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

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