Snapshots in Belgrade

The Yugoslav Museum of History in Belgrade, also known as Museum 25th of May, is now hosting the 52nd October Salon It’s Time We Get To Know Each Other.

The curators, Israeli artist Galit Eilat and Slovenian curator Alenka Gregoric, use as a starting point Milgram’s simulation experiment on obedience towards authorities and want to catalyse a discussion on obedience, social responsibility, conformism and dis-obedience. The artists chosen all refer to the topic of what we, human beings, are willing to do when we think we are not responsible.

25th of May is former Yugoslav dictator Tito’s birthday and the Museum was planned to be his Memorial Centre where he would collect all the things he collected in his life; records, paper, art work. He is buried just behind the Museum. One art piece by Nemanja Cvijanovic’s Paying my Electricity Bill is a heated replica of the grave of Tito and refers to parts of history that cannot be erased.

The independent cultural scene that I meet is spurring and generous. Interesting organizations like the cultural house and European Center for Culture and Debate Grad down by the river Sava, and Rex placed in an old synagogue, both aim to debate contemporary topics relevant in Serbian and European society. While Rex is a laboratory for research of new fields of culture, Grad provides design and art space, run projects, and have a small stage for debates and performances.

Rex also runs the Free Zone Film Festival, an international filmfestival running this week. In his film A letter to dad, Serbian film-maker Srdan Keca searches for answers of why his father choose to die. He writes a letter to his dead father as he looks back to try understand what happened. In his interviews with his uncle, the father’s old friend, his mother; going through photos and films from the past; a story of a life interrupted by war unfolds. It relates back to the exhibition. How could it happen?

Other initiatives is the Monday Club, arranged by the Swedish Embassy and Museum of Science and Technology within the project Creative Society. Each Monday during the fall a Swedish and Serbian manager, professor, leader meet to share experience and knowledge from running an organization, setting up an initiative, or research on stage at six o’clock. This form of seminar has become quite popular among artists, cultural entrepreneurs and managers, as well as among university professors.

Wherever you turn on this independent cultural scene in Belgrade, in these few snapshots, you meet people educated at the MA Cultural Policy and Management at University of Arts in Belgrade. Many witness how important the training programme has been to build a strong independent scene in Serbia. During the conference on Management of culture and media in the knowledge society challenges in cultural management and the role of internationalization are addressed. It would also be interesting to discuss the role of these educations in strengthening an independent cultural scene in society.

Download the intervention from Nätverkstan here:belgrade_conference2011.pdf.




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