Terra, Kikinda: How a local artist used home turf to create a world’s best terracotta art collection

As a twenty-something third year student at Belgrade’s art Academy in 1960s, Slobodan Kojić dreamt big. A Kikinda native, he envisaged creating an art colony which would make use of his native city’s clay pits – which powered the city’s brick and roof tile industry – so artists could create majestic, grandiose works of terracotta. The use or clay in the arts in what is … Continue reading Terra, Kikinda: How a local artist used home turf to create a world’s best terracotta art collection

The Consolation of Hypertrophy: Samuel Fussell’s “Muscle: Confessions of the unlikely bodybuilder” by Samuel Wilson Fussell

Reading Camille Paglia’s essays in  “Sex, Art and American Culture”, I came across a book that very much appealed to me, especially given that I only became passionate about going to the gym on the cusp of my 30s. She gave it the highest praise, in her own characteristic way: “Muscle, sympathetically read as an archetypal hero saga of embattled masculinity, exposes the parochialism, preachiness, … Continue reading The Consolation of Hypertrophy: Samuel Fussell’s “Muscle: Confessions of the unlikely bodybuilder” by Samuel Wilson Fussell

Dejan Milićević: King of Yugoslav 90s Camp and Colour

Ever since MTV started airing non-stop music videos in 1980s, Yugoslav pop stars were keen to embrace the style and creativity of the medium. From the get go there were many creative attempts with the format from very arty and conceptual videos of VIS Idoli to sexy  high production videos to Lepa Brena’s songs. Slovenian controversial art-band Laibach’s video for Life is Life even managed … Continue reading Dejan Milićević: King of Yugoslav 90s Camp and Colour

Art though Politics: “Hitler and the power of Aesthetics”, Frederic Spotts

Imagine a state where the government works hard not only to build crucial infrastructure projects but to elevate the tastes of the people through lavish funding of the arts and protects them from contemporary kitsch. A country where every larger town would have an opera and which would invest in making its citizens healthy and joyful through various initiatives. A country led by a ruler … Continue reading Art though Politics: “Hitler and the power of Aesthetics”, Frederic Spotts

Serbia and Yugoslavia at the World Fairs (1): 1885-1939

Ever since the world was sufficiently globalised to allow for a common cultural language of admiration for technology and industry in mid-19th century, there have been expositions which allowed every country to show their might, progress and peculiarity on the world stage. It all started with the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace of 1851, inside the Hyde Park, which dazzled the inhabitants of the … Continue reading Serbia and Yugoslavia at the World Fairs (1): 1885-1939

Gradually, then suddenly: “And just like that…” review

!Spoilers ahead! It was my Dad who got me into Sex and City.  As it started airing on B92, the purveyor off all things Western in the early 2000s, post-Milosević Serbia, my Dad lauded it as an instruction manual of not only the sexual and social mores of the day in the West, whereas I, just entering my teenage years, liked the title. Needless to … Continue reading Gradually, then suddenly: “And just like that…” review

Lust for lustracija

Pre par meseci sam bio deo grupe sa pametnijim, finijim i pristojnim ljudima od mene, i jedan od naših zadataka je bio da zamilsimo idelanu budućnost Srbije, u kojoj je ona oslobođena bilo kakvih stega, što unutrašnjih, što spoljašnjih. U tom, nažalost ne preterano izglednom, scenariju vrlo nalik na onaj opevan u Lenonovom Imagine, je bilo sve moguće: svetske sile su se dogovorile da puste … Continue reading Lust for lustracija

Belgrade Post-Modern: Ruins at the End of History

“The only way for us to become great, or even inimitable if possible, is to imitate the ancients.” Johann Joachim Winckelmann  “As is the case with the weather: rain and storms from the West reached us and so did Postmodernism. At the very beginning of Postmodernism, a great conference was held in Zagreb on that topic, which identified vectors and positive values ​​of the movement … Continue reading Belgrade Post-Modern: Ruins at the End of History

Culture War, Yugoslav style: Remembering 1971 Congress of Cultural Action

In this year of many big anniversaries – 80 years since the beginning of WWII in Serbia, 60 years since Ivo Andrić received the Nobel Prize for „The Bridge over the Drina“ – there is a strange silence about one of the most interesting event in Serbian culture which now celebrates its 50th anniversary: the 1971 Congress of Cultural Action n Kragujevac.   The Congress … Continue reading Culture War, Yugoslav style: Remembering 1971 Congress of Cultural Action

Darkness of “Enlightened”

