Exhibition: 17.11.2017 – 08.12.2017
Curated by Noa Treister, Dr. Zoran Eric, Giorgia Lucchi.
25 years have passed since the beginning of the Yugoslav Wars. This new wars in Europe shook the perception that the structures built after WWII would ensure lasting peace. As part of the buildup of nationalism, during the conflicts and afterwards, testimonies were used by the official establishments of each country seceding and succeeding Yugoslavia – in the media, in school textbooks, or historical exhibitions – to justify their own national, ethnic, or religious position, while those that were not willing to justify these positions were silenced through direct political repression and systematic erasure of the frame of reference that relates these testimonies to the reality they presume to represent. This exhibition builds on the testimonies of war participants and antiwar activists, interviewed by their peers – fellow fighters, family members, neighbours, artists, and activists. They show the functioning of the system and the continuity and discontinuity through time. It is precisely this testimony that reveals the way the system functions in all its aspects – political, economic, social, and cultural – rather than the testimony of one’s own suffering that Primo Levi defines as political. They show that testimonies act to complexify, layer, and sometime oppose the hegemonic historical narrative or “the official truth”, for instance by exposing the socio-economic motivation and benefits of the war, as well as to reflect a common experience of these wars and their consequences. Since witnessing is a participative act, testifying is an act of speech with multiple addressees at once, in the least; those relating to the situation testified upon, the situation of testifying, and a self-address which constitutes multiple speakers. The simultaneity of time and space creates an ever changing assemblage of singular-plural social relations, intimate and political, at work much after the testimony has been given and anew each time it is heard. The diversity of social relations at the base of testimony makes its relation to reality complex, both that experienced as well as that in which testimony is heard. This makes it unstable for the purpose of the listener who demands The Truth, i.e. a comprehensive meaning which would constitute the person testifying as Subject and both testifying and testified factual situations as Events.
Thirteen artists and artistic duos were selected through an open international call. Their approaches to the process of art production range from archival research to participatory audio-visual anthropology, and statistical and technological rethinking produced audio works that display a wide range of formats (media), from music composition and performances to visual and audio installations. In addition, the exhibition will present a testimony archive – a social network portal that will allow visitors to listen and search the interviews (in BHS, Italian, and English) as well as to compile their own narratives. The exhibition will open a channel through which these testimonies can be heard and contextualised.
Jovana Popic got the grant of the United Kingdom of Norway and thereafter studied from 1999 till 2003 at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade with the Serbian State Scholarship for Science and Art Talents. Furthermore, she got the Friedrich Naumann Foundation´s grant for gifted people in 1999 and 2006. She has been represented at the 50th Venice Biennale already during her studies. In 2008 she received the Award of Ulrich and Burga Knispel Foundation. After further studies at the University of Arts in Berlin, she finished her degree as a master student in the class of Rebecca Horn and was awarded with the president´s prize of the University of Arts Berlin.
Participating Artists: Ana Bunjak, Andrea Palasti + Sanja Anđelković, Jelena Marković, Kristina Marić, Lala Raščić, Mersid Ramičević, Nikola Radić Lucati, Iula Marzulli + Marianna Fumai, Ryo Ikeshiro + Aron Rossman-Kiss, Daniel Djamo, Dorone Paris, Filip Jovanovski, Vlada Miladinovic.