Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje
“Tropes of the vulnerability (The origin as a debt or an escape from biography)”– key lecture by Elizabeta Šeleva in discussion with Manja Veličkovska | 19:30
21:00 Kabadayas – Concert | 21:00
“Political Aesthesis: Relationality, Vulnerability and Antagonism” – key lecture by Slavčo Dimitrov in discussion with Artan Sadiku | 19:30
In the framework of my presentation, I would like to offer the concept of embodiment-in-the common as a new-materialistic elaboration of the anarchy of the political, i.e. to argue the aesthetic grounding / groundlessness of the political. The implications of such an imagination and performance of the political are twofold. On the one hand it presupposes the radical vulnerability, finality, mortality and passivity, which emerge from the bodily exposure at the foundation of the political, on the other hand it insists on the monstrous transformability, resilience and elusiveness of body plasticity and extension into a multitude of eco-technologies and singular relations, and the consequent possibilities for thinking and performing the coexistence. With this understanding of the political I want to offer a proposal for policies of equal distribution, opportunities for innovation, participation in decision-making processes and proliferation of the eco-technologies of the corporal, which cannot be grounded either in individualistic liberal logic or in communal fantasies, because of what I call, following Nancy, embodiment-in-the-common, as a source of vulnerability, interdependence, exposure to apparatus of control and regulation, but also to antagonistic, disensual collective transformations.
Slavcho Dimitrov is an assistant at the Faculty of Law and Political Science at FON University, of the subjects: Contemporary Political Philosophy, History of Political Theories, Gender and Politics, Politics and Culture, and Politics of Bodies and Emotions .He got his first Master’s degree in Gender Studies and Philosophy at the Evro-Balkan Institute, and his second Master’s degree from the Department of Multidisciplinary gender studies at the Cambridge University. He is currently working on his doctoral dissertation on the
topic of Anti-Archival Bodies: Corporate Materialism, Affects and the Political, at the Department for Transdisciplinary Studies of Contemporary Media and Arts at FMK, Belgrade. He has worked as a teaching assistant at the postgraduate gender and cultural studies at the Evro-Balkan University, and at the undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the Faculty for media and communications – SINGIDUNUM, Belgrade. In the past few years, he has coordinated a large number of academic projects and summer schools, as well as projects in the domain of human rights and marginalized communities, with special focus on queer activism. He is the founder of the international Summer School for Sexualities, Cultures and Politics. He is one of the founders of the Research Center for Cultures, Politics and Identities (IPAK.Center) in Belgrade. Slavcho Dimitrov has curated numerous artistic and cultural projects, as well as conferences in North Macedonia, including: Affective Foreigners: The Art of Failure, a group exhibition at the National Gallery of Macedonia in 2014 (including an edited collection of texts and a catalog related to the exhibition), Archive of queer experiences, in Cifte Hammam, in 2012, All Beauty Must Die, with Velimir Zernovski in 2014 and others. For the sixth year in a row, he is the curator of the Skopje Pride Weekend, an interdisciplinary festival for queer art, culture and theory. Dimitrov has published many texts in regional and international magazines and books from the field of cultural studies, political philosophy, studies of performance, physicality and affect, queer theory, etc. He is author of the book Impossible Confessions: Subjectivity, Power and Ethics (2014). Dimitrov is currently involved in two international EU-supported projects Curating in Context and Geophilosophy in the Balkans.
“Death & Sexuality”, – dialogue between Artan Sadiku and Stanimir Panayotov | 19:30
This event will be in two parts. In the first part we will discuss what is the current regime of
production of sexuality under rotting postcapitalism. But we will also engage with the question: how the perverse economies of neoliberal capitalism intersect with any form of sexuality deemed “perverse”? We will talk about De Sade, Nick Land, Dennis Cooper, Jean Genet, Jonathan Kemp, Pierre Guyotat, etc. Also we will try to dissect living material from common practice, tracing material content that lives beneath our tired production cycle, one which confronts us with two choices: (1) repeat everything and become better manipulators, or (2) forget everything and become amateurs. In the second part of the event we will read out each other’s poems devoted to “this perversion called love” (Jun’ichirō Tanizaki), to the sexual “thirst for annihilation”, and other grandiose irregularities. The poems are part and parcel of a forthcoming book by the two of us consisting of our poetries, where we read and creatively edit each other to produce a distorted singular voice of perversities.
