Living in the region of South Eastern Europe means that you have to develop some kind of acceptance for new geographical terms, new histories and new reinterpretations very often, even too often. They are in constant change… and reshaping modes…
For that reason this region is a favorable ground for many theoreticians. Theory is usually very promising and affirmative oriented while practice can simply stray into another direction for some reasons that won’t be my subject here.
Photo: Ana Adamovic (c)
Anyway, thanks to many artists with strong need to reflect and deal with social and political issues; and even to change something in a very practical manner (which was partly covered in one of my previous entries: the example of Culture_on_Tour project), you may even think that there is still a hope left that younger people maybe won’t be affected with it in a way older generations has had.
One really radial example of such approach with everyday real problems is NGO Kiosk from Belgrade. Kiosk is for some time a focus of my interests mainly because of their photography project ‘Communication’ (from 2005) and the Land Of Promises (2007/08).
Recently they have started to work on their new regional project entitled The Culture Lobby, An Archive Of Cultural Memory – “a participatory and multi-format archive that will examine cultural memory in the process of EU integration in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) by documenting photographically what citizens think will change or disappear when their territory joins the EU, and marking the geographical location of each example with GPS technology. The project aims to initiate inter-regional dialogue about the process of cultural change (seen through the immediate lens of EU accession) and entrenched regional preconceptions by assigning artists to collect the subjective views of citizens in a participating country that is not their own.
Photo: Blerta Ilazi / NGO Kiosk (c)
The photographs created during this phase will become the basis of an archive of future memories of a particular moment in this region’s history, crucially providing local citizens the opportunity to participate in the creation of an alternative cultural history as an artwork in itself. The results will be produced and publicly presented online as an archive, a book, an international exhibition and a downloadable GPS map with which people will be encouraged to navigate the artwork (and thus the region) physically, enabling them to see for themselves if the phenomenon or locale that someone deemed culturally relevant has, indeed, disappeared or changed.”
Seems pretty interesting, I’m just hoping that the final results won’t be static despite the GPS mapping included in the project.
Well, it’s really hard not to bring in memory the Israeli Center for Digital Art whose team has made several projects within the same framework by exploring, documenting, presenting and debating many social and political issues which could be seen through photography, computer games, video art, language, etc…
Photo: Nizama Bruncevic / NGO Kiosk (c)
I believe Kiosk will stay at the same track cause that’s the reason why I like their projects… being directly oriented to practice…