Just as I was modishly repeating Red Scare-induced pieties that truly great pop culture is dead, the White Lotus hit HBO. Nuanced and openhearted as truly great satire should be, it brought back hope that there can be incisive social commentary that does not want to be didactic, but leaves the viewer to assess and re-assess their views of class and personal relationships. This of … Continue reading Darkness of “Enlightened”

Bor u Veneciji, Moderni u Beogradu

“Osmi kilometar” je postavka koja predstavlja Srbiju na ovogodišnjem Bijelanu Arhitekture u Veneciji, i koja se bavi jedinstvenim nasleđem grada Bora, ali i izazovima sa kojima se on susreće. Autori postavke su Moderni u Beogradu, grupa arhitekata entuzijastičnih da predstave naše modernističko nasleđe, i sa Snežanom Zlatković i Daliom Dukanac sam razgovarao o Boru, Veneciji, ulogom i promocijom arhitekture i zašto entuzijazam ima limite.  Podržite … Continue reading Bor u Veneciji, Moderni u Beogradu

RETVRN: Remembering the Serbian Middle Ages

One of the most commonly heard, yet, as it often happens, misattributed, Churchill quotes about the Balkans is that its nations „produce more history than they can consume“, always irritated me for both of its condescending and exoticizing attitude. What is that makes Balkan history so indigestible? Isn’t it the case that it is hardly only the Balkan people’s who shaped this region’s history (and … Continue reading RETVRN: Remembering the Serbian Middle Ages

They don’t (re)make them like they used to: Yugoslav covers of foreign hits through the ages

Although the now globally ubiquitous charges of “cultural appropriation”, have been a staple of inter-ethnic relations in the Balkans since times immemorial (especially when nations insist on their protochronism), they have never stopped the willingness of local musicians to draw from foreign music to create local hits which became treated as local folk songs. This phenomenon was best described in a 2003 Bulgarian documentary, “Whose … Continue reading They don’t (re)make them like they used to: Yugoslav covers of foreign hits through the ages

We love you, our Fatherland: Yugoslav and Serbian Popular and Official Anthems

The past two centuries of Serbian and Yugoslav national movements might have produced a lot of pain and suffering, but they also did create some cool music. Here are my favourite official and unofficial anthems of Serbia and Yugoslavia, which can still bring a tear to my eye. 9. Zemljo moja (To my country) – Ambasadori, 1975 Apparently one of Tito‘s favourite songs, “Zemljo moja” … Continue reading We love you, our Fatherland: Yugoslav and Serbian Popular and Official Anthems

The Summer of Pod 2020: My Favourite Podcasts

As my podcast, Pokretači, is taking a summer break, I decided to give a little list of the best podcasts that I followed in the past few years. Although my tastes vary from more normie uplifting self-enhancement (or whatever is the current euphemism for self-help) to relatively dour discussions of current politics, one thing that ties these shows is that they did open my imagination … Continue reading The Summer of Pod 2020: My Favourite Podcasts

VIS Idoli and Subversion in the 1980s SFRY

Opinion on Yugoslav pop music among Serbia’s intellectual elite oscillates between breathless adoration (in 1990s, when it was a sign of being “educated” against the onslaught of the ovelry maligned folk and turbofolk) to disgust (currently liking EKV, let alone Bijelo Dugme,  is considered a sure sign of pseudointellectualism and/or smarm) and back to ironic appreciation (Zdravko Čolić and Bajaga). As Yugopop was the soundtrack … Continue reading VIS Idoli and Subversion in the 1980s SFRY

Celebrating Workers in Belgrade’s Public Art

As Serbia and Yugoslavia moved towards a more industrial economy in 1930s and 40s the industrial workers, who had a rough time during the capitalist monarchy in Yugoslavia, started being celebrated in its arts. Although celebration of the life workers was most famously depicted by artists with socialist sensibilities such as Đorđe Andrejević Kun, whose album of prints Bloody Gold, depicted rapacious capitalism, idealised workers … Continue reading Celebrating Workers in Belgrade’s Public Art

Why so dense?

The current pandemic, as insane as it is, highlighted problems of dense, large cities, where sharing tight public spaces is the only way of survival. From public transport carriages to lifts in high rises, we cannot escape density and the risks it brings. On top of that, the race to density, in making housing and facilities ever tighter, and more cost-efficient for their owners has … Continue reading Why so dense?

Magic of Epiphany in Serbia

The Feast of Epiphany, which according to the Julian calendar falls on January 19, is the day with some of the most colourful rituals in Serbia as it marks the end of Christmastide. Given it is the day when, according to the New Testament, Jesus’s divine mission became apparent to the masses after his baptism in the river Jordan, most of the folk rituals surrounding … Continue reading Magic of Epiphany in Serbia