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

How Ivan Meštrović brought the Kosovo Myth to life

In 1911, Ivan Meštrović, a Croatian sculptor raised in Dalmatian backwater and educated in Vienna, who was hailed as one of the greatest of his generation and a successor to Rodin,  caused the first of many political stirs in his life. Instead of exhibiting his monumental, secession-inspired works to show the glory and grandeur of the imperial Austro-Hungary during the 1911 international art exhibition in … Continue reading How Ivan Meštrović brought the Kosovo Myth to life

Hidden Belgrade (42): Art for The People!

Public art in Belgrade is back in fashion with many ambitious projects completed and planned. They range from the sculptural/architectural collaboration between Turner prize-winning Richard Deacon and widely acclaimed local sculptor Mrđan Bajić to the future gigantic monument to  the founder of the most successful of Serbian medieval states, Stefan Nemanja, made by the acclaimed Russian sculptor Alexander Rukavishnikov. There have also recently been two … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (42): Art for The People!

The Diary of Diana Budisavljević – Review

The best thing about The Diary of Diana Budisavljević (styled for international audiences without those confusing Slavic last names as “The Diary of Diana B.”) is that this film was made at all, considering all the various barriers to this story being told. Its titular character, Diana Budisavljević (nee Obexer) has only recently become recognised as an unsung heroine of the very bloody WWII in … Continue reading The Diary of Diana Budisavljević – Review

Pokretači #57 Dr Ana Russell-Omaljev – Contemporary Balkan Art / London

Dr Ana Russell-Omaljev o radu na promociji kreativaca sa Balkana u Londonu kroz Contemporary Balkan Art (CoBA) i naporima da se percepcija našeg regiona ispravi kroz sjajnu umetnost koja se ovde stvara. CoBA takodje organizuje Southeast European Future Festival čije je najskorije izdanje bilo u septembru 2019-e u Rich Mix kulturnom centru u Shoreditch-u. Beleške Anina knjiga o identitetima u Srbiji Divided We Stand: Discourses … Continue reading Pokretači #57 Dr Ana Russell-Omaljev – Contemporary Balkan Art / London

Rediscovering the Magic of the Gusle

The first time I heard live gusle singing, a UNESCO-protected Serbian national ritual, was not fortuitous. I was fifteen, and my stern Serbian teacher took our High School class to a local library to hear poems and stories written by fellow high-schoolers. The boredom of this dreary event was somewhat lifted when one guy decided to perform his longish poem, written in traditional decasyllabic verses, … Continue reading Rediscovering the Magic of the Gusle

Ezra Koenig and the Incredible Buffness of Being

If there is something like a leitmotif to the last two Vampire Weekend albums it would be “I don’t want to live like this… but I don’t wanna die”. It first appeared in the middle of their relatively dark third album, Modern Vampires of the City, on the multi-layered, feverish “Finger Back” and then reappeared on the deceptively sunny, deeply political “Harmony Hall” the, lead … Continue reading Ezra Koenig and the Incredible Buffness of Being

20 Yugosphere songs from 2010s that you have to hear before 2020

As the last summer of 2010s is slowly coming to an end, I thought that it was a high time for a listicle celebrating songs from countries of ex-Yugoslavia that marked the past decade for me. I don’t want to claim that they are the best songs made in the past decade in the region, nor a fair representation of what is going on on … Continue reading 20 Yugosphere songs from 2010s that you have to hear before 2020

Interesting Times at the Venice Biennale

Through a set of lucky circumstances and generosity on part of a friend of mine, I found myself at an event which I wanted to visit for a long while: preview of the Venice Art Biennale. It was on my radar ever since I became interested in the fascinating workings of the world of contemporary art and I actively yearned to visit after reading Geoff … Continue reading Interesting Times at the Venice Biennale

Abramović, Žižek and Milanović: Yugoslavia’s First and Last Global Public Intellectuals

For a country that’s been dead for almost thirty years and whose contributions to the world, according to the Western prestige-press range from German Nazism to  Islamophobia in Australia it may be surprising that in the past few years, a number of Yugoslav intellectuals seem to have charmed their Western peers, and to be giving their fair share of insights into the current malaise that … Continue reading Abramović, Žižek and Milanović: Yugoslavia’s First and Last Global Public Intellectuals

‘Nemanjici’: the Show that United Serbia

A recent survey by IPSOS showed that Serbia is the world’s most divided society among 27 countries around the world that were included in the study. Some 93 per cent of Serbians agree that Serbia is fairly or very divided, compared to “only” 84 per cent of Americans or 75 per cent of the French. Given the country’s relative ethnic homogeneity and lack of immigration, … Continue reading ‘Nemanjici’: the Show that United Serbia

Ederlezi Rising (2018) Review

A Serbian low-budget sci-fi film  featuring a renowned adult entertainer in the role of an android designed to help (and pleasure) her astronaut/operator on the trip to Alpha Centauri, sounds like something that could, at best, aspire to be a cult-classic taken apart by trash-movie enthusiasts like Mystery Science Theatre 3000, or, at worst, languish in the depths of IMDB’s Bottom 100, only occasionally drawing … Continue reading Ederlezi Rising (2018) Review

Serbian New Year: the perfect time to start appreciating Turbofolk

The extended holiday season in Serbia finally ends with a bang and a hangover on Serbian New Year’s day, on January 14. Like our belated Christmas, it is a consequence of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s continued adherence to the old Julian calendar, which lags 13 days behind the predominantly used Gregorian calendar. Unlike Christmas, Serbian New Year’s eve is a very raucous affair and a … Continue reading Serbian New Year: the perfect time to start appreciating Turbofolk

Pokretači 1.16 ARTEZ

ARTEZ iliti Andrej Žikić se bavi uličnom umetnošću od 2003. Sada njegovi nadrealni murali krase zidove širom sveta: od Urugvaja do Finske, i od Indije do Brazila. Andrej je podelio svoj fascinantan transkontinentalni put od 14. Beogradske gimnazije, preko Arhitektonskog Fakulteta do učešća na svetskim StreetArt festivalima. Beleške Behance profil Sanje Milanov StreetSmart Belgrade Andrejev profil o nomadskom životu Street art umetnici: ARYZ Vhils Theic … Continue reading Pokretači 1.16 ARTEZ