Memory of Recent AVANGARDA, Does it Spell ‘Resistance’?

Memory of Recent AVANGARDA, Does it Spell ‘Resistance’?
It is interesting to notice that wherever I lived, I have always felt as a refugee: an artist in an inner, as much as an outer exile. True, no one has ever forced me to leave my homeland, former Yugoslavia as I had left it out of my own free will that distant 1980. I was neither Nabokov, nor Joseph Brodsky or Soljenitsyn. However, the merciless hand of High Capitalism has also ruled my country, our schools and our artists and intellectuals and all of us have felt its rude consequences even under the reign of Tito. As I’m walking among the sleepy bodies of the Syrian refugees in a Belgrade’s bus station park, trying to address all my human and performative efforts towards the Other, my whole life appears suddenly on a stretcher in front of my eyes, and here comes a question: have I ever left this place where my grandmother founded the Serbian branch of the Red Cross, and where my grandfather was hiding the Bakuninists under his roof, on their way from Russia to the United States? Here, questions such as “Is art still possible?” and “what is its current, ‘disappearing’ form?”, have never occurred to me, nor the questions about the true meaning of resistance or its absence or presence in everyone’s life. The answers to these questions would impose themselves on me quite naturally. Let me dig into some fitting examples of the artistic practices that will help to illustrate my quandary.
In a specific procedure of combining the modeled and “already-made” elements pertinent to his work, a sculptor, Zoran Joksimović combines a porcelain leg, a bath-tub and machine oil to form a sculpture (I Remember) which uses abjectness as a self-reflective act of a traumatic memory exploring its effects in a material and metaphorical image of a fragmented body. (Sretenović, The Journey Through the Pictures and the Phantasms of the 1990s) Was it Hal Foster who, discussing the “abject art” was also discussing the “vulnerability of our borders, the fragility of the spatial distinction between our exterior and the interior, bringing the concept of self into a crisis through the cut of the dismantled body whose chopped off member now independently follows its own ‘game of chess,’ towards its own path of disappearance instead of the subject. However, may we conclude that such a traumatic cut is productive because it evacuates and raises the subject, showing us that the totality is an illusion which does not hold in practice or that confirms its existence only in multiplicity, in a dynamic interaction of the whole and its segments?
I hesitate to say that the whole He-story of the so-called recent Eastern European art could be interpreted as an extended metaphor for the question which we have raised above here, however, some of its most illustrious representatives, the most resilient and the bravest ones, certainly attest to its existence, to the acts of humanity and inhumanity to which this art has responded at the very end of the 20th and the very beginning of this 21st century.
Let me take a look at a certain She-story: Before the Matthew Akers film with Marina Abramović entitled The Artist is Present (2013) there was Balkan Baroque (1999), a film by Pierre Coulibeuf where Marina, as the artist, was not present. As if her body remained in her filmed performance Biography, but her mind was certainly elsewhere, recovering from the political events in her homeland which happened during the 1990s. In the latter film, at a certain point she is laying in her white bed, her head covered with the snow of memories as she is asking a panicky question “And Neša? What is happening with Neša?”2 This profound worry for a fellow-artist, friend, cousin and the big Other, who stayed in the ‘Inner Exile’ reflected the traumatic cut which remained an unhealed wound in the body of the artists who left Tito’s Yugoslavia during the 1980s. Soon after, many of us were forced into the political exile during the Milošević’s “Serbian reign of terror” which stretched during the 1990s when the only sane artistic activities could be brought under the common denominators of political, subversive art and resistance. Many of the artists, writers, performers, film-makers, musicians and composers had transferred their bodies to the new, welcoming countries but their “head,” that is their spirit remained in their homeland, among the bombshells and under the acid rains formed by the broken uranium bombs.
I left Serbia in the beginning of the 1980s but I left my family, thus a part of my body, in Serbia where my nephew, Dragan Živančević, became a co-founder (with Nikola Džafo) of the most virulent resistance art group, LEDArt who performed numerous radical social actions, events and performances against Milošević’s regime in the1990s.3
In my “Outer Exile,” I was accompanied by a good crowd of fellow-artists who shared my daily dread in the very heart of neoliberalism. As a performance and poetry editor to the legendary East Village Eye (1982-1985) I encountered numerous examples of artistic courage and resistance to the last stages of High Capitalism in its revolting agony. The gallery space had become too small to house the expression of these deeply cutting historic times which made artists turn to the theatrical, thus showing their yearning for the brutal and the real that had paved the ‘street’ which accordingly became a new installational space for the artistic happening, event and action.