Stanimir Panayotov has defended his Ph.D. in Comparative Gender Studies at the Central European University (Budapest, Hungary), with a specialization in Medieval Studies, and is currently a fellow at Center for Advanced Studies Sofia, Bulgaria. He works at the intersections of continental and feminist philosophy, nonphilosophy, late antique philosophy and new/speculative realism and has specialized in these fields in Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana (2013); Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities – Skopje (2015); Linköping University (2016); American Research Center in Sofia (2016/17); Kingston University, London (2017); Utrecht University (2018). He is a member of оrganisation Non-Philosophique Internationale since 2016, цo-director and co-organizer of Sofia Queer Forum (Sofia, 2012-present), as well as Summer School for Sexualities, Cultures and Politics (Skopje/Belgrade, 2012-2017). Since 2017 he is the editorial manager of Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture, as well as editorial board member of Oraxiom: A Journal of Non-Philosophy.
„All time is all time“ 9 min.– Photographic film by Ivan Blažev | 19:30
The project “ALL TIME IS ALL TIME” is inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s literary work, “Slaughterhouse 5”, about the controversial bombing of Dresden at the end of World War II in which Dresden was destroyed and the entire historic core of the city was razed to the ground. The project focuses on Dresden and its reconstruction as a pretext for exploring history, memories, their fragility, and nonlinear, broken time.
“ALL TIME IS ALL TIME” is a photographic film made from photographs by Ivan Blazhev and original soundtrack created by the sound artist Mike Blow. Blazhev’s photographs were made in Dresden in the period 2018-2020, and instead of just showing the present, these photographs open a fissure to the past, to the remains of a destroyed space, as living witnesses of the bombing. The photographs can be seen as memories and/or facts, truth and/or fiction. The soundtrack derives from field recordings and experimental sound research to complement the visual narrative of space, time and experience.
It is a film about the symbiotic relationship between literature, photography and reality.
Ivan Blazhev (1974) lives and works in Skopje. He graduated in Filmmaking from Brooklyn College (New York, USA), and later earned an MFA degree in photography from the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad (Serbia). He has been involved in photography and has been actively exhibiting for more than 15 years. He has exhibited his works at solo and group exhibitions in Macedonia and abroad. So far, he has staged 10 premiere solo exhibitions of photographs and participated in more than 20 group exhibitions. In 2008 his project “Macedonia Dreaming” was part of the program “Across the Walls – Eastern Europe after 1989” at the Norderlicht Photography Festival in Leeuwarden, Netherlands. In 2011 Blazhev’s works were part of the exhibition “Fragments: Macedonian Art Scene 1991 – 2011” in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje. Blazhev has published 6 photo books and his photographs are also part of several collaborative photo books, among others East (Moser Verlag), 12 Macedonian photographers (Templum), and Almost True (Void). Blazhev’s photographs are part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art – Skopje, the National Gallery – Biljarda (Cetinje, Montenegro), the Alchemy Club Gallery (Krakow, Poland) and private collections.
“Prolegomena for one communitative engagement” – key lecture by Nebojša Vilić in discussion with Natali R. Pavleska and Jovanka Popova | 19:40
Let’s look at the current situation with the pandemic from its brighter side and see what can be used from it. Disorders that occurred in the areas of health and well-being (as the first pillar of the crisis), first embodied the change of or the need to change the social relations between the subjects (as the second pillar of the crisis), which in turn led to the redistribution of part of the state budget to support changes in production and services (as a third pillar of the crisis). This, of course, led to or forced us to establish a new type of relationship. As a result of the first and second pillars of the crisis, restrictive types of relations were introduced, those between individual entities and those between institutional entities. First ones, in fact, organized the exclusion (in the first phase) or the distancing (in the second phase) of the interpersonal relations, while the second ones gave advantage to the institutions in charge of public health (the Commission for Infectious Diseases and the Ministry of Health) and the institutions for maintenance and implementation of decisions for different organization of individual entities (Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs). As a result of the third pillar of the crisis, state interventionism was introduced with a clear indication of temporary removal of the market rules and introduction of state subsidies which previously were considered as a violation of the market principles and laws, in order to maintain, more or less, the liquidity of economic entities. All this led to: 1. the need to reconsider existing relationships and 2. the possibility of establishing new relationships, first between community entities (solidarity and empathy for others), then the relationship between individual entities and institutional entities (the individual, the community and the state), so, finally, the most complex and essential, and the triple relations between the individual, institutional and economic entities. More radical changes, in addition to those already manifested, are yet to come. In such circumstances and with such emerging necessities and opportunities, a key area appears in which other affirmative changes are possible for a new (or, at least, different) function of what we call culture. One of the essential questions in this period, of course, is no longer the question of whether modernism is “drained” (because it has been for a long time), but whether postmodernism is drained of its essence and meaning category? If postmodernism was a reaction or a consequence of the beginning of the last phase of capitalism alongside with the term “neoliberalism” (with its motto: “There is no such thing as a society”, Margaret Thatcher) and if it becomes increasingly obvious that society is just beginning to return
(“There is such a thing as a society!” (Boris Johnson), then it’s a challenge to think about: What kind of culture (hence, art) will be needed for this rediscovery (and perhaps a return) of the meaning and importance of the society in the life and organization of the community (by that, I do not mean the community as a simple set of individuals / subjects, but as a whole, as an independent and autonomous entity)?
