Milena Dragicevic Sesic Urban provocations At times of dissolving values, raising of nationalism, fragmentization of the country, loss of identity

, disappearing institutions - the meaning of the independent art scene was not to provide another view, another reality, but primarily to produce new ideas, new concepts, which the established scene, dead, suffocated and turned to past, overflooded with nationalism, was unable to produce. Therefore, the independent scene is not only the world of artists and art outside the market in a market oriented world, these are not only artists without galleries, without buyers and powerful institutional support. The independent scene brings together the aesthetical, ethical and intellectual positions and creates a united art expression. In Yugoslavia, and specifically in Belgrade, this independent radical scene during 90` was not only countering nationalism and xenophobia, it was questionning the political system and specifically conservative institutional system in cultural field. That is why artist had opted to leave institutions, preferred not to perform and not to exhibit, as well as large part of audiences also have boycotted the public cultural spaces. So, many projects that artists had organized in the first five years of 90`: Ice Art, Fia group, Dah Theater, Ister Theater, Sweet Dreams Baby, Urba-zone project, Absolutely Novi Sad, ŠKART group, represented actually the engagement of the artists to find new forms of activities through art groups sharing similar sensibility and view of the world in unconventional places within the city. Thus art activities had been presented in appartments (Exhibition Private-Public), Tracks (Ice-Art), on the Green market (Skart), techno-rave clubs, underground passages, ruins etc. The networking of these projects under the roof of Radio B92 within the Urba-zone project or Bitef theater within the small festival “Airplane Without Engine”, has strengthened the marginal scene which had not have any support except donatons from Soros fund… Festivals such as Infant in Novi Sad and FIAT in Podgorica, then AlterImage, and finally Belef (Belgrade summer festival since 1997) helped implementation of the projects which otherwise would be very difficult to realize. Completely excluded from the world art scene, and deliberately self-excluded from Yugoslavian official art scene, artists and mediators tried alone to act, to provoke public opinion and incidental audience throughout city of Belgrade and cities in Vojvodine. An important moment in development of independent cultural scene has been marked by creation of independent cultural centers. In order to survive and develop their impact, artist had to look for places which have lost their primary functions and are unattractive for big business, in other words places which were difficult to commercialize. Belgrade offers numerous examples: Rex – initiated by Radio B92 (summer 1994), and Center for Cultural Decontamination - Pavilion Veljkovic (1995), as well as Apostrof in Novi Sad and

books. theater director and politician. Center for Cultural Decontamination. this time also politically initiated. Those who have something to say. isolated in spite of the both political and market pressures (having in mind that public money was not given 1 Jul – Political party created by Mirjana Markovic. etc. Word. Women in Black. by president of Jul 1 – Ljubisa Ristic. The thoughts and emotions of the artists. like Bitef theater in a church-made-warehouse. such as nationalised “bourgeois” property (private gallery hall). political resistance. who gave this space to Youth Cultural center. Or Sugar factory – renovated luxuriously “as Hyatt hotel”. or Jewish community hall used as cinema and then abandoned (Cinema Rex). Those independent institutions finally ofered infrastructure and better conditions for production and presentation of art work in the second part of 90`. the rhythm of creation and development of concepts production of meaning. It was obvious. and only then made theater. renovated with the help of city authorities and busy with programs for one summer only. These are the venues where true energy of the alternative. living ethical position. are evidence of that. but in the same space. contributed to the preservation of free spirit. Some initiatives had already some history. theater.Konkordija in Vrsac. strongly comes forward. they gave strong contribution to the constitution of civic life together with social movements and oppositional political parties. Rex. personal. Since that moment artistic and intellectual movement got the chance to gather together not only during ralleys. both deeply connected to political movements such as Belgrade Circle. “Institutionalization” of radical arts through specific alternative art institutions and festivals . for instance. Film City and its set decorations as a summer festival venue. with the closed. This is how the rhythm of action on this radical art scene. Only small groups of very young. bring about eruptions of unusual creative expressions. Beton halla theater. wife of Slobodan Milosevic. faced with war atrocities.). that the place must be discovered by those who wish to use it. The place stayed dead until the change within City government in 1997. CD`s… Those art activities had political. and finally Sugar factory! But what do these – other examples show? Old powder magazines in Kalemegdan. later Resistance (Otpor) etc. radical arts movements. there are also experiences connected with Powder magazine in Kalemegdan. . video-art…. but also of experimental tendencies. contributing to the implementation of a new art break-through. They show that it is not enough for a site to be discovered by experts. etc. etc. “Paromlin”. as well as artist. notorious as the party of extremely enriched people during transition period and embargo. in spite of the fact that programs had been done by artist whose artistic achievements in 70` and 80` had been out of the question – audience boycotted the space. ethical stands. old electric plant in Doræol. All of them had been created in unconventional spaces – mostly in deserted and nonused buildings. “Remiza” depot at Sajmište. etc… But. Together with publishing of the reviews (Belgrade circle. has been established together with theoretical scene. often provincial actors. accepted to produce and perform there.