Dragan Ilić, Vesna Golubović and their Fashion Moda graffiti people were turning the city into their technological playground; Vesna Victoria, Zoran Grebenarović, myself, we were giving our post-punk performances “out on a limb,” and the flower of the Yugoslav music scene—Drak, the frontman of the Glass Bead Game and Ljuba Djukić of the Electric Orgasm, together with Firči and Beške (of Dirty Green) were giving improvised concerts at the CBGB’s and in various Brooklyn ‘dives’. The private and spiritual (as in Vlasta Volcano’s appropriations of Byzantine icons) had landed on leather jackets and became public property. Much later, in 1991, Volcano abandoned his Suprematist’s yearnings and produced “Shadows” a huge installational sculpture or the most moving testimony to the absence of the Other, exemplified in burnt truck tyres hanging from a ceiling and which evoked dead bodies in absentia, thus making all of us artists metaphorically speaking disappear in a common grave ( Živančević 1994).4
We were all mapped out as the “Aliens,” alien citizens in New York, by a LED ART photographer, Vladimir Radojčić who took photos of 72 artists in exile, all of us with naked torsos whereas the corresponding bodies, naked from the waist to toe, were supplied in Serbia, represented by those artists who remained in the country. We all formed one body, buried in some inner or outer jail. All these actions were executed much earlier before Marina Abramović came to town, and earlier than she showed her installational work and a performance «Cleaning of the House», presented at the Venice Biennale in 1997, in Germano Celan’s pavilion as she had no right to clean the ox’s bones evoking corpses as a former Serbian artist living in Netherlands, and later in New York, therefore a displaced person sharing an artistic non lieu with the rest of us (Živančević, 2010).5
The artist with whom I shared most of the local artistic and social awareness in those heavy times is Victoria Vesna whose art has always inspired a certain melancholy of thinking as its special quality brings us back to ourselves, to the innermost house in us, the dwelling of poetry. She grew up in New York City where she attended different art schools and where she, somewhat like Abramović, has become what we call a multidisciplinary artist. One of her performances that I saw last in New York in the late 1980s was her commentary on Freud, entitled “Sometimes the cigar—is simply just a cigar.” It was an anti-racist, pro-Cuban performance. Victoria has always known how to enter the core of a certain problem by placing it into a certain ethical-political frame. The musician who left the biggest impact on her was a punk artist Alan Vega from “the Suicide” who was pushing to the extreme his idiosyncratic, political and anarchist messages on his synthesizer. Back in New York in 1985, Victoria started doing very radical performances; angry at the general devaluation and commercialisation of art and artists in the East Village, she did a performance which condemned such politics. As the gallery “12 x 12 inches” was charging the artists who would exhibit their work there with 20 dollars per hour, she entitled her performance “12×12 inches = 20 dollars.”
For Victoria Vesna the awareness of space has always been a crucial element in her art as she sees it as a natural outcome of her work. She has always worked simultaneously on paintings and sculpture, but she has continuously been concerned about the showing space that was not just decorum but the matrix of a given project. In her own, natural way she has arrived at “the ambient performance” which she considers a certain category that she developed during the late 1980s. This specific theatrical and visual performance genre has helped her work go beyond the traditional scholarly and academic concepts which tend to burden art in general. Since the 1990s on, Victoria has been exploring a new artistic genre, an interdisciplinary section that borders on science and science fiction that is called “Nanology.” This artwork implies the creation of the multidimensional world, both imaginary and imaginative in the domain of nano technology. In the world of “nano” poetics, the art, science and technology meet in a virtual space and offer us a relational experiment that allows the public to participate and create their own reality out of the exhibited elements. And, although such an experiment is to be encountered in a physical space, the interaction between a spectator and the object changes the place in an imaginative way that invites everyone to create his own ‘Imaginary Museum.’ In her project “Bodies@Incorporated,” Vesna evokes the ethical role of a spectator/participant who ceases to be a simple viewer of an artistic and existentialist process but rather an active agent of change. Her works such as “Blue Morph” and “Water Bowls” represent a sort of existential outcry against the damage and destruction that our planet undergoes as Vesna tries to raise the desperate question, “where do we come from?” followed by the other inevitable one “where do we go from here?” The spectators are invited to watch in silence the bowls being filled with clear water, then with dirty water, then polluted with oil and petrol, then with plastic. Here a visitor is politically invited to join a virtual and futile game of the geographical and national identification – as he is asked to identify himself as an admirer of the Nile, of the Ganges or a fan of the Atlantic Ocean. This raises yet other questions that are extremely pertinent, namely as to which water do we belong to, or if we belonged to a certain water, would we find the same water in our body, the water which qualifies the essence of our being?