My advocacy is focused on two phases in search of the answer to this question: 1. rethinking the engagement and 2. rethinking the engagement so that we can enter the next, introductory and achieving phase: 3. changing the existing socio-economic relations in relations of a new socioeconomic formation that will have: a.) greater responsibility towards the natural environment; b.) greater equality between the subjects of the community and c.) greater and better, fair and equal distribution of the existing capital. Of course, since nothing in history appears the same for the second time (because neither the circumstances nor the relations are the same), so the notion and definition of engagement cannot (and should not) be a repetition of what has already appeared in history. That is why “community engagement” is the proposal that (at least in this period) appears as a possible term. Why “communitative engagement”? If the ideology is an impression or reflection of the reality, if it springs and / or arises from that and such reality, then culture (hence, art as well), because of its embedded in the ideology is (or should be) an impression or reflection of the reality, because it also springs and / or arises from that and such reality. Therefore, if we define the normality of the current reality as “communative”, then the engagement could be defined as “communative”, ie, to establish an engagement of the artist that will contain both the component of the “communative” and that of the “communicative”. Specifically, culture and art through such engagement could become a stimulating, effective and achievable tool for achieving the intention, need and necessity to change the current socio-economic formation in another, different, and why not – new. In particular, culture and art through such engagement could become a stimulating, effective and achievable tool for achieving the intention, need and necessity to change the current socio-economic formation in another, different, and why not even a new. On this occasion, I will try to define the term “communitative engagement”, bearing in mind, above all, the position of Jacques Rancière, according to which: “There is no engaged art, there are only engaged artists!”.
Nebojsa Vilic, born in 1962, in Veles, Republic of Northern Macedonia, is an art historian and full time professor at the University “St. Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje, Republic of Northern Macedonia.
The Artistic Valence of Thinking Space – A Subject of Transforming
Ontology – Natali R. Pavleska
The unfulfilled form of destructive power, now in the form of a pandemic, as the cruelest form of dehumanization, reveals all the potential for control over the behavior and action, but also over the noesis, isolating the subject all the way until its exclusion. Subjectivity as a process appears as an intensity that tries to oppose isolation, the inertia of production, the hierarchy of relations and forms of representation, alienation as a reduction of the thought and the experiential. In this complex system of relations, before the complete closure of the subject in the post humanist form of a XXI century cyborg, before the complete transformation of poetics into information, art rethinks itself, trying to maintain the ontological perception of the human. It is from the relations established between the artistic existence in and through the subject – the subject with all its potential for changeability – that there arises the need to reconsider the presence of art in the social space, its conceptuality (form of knowledge), manifested as a consequence of the politicization of art and thus the changeability of the internal principles of creativity. Today, the politics and policies of visibility are completely dependent on communication, from the ideological recognition of the subject in communicative practices, from the distance between appearance and existence, which seems to be increasingly stretching. Even before we get used to the process of separation and alienation, this new imposed normality, proposed as an alternative to the old normalcy, cannot be understood experientially if seen as a newly emerged normality in which essentialism has long been in the process of disappearance. This cannot be only a result of our understanding of the conditions in society and the individual in it as an element that constitutes totality and the absolute, but as our (non)acceptance of the state of affairs that condition our normality. The term absolute, as defined in Badiou’s terms, cannot be retained as a predicate in relation to knowledge, time and totality. For Alain Badiou: “Accepting the absolute would be a catastrophe for thought, where truth and knowledge would be one and the same, there would be no happening, no subject would be possible” That is why it is important to open space for polemical thinking: what is knowledge and how it is applied; what is totality and what in it is the position of the individual as a subject that could inclusively (interpellatedly) or dialectically approach the whole; what are the places of fold and break within the established forms; and finally what is a subject, and what are the possible conditions for its existence? Perhaps the most important thing is to determine the role of art, to reconsider its ontology as a property of creation and co-creation of the subject, i.e. art as a corporeal entity that would retain its right to exist, in conditions/circumstances of conditionality and possible future deterritorialization and stratification/dismantling of the art as entity. It is then that the concept of causality and the concept of effect, as conditions of the new normality which only formalizes the representative regime of virtual presence and imaginary relations, does not need to be understood as a necessary relationship or outcome of a certain situation, but instead as a relationship set on a polemical plane which will create an opportunity for possible co-existence.
