which four independent cultural organization are collaborating in multidisciplinary researching, mapping and analyzing of the historical, socio-political and economic conditions that led to current constellation of art practices or intellectual and cultural production in post-Socialist space of „Southeast Europe“ or, more preciselly, of „Western Balcans“, eg. former Yugoslavia. The project is constructed in a manner to include the partaking of all interested contributors from the cultural field in the region, promoting by that inter- and trans-regional artistic and intellectual exchange and joint activities in ex-Yugoslav countries. The stages of this project will consist of presentations of the research materials and their analyses in different formats (web-platform, publications, exibitions, discussions, forums, conferences, etc.).

Project “Political Practices of (post-) Yugoslav Art” is conceived as a long-term project in which four independent cultural organizations WHW (Zagreb), kuda.org (Novi Sad), SCCA/pro.ba (Sarajevo) and Prelom Kolektiv (Belgrade) collaborate on multidisciplinary research, focusing on relationships of visual arts, cinema and intellectual production with socio-political practices in the (post-) Yugoslav cultural space. The organizations share the attitude towards culture as a productive process rather than the representative product, and emphasize the cultural policies aspect of all their activities.

The project started in June 2006 as the result of a joint decision to develop further, intensify and expand our previous collaborations. The initial framework was set, and the first phase of research started resulting in a number of “case-studies” presented from the end of 2006 and throughout 2007 in different cities of the region in the form of exhibitions, publications, panel discussions, screenings and debates: The Continuous Art Class (Novi Sad, Zagreb, Belgrade, http://www.kuda.org/?q=node/541), Who is “Goran Djordjevic”? (Belgrade), TV Gallery (Zagreb, Novi Sad), Vojin Bakic (Zagreb), On the Black Wave in Yu Cinema (Belgrade). This cluster of case-study researches unfolds around the notions of 'official' and 'marginal' culture inside of the Socialist state, political strategies in the field of culture and self-organization. Continuation and systematization of the project’s results will be presented in the form of a joint exhibition, multilingual publication and discussion panel, which will recapitalize all the major themes of the project. The exhibition under the working title "Yesterday for Today" in Museum of Contemporary Art - Belgrade, thus giving the project more visibility, and with the discussion and publication to follow further and wider outreach is expected.

Organizations involved in the project
The journal Prelom was established in 2001 as a project of the Belgrade Center for Contemporary Art, but from the very outset it become a space for critical query of the political constellations between art, film and social theory in contemporary post-Yugoslav context. During last five years (seven issues in five volumes) it succeeded in involving individuals, groups and initiatives from ex-Yugoslavia and beyond in a collective effort to problematize, theorize and fight against various, heterogeneous and paradoxical forms of contemporary neo-liberal capitalism. In the summer of 2004, Prelom lost its former institutional background and the editorial board founded an independent organization – PRELOMKOLEKTIV (www.prelomkolektiv.org), constituting itself as a publisher and laying the foundations for integrating and expanding other activities beyond just producing the Prelom journal (exhibitions, conferences, discussions, activist actions, etc.). In the last year-and-a-half PRELOMKOLEKTIV had been very active in the field of cultural policies by constituting a collective effort (forming an association of independent groups) in building and empowering the non-institutional scene in Belgrade and by organizing public art and cultural events that promote trans-national cooperation.

What, How & for Whom' (WHW) is a non-profit organization for visual culture and curators’ collective formed in 1999 and based in Zagreb, Croatia. Since May 2003 WHW has been directing the program of Gallery Nova - non-profit, city owned gallery in Zagreb. All WHW projects have been conceived as a platform for discussing relevant social issues through art, theory and media, as well as a model of collaboration and exchange of know-how between cultural organizations of different backgrounds. Besides exhibitions, WHW projects encompass lectures and public discussions conducted by international artists, curators and cultural theoreticians, publications and a book edition on contemporary cultural practice and cultural theory, radio broadcasts and interventions, screenings and live acts.

SCCA / pro.ba
SCCA (Sarajevo Center for Contemporary Art) was founded by the Open Society Fund Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of 1996. Since 2000 SCCA has operated as an independent, non-profit professional organization. SCCA does not have its own gallery space. It is a mobile art center, complementary and alternative in relation to the already existing art institutions. Most of its projects, such as annual exhibitions, are held in open spaces of the city. The change of environment, the relocation from art-oriented space (the gallery) to non-art-oriented places (art in public space, site-specific art, environmental art, activist art, new media art) created a new art scene. The emergence of this new concept not only relates to a change in the artistic paradigm, but also to a change in the understanding of the function of culture and art as well as to expand the notion of art. It has become a corrective agent to local artistic and public life. SCCA unites the functions of institution (information/documentation / education center) and active participant in the artistic scene (production center). It develops two-way communication between BH and international art organizations and institutions, and promotes new forms of art beyond territorial boundaries. SCCA establishes active cooperation with BH artists in the Diaspora, and with artists and similar centers in neighbouring countries and in the region. As a SCCA multimedia lab, production centre in year 1998. pro.ba (www.pro.ba) was founded. As a multimedia production department, pro.ba produces original work in new media, encourages students and others to realize their own projects using digital technology, and provides assistance to artists in creating works in new media. pro.ba has developed rich video production that includes over 50 young artists, nationally and internationally recognized. Within this project, pro.ba will be one of the main production and distribution parties, by using its already existing skills and resources.

New Media Center_kuda.org is an independent cultural organization bringing together artists, theorists, media activists, researchers and youth. Center_kuda.org focuses on new media culture, technologies, new cultural relations and contemporary artistic practice. In that sense, kuda.org is devoted to the exploration of new cultural relations, networked technologies, contemporary artistic practice and social issues. New Media Center_kuda.org creates a platform for open dialogue, alternative methods of education and research. Social issues, media culture, new technologies and art, Open Source and free software principles are amongst the issues that kuda.org is dealing with. Center_kuda.org organized more than 100 events, among them lectures, presentations; workshops in different areas such are new media art, Internet culture, experimental digital art and citizen activism towards building the society.

The project “Political Practices of (Post-) Yugoslav Art” takes place in the framework of ALMOSTREAL. ALMOSTREAL (www.almostreal.org) is a project initiated by the European Cultural Foundation and it is an integral part of its arts programme.