In one of my first performances which I gave in the early 1980s, I tried to raise a similar question which underlines the score of every humane artistic investigation: If we are to start cleaning our house and our cage from an overall influx of dirt and destruction, shouldn’t we commence doing it firstly with our planet, globally, and then slowly move into our own backyard (Živančević 1982)? Applying different artistic-philosophical and ecocritical methods which had come to us naturally, as all of us, the artists from so-called “Outer Exiles” and those who stayed in the country, in their Inner Jails, shows that we wanted to produce the worthwhile socially engaged answers to the Serbian despotic governmental orders and requests; the Frankfurt School located them outside of Germany, the Russian auteurs sort of found them in their eternal exiles, but what was happening with “Nesha”? What was happening in our homeland devastated by isolation, socio-economic troubles, and tarned by the ethical amnesia by the end of the 20th century when the wars had become virtual and quasi anonymous? In a situation when the entire social world is filled with an entropy process, that is, “collective disruption of vitality through which the energies of the vital stray into sympathy with the catastrophic, apocalyptic and violent-spectacular” (Sloterdijk, The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as a Practice), the question of the relay of orientation of the artistic subject became crucially important, for there were no longer any social guarantees of existential safety and of the purposefulness of professional activities. The most vital factors of contemporary art meant that what is usually referred to as “the mainstream” abroad functioned in Serbia as an “alternative” to the hegemonic cultural paradigm, even though its protagonists were mostly academically educated artists, with the exception of a certain number of artists who belonged to the rock and techno sub-culture, alternative social movements, the digital demo scene etc. Also, this parallel field of art represented a part of the not-so-large civil counter-public front, but being socially and politically marginalized (which is also to do with the general status of visual arts in Serbian culture), it was not exposed to repressive measures, as was the case with non- governmental organizations and the independent media, but was largely ignored and subjected to media censorship, that is, journalistic self-censorship.
Finally, numerous exponents of this scene such as Raša Todosijević, Milica Tomić, Association Apsolutno, Uroš Djurić, Tanja Ostojić, Biljana Djurdjević, Balint Szombathy, Zoran Naskovski, LED Art, Magnet, Mileta Prodanović, Mrdjan Bajić, Neša Paripović—to name but a few—at the same time achieved a considerable reputation on the international scene, but this was barely registered by the domestic cultural public, so that it did not in any way contribute to a change in their social status. In other words, the relationship between what Pierre Bourdieu calls “the symbolic capital market,” which establishes a system of purely aesthetic, non-utilitarian exchange between the artist and the recipient, and “the economic capital market,” which commodifies symbolic goods (and provides artists with a social status), was not established at all, and even the very symbolic value of this art was denied by aggressive art market brokers who promoted small-town pictorial sentimentalism and the so-called “kitsch-fantasy” (as exemplified in ‘turbo-folk’ local scene) as the dominant code of the contemporary art production.
The place of art as a locus of symbolic differentiation could be exposed to the advance of the real only in those situations when it was exteriorized in the public space as a place of direct political contestation, thereby losing the prerogative of socio-political irrelevance. What I refer to here is the symptomatic example of the arrest of the artist and political activist Nune Popović (Magnet), who defended himself before the police saying that he was an artist, whereby he unconsciously stated the premise of irrelevance (the “innocence” of an artistic act), demonstrating at the same time the evidence of a personal stake when it came to the artistic tactics of occupying the public space. And though the public sphere, owing to the activities of many groups and individuals (actionist/ ‘Situationist’ tactics of political disturbance or real sabotage by the groups like Led Art and Magnet, distribution of printed matters by Škart group, site-specific projects by Association Apsolutno and others) represented an important domain of political statements of artists, most interventions operated on the level of the symbolic producing subversive signs without the excesses of political disturbance that would constitute a provocation of the imaginary of the regime.