Natali Rajcinovska Pavleska is an independent researcher in the field of contemporary art practices, art criticism and theory. She graduated from the Faculty of Architecture, Skopje (2006), defending her thesis: context analysis and project “Center for Performing and Visual Arts”, MNT Plateau, Skopje. She received her Master’s Degree at the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje, at the Institute of Art History and Archeology, Module Contemporary Art, defending her dissertation: “Conceptual Art in the Work of Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys and Art & Language from the Beginning to the End of the 20th Century. Since 2018, she is a PhD candidate in Transdisciplinary Studies of Contemporary Art and Media in Interdisciplinary Studies at the Faculty of Media and Communications, University of Belgrade, Serbia. Her research incorporates a transdisciplinary analytical approach, often in relation to current theoretical streams and literary reference systems, through the intersection of contemporary artistic practices and diverse social and institutional contexts. She is an author of various art reviews, introductions to art books and catalogs of group and solo exhibitions, as well as a part of the curatorial team that developed and implemented the concept for presenting the Republic of Macedonia at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016, with the project “No man’s land”.
To Fail Better: Curating beyond political representation politics of representation by Jovanka Popova
What is the input of social clashes in the process of identifying blind spots and failures of cultural effectiveness? Can the term “curating” be a notion of social solidarity or a way of materializing various political agendas? Can curatorial practice open “a space for a different way of coexistence, a space for revolutions, creation of new order out of the disorder.” The inability to deal with the “disease” confronted us with the fact of characterizing everything that is “fragile, weak, different” as “less valuable” with the intention of justifying violent systemic oppression. Hence, the presentation refers to the possibilities on which curatorial practices restructure chrononormative logics that is subjected to the needs of profitability and governance; the ways in which institutions reformulate their ethical and political views and structures; ie the ways in which they reconsider resistance from the perspective of those which are weak, deviant or unacceptable, with the possibility of creating visual languages outside of representative politics. The accent is given upon engagement and participation as a reflection of imperfections of finding creative strategies for survival in the
process of compensating with the conditions of “participation”. Hence, “to fail better” refers to the potential for self-empowerment that enables the transformation of failed dominant norms in culture, health, processes in society in general.
Jovanka Popova is a curator and program coordinator at Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje in Skopje and Press to Exit Project Space, organization for contemporary art and curatorial practices. She is a PHD candidate at Faculty of Media and Communication, Singidunum University in Belgrade,Serbia. She has curated exhibitions in the contemporary art field in North Macedonia and worked on international curatorial projects. She was the curator of the North Macedonian Pavilion at 58 Venice Biennale in 2019. She has also presented her work at the Humboldt University, Central European University Budapest, Goethe University Frankfurt, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, KunstHistorisches Institut, Florence, Bahcesehir University, Istanbul, Trondheim Academy of Fine Arts and other institutions. She was executive director of JADRO Association of the independent cultural scene, North Macedonia and she is a president of the Macedonian Section of the AICA International Association of Art Critics.
15.09.2020 Kabadayas concert – Kontrapunkt (kontrapunkt-mk.org)
15.09.2020 Tropes of the vulnerability – Kontrapunkt (kontrapunkt-mk.org)
16.09.2020 Political Aesthesis – Kontrapunkt (kontrapunkt-mk.org)
17.09.2020 Death & Sexuality – Kontrapunkt (kontrapunkt-mk.org)
18.09.2020 Prolegomena for one communitative engagement – Kontrapunkt (kontrapunkt-mk.org)