sales of fanzines to media-opera.m. indefinite city space.m. when the citizens finally freely make their views known – the alternative spaces were not only spaces of creation.for such institutions and projects. That is the reason that manifestations like Belef. and knowing that critical thought is still very needed. radical. Theater director Ana Miljanic had planed 10 actions from 10a. blocked by embargo. in the evening. But – the important thing is that artist do not satisfy themselves with programs done only within those alternative institutions. even after changes. – creative. Each of the performances was intended not only for a specific city quarter. different wars etc. to 7 p. indipendent ideas are still necessary to provoke a dialogue – dialogue through projects. fearing its own autonomy. they directly became the spaces of freedom of a civil society open for discussions and talks on the key problems of the present political moment. alternative art scene has been formed in this country in a culturally and historically specific situation. radio audience. that audiences had been on the edge of survival and entry was mostly free). but truly creative forces still are in independent sector who had refused. all the participants and inicidental audience.. as symbolical place for debating daily experience. but primarily for a different target group – the retired. . consumers (those who are buying cheap glamour seeking to give sense to their lives). was essentially a political debate on current reality. often regarded by radical artist as part of evasive processes – runaways of realities.m. newcomers in the city. to be “instititutionalized”. through local TV had been invited to come to final gathering in the Center for Cultural Decontamination. but even concrete art projects like Listen. and it would be hardly understandable outside that context. Therefore. the meaning of the notion independent. refugees without citizenship. through art works. Now – Belgrade neighbourhoods are living different cultural experiences – the new public authorities try to redefine old cultural centers (maison de la culture de quartier). and finally – TV viewers – those who wait to be given an opinion because “who are they to have an opinion of their own”… In a word. museums. Even programs in Rex cinema – open to the youngest audience – from comics to rock. The previous period teached them that real effects are reached only when in touch with huge. commuters on city buses. In the society poluted already 15 years through media and culture.). That is the reason that such centers do not have often programs like dj`s evenings – because those programs are linked to Belgrade “clubbing” events. spread throughout the city within one hour interval. have been realized throughout the city. But at 9 p. cultural establishment tries to give life to classical forms of cultural institutions (libraries. little man of Center for Cultural decontamination. Thus in the political turmoil in the streets (1996-7). etc. secondary school children. to all those Reich`s book Listen Little Man is meant for.

the “CFCD” entered the “Veljkovic Pavilion”. 1995. denazification and real pacification is only now really necessary. Then there came winters and hot summers. built. ethics and aesthetics. construction. Exactly at noon. Then. The idea and raison d’etre of the CFCD . It is necessary to induce catharsis. The number of newly emerged peacemakers became proportionate to the negation of the ever existing war. discussions… And then. for the sake of future and today’s children. there was the Second World War. with an exhibition presenting the biography of the place. Nothing would have happened take a position. as a need to face what is really happening with the circumstances of the war on the one hand. to purify. I know it was important and it still is important . on the other. general phrases. followed by colonialism. whose marble pedestals still decorate the Pavilion. Nothing more truthful than that could have happened. the Center supports the Modern which brought us together and could link us with the world. everything that was done in the Pavilion has been and it is out of the “spirit of the place” and people who have recognized both the spirit of the place and themselves. The CFCD reopened the “Veljkoviæ Pavilion” on January 1 st. In between the vulgarly destroyed vulgar Marxism and the Postmodern. treason and selftreason have become very comfortable. We answered the challenge of the “Veljkoviæ Pavilion” with poetics: performances. . there was the post-Dayton Serbia. trade. They gathered. In the autumn of 1994. They say that Moša Pijade entered the Pavilion after the war and painted. The construction which began in 1931 (arch. The Center for Cultural Decontamination (denazification and pacification) has been created out of belief that it is necessary. obviously. to decontaminate and denazify the environment and terrain systematically polluted with nationalism and xenophobia. invested something in the environment they were a part of. resulted in provincialism. meetings. have become the way of surviving. This. Ðokiæ) was completed with the inclusion of four copies of Michelangelo’s sculptures. determination and establishing are terribly difficult processes at times and in place when and where self-oblivion. blasphemy. exhibitions. decontamination.Borka Pavicevic CENTER FOR CULTURAL DECONTAMINATION The Center for Cultural Decontamination has been established in the war years of 1993 and 1994. The beautiful and semi-ruined building of the “Veljkovic Pavilion” is our reality and our destiny. the catharsis. as the constitution.the Veljkovic Pavilion is there to live and to create. purify. Therefore. There was a time and a space where a family (Veljkovic) brought paintings from exhibitions worldwide and exhibited them. and all that was being done to hide it. At the same time. They say some other painters also worked there. creation. happenings. and the painting stopped.

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