What is said here for the artistic praxis and its strategies dominant in the 1990s, the most politically and overtly painful period for Serbia’s recent history, unfortunately applies to the current art activities of today; after the brief reign of Djindjic’s democracy, we find today the same ultra-nationalist and right-oriented government forces at work. As the result of such a situation, the very question whether the recent subversive avant-garde practices have taught anything of the emancipatory value both the social art practitioners and their public, remains still unanswered. The tendency of every society to close its doors to the so-called progress tends not to be a small negligible tendency of the contemporary world fed on austerity and greed for power. I am inclined to continue my own poetry performances as many other artists who feel that they have no place to settle but in their perpetuum mobile, just to go. Many of us have felt already, for decades, that we have been refugees in an art field of our own respective territories—the neoliberal world of high capitalism has been the one where the art sites host only the merchant, or a benevolent but powerful curator who has the last word in the “art game.” In such a situation, the issue of the real, geographical territory became secondary to many of us. However, many marginalized artists, be it the Eastern Europeans, the Americans, or the Palestinians, simply continue to create worlds of their own. In such a situation, I am wondering if we truly need to emphasize the term “resistance.” Does it need a new definition as a comprehensive term or have we been redefining it and coining it as we go along?
1. Here I am using the Serbo-Croatian term for the word ‘Avant Garde’ which also encompasses all the terms of the taxonomy or paradigms for recent and contemporary artists’ activities in that part of so-called Eastern Europe.
2. Neša Paripović, one of the most radical conceptual artists in Serbia who also started the New Avant Garde movement with Marina Abramović, Zoran Popović, Georgij Urkom, Raša Todosijević and Evgenija Demnievska in the Student Cultural Center in Belgrade during the 1970s, was also Marina’s first husband.
3. See Led Art, Documents of times 1993-2003, Multimedijalni centar LED ART, Novi Sad (Now under the auspices of Art Klinika) and Samizdat B92, Beograd 2004. The
7 Postcolonial Text Vol 12, No 3 & 4 (2017)
publication saw the light of day under Zoran Djindjić’s democrat government but as the political situation has been gradually deteriorating under the present government many citizens deem the experience of the LED Art collective still extremely pertinent as they hope that it continues to develop.
4. In the last issue of the legendary Belgrade magazine devoted to the visual media which I co-edited with Jerko Denegri I tried to map out parts of the then contemporary avant-garde East Village scene including the interviews and testimonies of the East European artists inhabiting the lieu.
5. In this short study I discuss the work of the exiled women artists from former Yugoslavia as the pillars of our new and contemporary avant-garde movements. These are Ljubinka Jovanovic, Kosara Bokšan, Marina Abramović, Evgenija Demnievska, Kirila Faeh, Vesna Victoria, Vesna Bajalska, Ljubica Mrkalj, Olivera Mejcen, Selena Vicković and Jelena Mišković.
Works Cited
The Artist is Present. Directed by Matthew Akers and Jeff Dupre, performances by Marina Abramovic, Ulay and Klaus Biesenbach, Show of Force, 2013.
Balkan Baroque. Directed by Pierre Coulibeuf, performances by Marina Abramovic, Michel Butor and Paolo Canevari, Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA), 1999.
Sretenović, Dejan. The Journey Through the Pictures and the Phantasms of the 1990s, in: On Normality, Art in Serbia 1989-2001, Muzej Savremene Umetnosti, 2005.
Sloterdijk, Peter, The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as a Practice, Trans. Karen Margolis. Columbia UP, 2012. Živančević, Nina, East Village (1980-1990), A Decade of Postmodern and Industrial Rococo. Moment, 1994.
Živančević, Nina (with Michaels, Abbe and Lerner, Eric): Our Ego of the Flowers, (homage to Jean Genet), Jo Papp’s Theater, NYC, 1982.
Živančević, Nina, Onze Femmes Artistes, Slaves et Nomades, Non Lieu, 2010.

Nina Živančević

Postcolonial Text, Vol 12, No 3 & 4 (2017)

Artwork by Evgenija Demnievska IN TIME 06; IN TIME 07



From conference K. A. T. Umetnost u obrazovanju: interakcije; Muzej savremene umetnosti Novi Sad, novembar 2017.

I started this conference with an excerpt from Jean Luc Godard’s film La Chinoise which discusses, among other things the problem of chopping off the idea of culture from its formal aspect which is its movement or action, culture in movement, which directly also implies teaching of culture and its presentation to people, to the masses. In Godard’s film two characters have a short dialogue on a train; one of them, the male figure declares that he would like to enable people to see the world the way it really is; he would not only like to enable them to see the world as such, but he would also like to make them able to act and react in such a world, in other words, he would like to enable the masses to contribute to the building, enlarging and improving the better world, which is , in a nutshell, the purpose of any form of school education. Godard’s character is situated in 1968 and he says right away that he would like to get away from his university job, that is, from the old notion of a university job where there is one omniscient teacher and the others are simply the “recipients” of knowledge. During their conversation the student and her philosophy teacher both conclude that there is something essentially wrong with the French university and that “something” is clearly the very system of education itself. (1:09:30, La Chinoise). The girl says that is is disgusted by the university courses as they are always presented in the manner of and following the rules of the ruling class. Thus the entire culture is seen exclusively through the eye-lense of the upper class and as such it is m ade to serve just that particular class. She suggests then to her professor to perform a terrorist action of setting the university on fire; they would bomb ank kill everyone in there, both students and teachers so that they would build a new university, some brave new world. There are few universities in the world which endorsed this Godard’s anarcho-Maoist vision of thefuture education , but quite a few had figured out that a lot of things should be changed both in education and in culture. The year was 1967 going to 1968.
However, quite recently someone hasd asked me to define culture. And to emphasize the difference between culture and savage behavioral practice. Of course, it is always hard to give answers to such complicated and vast questions, but I tried to give an answer, ad hoc. I said that anything which enlarges our
spirit, develops it and improves it, whatever opens up and widens our horizon
IS culture, and whatever makes us stupid, pushes us toward the mental straight
jacket and into the prison or an enclosure- is savage behavior and a barbaric act.
This statement could find its first and foremost application in arts; in the
institutions where people teach arts or where the arts figure as regular courses in
the yearly curriculum.
Everything that enlarges our horizons and introduces us into the very heart of
ARS-ARTIS, into its special realms/pockets, be it music, visual arts or
literature,every emancipatory movement towards ARTIS enlarges and educates
us, and all other movements are not able to do it. In fact, the problem that arises
here is that the art is TECHNE, something which we can teach to others but we
cannot teach it in the same way that we teach other scientific disciplines.
What we can teach to a group of non-initiated beginners or people interested in
an art is just history of that particular artistic discipline. We can interpret a
horizontal history of a given art, a certain geography of that history, as history
was also divided into different geographical regions- thus we can teach
“Spanish literature”, “Italian music” or some other field enhenced by the
vertical, chronological determining of that particular art (eg.we teach the Italian
Renaissance music, or Spanish Baroque literature). However, we do have
certain pretensions at informing the students of certain artistic practices which
were registered as such in certain regions in a given epoch or historic period.
What remains mostly imprinted in their mind is our effort to transmit the
knowledge which we believe corresponded to a particular epoch ; the process of
such transmission increases their artistic sensibility. Or, should I say- that is the
only work here- the teacher’s effort to heighten his students’ sensibility by
makeing them aware of the possibilities of a certain artistic practice, as we can
never be sure that our transmission would leave any other trace or result
At the Conservatory of Music- if you play samples of the Baroque music to
your students hoping that they would grasp the essence of the Baroque periodthis
practise seems the only valid one to pursue there, as, in fact, we can never
teach them how to compose a piece such as Paganini’s Cappricio. You cannot
even teach them how to perform Cappricios in the same way that their author
played them or the author’s contemporaries. The thing that they can grasp after a
long listening practise of the Baroque scores is that the Baroque scores are
always for a half tone or the entire tone lower than the scores composed in the
era of Impressionism. You can also invoke in the listeners an affection for that
music period or the awareness of the abandonment of certain compositional
norms in the Baroque compositions which follows an extensive listening
practise of Baroque music. You can also awaken their interest in Oriental scores
which are performed in the lower tonality system, in B minor, as we hear it with
Debussy or Bela Bartok. However, even if the students learn how to perform
these authors quite well, we cannot always expect their masterful interpretation
to attain the technical perfection and something that goes beyond it, an element
which soars above and beyond the technique and which people perhaps too
easily identify with “high art”.
Now I remember the day when I was preparing a poetry workshop for young
New York’s poets in mid 1980s. I asked a senior collegue, Charles Bernstein, to
give me his advice how to teach ARS POETICA to the students in the
workshop, he simply answered “You cannot really teach anyone the art of
writing; give your students the list of poets and writers who you liked to read
when you were of their age.” That was the best advice which I got from a
collegue in the domain of Art education but the advice was based on insisting
on the historic evidence of the written works of art. By insisting on the
historically oriented lists of the works of art, the beginner was able to discern
his own qualities from his insufficiences in the very act of writing (creative act
of any sort). The beginner was becoming aware not only of his own limitations
but also of his own abilities, of the necessity to imploy patience, this quality
being the foremost prerequisite to any artistic discipline. A German saying says
“Repetition (applied patience) makes the Master”, and aside from this, one can
attest the presence of extreme patience and militant discipline in all different
practises in arts, say like in the visual practises of our very own Marina
I moved all along in this discussion. I contemplated the option of a possibility
vs. impossibility of teaching arts a while ago; but today I know that is, I am
quite sure that one cannot teach art, just like that, ad hoc. Hic Rhodes his salta!
Or, as a renowened late poet Rasha Livada indicated in one of his glorious
poems “the teacher should never transmit the entire instructions to his student ,
that is- if he likes him.” Here, what he really meant was not only that he
believed in the total autonomy and ability of a human being to move on his
own, but also that a great quantity of any “transmittable”ARS-ARTIS material
is always veiled in a great Kabbalah-like initiation and secret thus it appears
more appropriate for the student to make an input and fathom the secret here by
using his proper strength. In a certain way, the teacher is there to announce the
secret and to indicate the possible paths of moving towards it, but his role
certainly does not consist of digesting the essence of the secret, handing it out
on a plate to his disciples. However, we are not talking about the matheme
formulas here, the “secrets” are beyond the formulas which we can learn by
heart. In fact, a greater part of that secret is left to an ocassional operation, a
guess or a serendipity which John Cage nicely named as chance operation.
I would like to emphasize the fact that for some good thirty-five years of
university teaching I have always avoided an opportunity to teach arts in their
creative learning outfit placed in an investigatory action. It is interesting to
notice that at the times when I was living in the so called West, that just in those
times these creative learning practices were coming into day and becoming
quite fashionable. As a former member of the Living Theater, I chose rather
teach the possible histories of Avant-garde theater(s), those European and the
American ones at the radical french university Paris 8, but I also tried some less
“avant-garde” universities where one could expect to hear teacher transmit the
legacy of Deleuze or Foucault rather than someone teach the straigth history of
the literary and theater avant-gardes.

However, for the final exam in the department of Theatrology I would persuade
my students to be extremely creative and include into their presentation of the
Avant-garde’s historical material their very own take on it. I insisted that for
their oral finals they perform an expression of their own, their personal
impression of an Avant-garde(s) by interpreting on their own the most
impressive moments which they treasured thus mastered in my course on the
Historic and the historical avant-gardes. I did not want them to recount the
stories about Antonin Artaud that we hear in special seminars devoted to his art
or the stories on Tadeuzs Kantor as I did not want- borrowing Kantor’s
expression here- to create a “dead class” neiother in theater nor in everyday life
which is the best stage indeed for any given creative action. As I was not
teaching them a specific scenic movement or acting techniques, I was retelling
them my own stage experience summerizing the historical body of theater. I
would physically illustrate my stories by performing certain examples from the
history of the avant-garde theater, thus showing them certain techniques which
would not necessarily be shown in their books. For instance, I would describe
the movements of Meyerhold’s training in Biomechanics then I would show
them how it went in practise which was something that the members of the
Living were transmitting through physical training from one generation to
another. The results accomplished at Paris 8 university were truly ipreszsive as I
often had the impression that the students were able to grasp the most subtle
meaning of my instructions just by watching me perform in their class; it
seemed to me that they were absorbing the very nuance of my Living theater
experience through basic transmissions easily and lightly “as if breathing in the
air”. I take that one has to teach writing in a similar manner- both unobtrusive
and subtle; some of these experiences in writing I had discussed in the preface
to my selected poems entitled “The Art of Catching a Boomerang” published by
Povelja in 2013.
I have realized that I have really meandered and went into a direction somewhat
different from our common theme which is “Art in Education”; my presentation
has slid into a different zone which could bear a title “The Art of Educating an
Individual” or the art of directing a potential , young artist towards his creation
in the most unobtrusive, quiet and almost invisible manner. There is so much to
say about Pedagogy in arts, as this type of pedagogy draws qualities from both
Art and science, thus it is different from other types, but it will suffice to say
that this could be discussed on some other ocassion. When I mentioned earlier
the art of teaching Art, I mentioned the bright examples of artists such as Nicolo
Paganini and Marina Abramovic, however, the idea or my wish was more
oriented towards mentioning some other names , less known to the general
public and these belong to the students sitting at their desks in classrooms and
who are certainly as important to me as the bright exemples who illustrate my
course. As I was preparing my teachings about a certain art and the artists who
perform it, I was constantly aware of the founding elements of any course or
cursus and these include the active participation in class of the students sitting
in front of me and the ability to stir their active awareness, then to keep their
presence awake- to name here only these fundamental factors which are basic
to any course. The teacher who takes on a heavy task of teaching students
classes in art, has to make them truly curious and concerned for the existence of
the given art field. We all witnessed the fact that after an initial interest that a
student has shown for a certain art- and the possession of that interest made
him/her sign in for that course to begin with- there comes a moment, a time
when we, their educators have to make a certain wizzardry of keeping that
interest alive throughout the course. In order to keep a student as an interested,
lively human participant in his class, a teacher himself/herself has to become an
artist of a sort, as his pedagogical approach, bordering on artistry and often on
real acrobacy, has to keep the disciples intellectually and spiritually awake
throughout the three-month long semester.
Whenever I call my students’ names at the beginning of my class at la Sorbonne
– and this experience lasts some good 10 minutes, I notice that this is probably
the most important part of our teaching hour, as it is exactly the time when you
either grab student’s attention so necessary for the rest of the course- or you
don’t. And when I had noticed that a student’s attention radically drops even
there if his name is not pronounced correctly, I realized that teaching any
subject in the academic cursus is an art in itself, art much higher than any art –
related subject that it has to treat. I became aware of the fact that the lecturer, no
matter what subject he’s trying to communicate to the others, has to approach
his listeners with the qualities of an artist; in fact, he has to become much of an
artist himself, or an acrobat. He has to walk that tight rope over an abbyss of
ignorance and prejudice, thus he has to be , perhaps less of a specialist/expert
who knows his subject the best and more of a communicator to transmit his
knowledge to younger collegues. An educator has to be more than just a
specialist and a high scientist – ideally, he should be a teacher-artist or an artist
of a taught matter and such experts are very few in all the schools throughout
the world. There is a long tradition at the university to not employ a teacher who
is at the same time a creative person, an artist, and this experience is especially
domesticated in the reagons of our “MittelEurope”. Here is the word of an art
historian, curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Budapest “what
characterizes the citizens of Mitteleurope is the permanent fear of anything new,
if there’s a creative movement forward, it backs off quickly and gives way to the
negative criticism favoring the annulment of the conceived project”. Rarely we
fully realize something which could be called a radical and thorough change in
our lands in the Balkans-however, what we often find here are the various
tactics of so called temporalization, which are, in fact Paralel Strategies
dragging along the so called deep restructuralization. New projects often get
devalorized , long before they are even presented and partially realized; they get
disqualified often for certain unknown, meaningless and personal reasons.
Perhaps this costant impossibility to realize their projects quickly is the moving
force that pushes artists, writers, philosophers musicians and poets develop their
aesthetic, political and social projects in small and intimate circles and not as
the part of the National Education program. The talated ones create their own
“private-public space “ and often live in their ‘inner exiles”. I partly discussed
the problem as well, in my study on “Eleven Women-Artists, Slavs and
Nomads” when I discussed the early Marina Abramovic’s Conceptual group in
Belgrade including Evgenia Demnievska, Nesha Paripovic, Zoran Popovic,
Rasha Todosijevic and Georgy Urkom. However, it’s never enough to discuss a
problem, examine it in a new light especially this one related to a psychological
block and so called self-shooting in the back, a phenomenon that the peoples
from Mitteleurope really got accustomed to; it really dates from feudal times
when “one new one’s place of a slave bogged down by his own destiny” and it
had to do with the unfair hierarchical system which did not allow people’s
mentality to freely develop for almost 500 years, but it Spain under the Arabs
this cultural hesitance lasted for almost 7 centuries. These cultural barriers are
being erased very slowly as we see some of them entirely disappear in the
beginning of the 21 century, however, one should give both the artists and their
instructors a bit of time to develop their learning practises and the projects that
need to be developed among them.


Otpoceli smo ovo izlaganje jednim iseckom iz poznatog Godarovog filma, Kineskinja, koji upravo govori, izmedju ostalih dtvari, o problemu odsecanja kulture od njenog pojavnog vida, akcije, koja je u izvesnom obliku i predavanje te kulture, javno predstavljanje umetnosti masama.u okviru kratkog dijaloga u vozu, muski lik izjavljuje da bi zeleo da osposobi narod da primi svet , da ga dozivi onakav kakav jeste i ne samo da ga vidi onakvim kakav on jeste vec i da se osposobi da reaguje u tom svetu da sam licno doprinese izdradnji sveta, sto je u skracenom obliku, cilj svakog obrazovanja.On kaze da bi zeleo da se udalji od univerziteta, od ustajalog pojma univerziteta kao mesta gde su svi samo primaoci znanja.U svom razgovoru ovaj par, studentkinja i njen profesor filosofije, zakljucuju da nesto strasno nije u redu sa francuskim univerzitetom a to « nesto » zove se sistem obrazovanja (1 :09 : 30, La Chinoise) ; devojka kaze da je zgadjena predavanjima, da se ona uvek izvode po zakonima i receptima odredjene klase, da je cela kultura vidjena okom jedne klase da pripada stoga odredjenoj klasi.Ona zatim predlaze profesoru teroristicki cin paljenja univerziteta, bombardovanja i ubijanja sviju postojecih, studenata i profesora, da bi  otpoceo novi univerzitet, hrabri novi svet. Malo je univerziteta u svetu koji su prihvatili ovu godarovsku anarhisticno-maoisticku viziju obrazovne buducnosti, ali mnogi jesu shvatili da u obrazovanju i kulturi dosta toga treba menjati, godina je bila 1967-8.

Nedavno me je, pak, neko pitao  « Šta je to kultura?“, zamolio da definišem razliku izmedju kulture i nekulture. Naravno, na  teška i razudjena pitanja komplikovano je odgovoriti, ali tada sam rekla da sve ono što širi naš duh i horizont, što nas unapredjuje i gradi, otvara vidike, da je TO kultura, a ono što nas sputava, oglupljuje, baca u unutrašnji mrak i zatvor, da je to nekultura. Pa tako i sa umetnošću i podučavanjem umetnosti i njenom mestu u obrazovanju.

Rekli bismo- sve što nam proširuje vidike i što nas uvodi u samo srce ARS-ARTISA, u njene posebne svetove, bilo da je to muzika, vizuelne umetnosti ili književnost, svako kretanje ka ARTISU nas obogaćuje i obrazuje, a sve ostalo…Naime, postavlja se tu problem da je umetnost TECHNE, nešto što teško možemo podučavati kao što podučavamo odredjene naučne discipline. Ono što možemo ipak podučavati grupu neiniciranih početnika, lica zainteresovana za neku umetnost jeste samo istorija te dotične umetnosti, možemo im interpretirati horizontalnu istoriju odredjene umetnosti, onu geografsku, podeljenu u geografske regione- kao „književnost Španije“, muziku Italije“ i slično…naravno, ispresecano vertikalnom, hronološkom istorijom te umetnosti- na primer, predajemo renesansnu muziku Italije, ili baroknu književnost Španije. Ono što se tada dogadja kod prisutnih koji vas slušaju i u duhu beleže umetničke prakse odredjenih regiona kroz epohalne jedinice ili vremenske periode jeste da ti učesnici ili učesnice vaše klase jedino i isključivo pooštravaju svoju osetljivost, njihov  sopstveni umetnički senzibilitet. Ako im puštate na muzičkoj akademiji, na primer, primere barokne muzike, vi ih ne možete naučiti da komponuju recimo Paganinijev Kapričo. Ne možete ih čak ni naučiti kako da ga odsviraju na način na koji ga je izvodio autor ili njegovi savremenici, ono što mogu nakon dugog slušanja baroknih partitura otkriti je …da su barokne partiture statistički uvek za pola tona ili za ceo ton niže od recimo, ičpresionističkih. Ono što sigurno možete u njima sigurno probuditi je ljubav ili svest o izvesnom odstupanju od norme u komponovanju muzike što je posledica upražnjavanja barokne muzičke prakse, ili im možete probuditi interesovanje za orijentalnu muzičku lestvicu koja se takodje izvodi u nižoj, bemolskoj skali, kao što je čujemo kod Debisija ili Bele Bartoka ali ih nikako ne možete naučiti kako da praktično izvode tu muziku ili kako da se otisnu i pomere od onog lako savladljivog do onog tehnički savršenog što olako nazivamo umetnišću.

U tom smislu, kada sam u oblasti ARS POETIKE, pre jedne pesničke radionice koju sam pripremala za mlade pesnike u Njujorku sredinom 1980ih, zapitala starijeg kolegu, pesnika Čarlsa Bernstina, kako da podučavam učesnike seminara, on mi je odgovorio „Ne možeš nikoga naučiti pisanju poezije, već im samo daj listu imena pesnika ili pisaca koje si ti kao omladinka volela i čitala“. To je bio najbolji savet koji sam dobila u domenu predavanja ili podučavanja umetnosti bilo kakve vrste, a to je upravo bilo insistiranje na istorijskom trenutku ostvarenog dela. Insistiranjem na ovoj vrsti istorijski orijentisane obuke, u novajliji ili početniku se budi svest o njegovoj vlastitoj mogućnosti ili nemogućnosti u  učešću u stvaralačkom činu. Njemu se formira horizont o njegovim vlastitim kreativnim ograničenjima i granicama, kao i o njegovim vlastitim mogućnostima istrajnosti koja je, ispostavilo se, ključna reč u stvaralačkim praksama. Nemačka poslovica glasi „ponavljanje čini majstora“, a tome nas podučavaju i najrazličitije vizuelne prakse umetnika, Marine Abramović, na primer.

Otišla sam daleko. Davno sam pomislila, a to i danas mislim i znam da je umetnost teško ili gotovo nemoguće podučavati. Kqo što reče u jednoj svojoj pesmi veliki i nedavno preminuli pesnik, Raša Livada „Učitelj nikada ne saopšti celokupno svoje znanje učeniku-ako ga voli“. U smislu da je velika količina svakog ARS-ARTISA koju treba preneti na učenika obavijena velom tajne i ostaje na učeniku da je sam dokučim na izvesan način učitelj je onaj koji je tu samo da nagovesti tajnu a ne da je sažvaće uče:s:niku Nije ovde reč,pak, o matematičkim formulama.

Volela bih da naglasim da sam za isvesnih trideset i pet  godina univerzitetskog i šire, predavačkog staža uvek izbegavala da predajem umetnost kao kreativni čin i akciju, u vreme kada sam živela na takozvanom Zapadu i to u trenutku kada su takve prakse na Zapadu bile u najvećem opticaju. Kao nekadašnja članica LIVING TEATRA predavala sam istoriju avangardnog teatra, američkog i evropskog na francuskom univerzitetu Paris 8, kao i istoriju književne usmene i pisane avangarde, ali sam uvek za završni ispit na teatrologiji nagovarala studente da pristupe lično kreativnom činu i da pri pravljenju opšteg osvrta na istorijsku avangardu takodje nama prikažu i nešto svoje da nam predstave na usmenom ispitu svoj izraz, njihovu ličnu predstavu, lični utisak i interpretaciju  onoga čime ih je istorija drame podučila. Nisam želela da mi prepričavaju, recimo, šta je sve radio Antinen Arto ili Tadeuš Kantor i da se poslužim sad Kantorovim rečima, nisam želela da stvaram „mrtvu klasu“, ni u pozorištu a ni u životu koji je pozornica svakog kreativnog čina. Pošto ih nisam podučavala pozorišnom pokretu, specifičnim glumačkim tehnikama, već im prosto prepričavala, sažimala istorijsko pozorišno tkivo, prikazujući im na odredjenim primerima iz istorije avangardne dramske tehnike kako je, na primer „Mejerhold uvodio biomehanički trening“ i pokazala im praktično kako se to odvijalo, naši rezultati na univerzitetu Paris 8 bili su veoma plodonosni. Studenti su hvatali najsuptilnija značenja mog znanja i iskustva tako reći „u vazduhu“. Mislim da tako, nenametljivo i suptilno treba predavati i pisanje, otuda moj mali traktat o poeziji, objavljena zbirka „Umetnost hvatanja bumeranga“.

Medjutim, sada primećujem da sam se donekle udaljila od zadate teme „Umetnost u Obrazovanju i vidim da sam neosetno skliznula u jednu drugu oblast koju bi možda trebalo da naslovimo „Umetnost obrazovanja“ ili kako nenametljivo, nečujno i skoro nevidljivo obrazovati potencijalnog umetnika. O umetnosti pedagogije koja je i umetnost i nauka, odista bi trebalo da se dosta toga saopšti, možda ipak neki drugi put. Kada sam se osvrnula na umetnost predavanja umetnosti, pomenula sam u ovom kontekstu Paganinija i Marinu Abramović, a želela sam da naglasim i nešto drugo, da pomenem neka druga imena koja sede u studentskim klupama a koja su takodje veoma važna . Pripremajući predavanja o umetnicima i o nekoj umetnosti, bila sam svesna činjenice da je možda najvažniji elemenat u predavanju bilo koje materije ili umetničkog predmeta- aktivna budnost studenta ili budjenje njegove pažnje, njegove zainteresovanosti za datu umetnost. U pristupu studentu i materiji koju student sluša, svaki predavač, bez obzira na predavani predmet trebalo bi da se stavi u ulogu umetnika ili da postane umetnik. Kada sam prilikom prozivanja studenata na Sorboni, a ovo iskustvo traje nekih celih pet minuta na početku svakog časa, kada sam primetila da je u ovom kvalitativno najvažnijem trenutku našeg časa koji relativno kratko traje a najvažniji je jer od njega zavisi da li će momentalno ugrabiti učenikovu pažnju, kada sam dakle primetila da studentu Hasanu radikalno opada interesovanje za predavanje ako mu ime pogrešno izgovorim kao „Asan“ a ne Hasan, shvqtilq sqm u tom trenutku da je predavanje bilo kog predmeta, a pogotovo onog umetničkog- umetnost po sebi. I da predavač treba gotovo uvek da bude mnogo više umetnik, budni akrobata koji spretno korača po zategnutom konopcu iznad ambisa svakojakog neznanja i predrasude, a manje neki izuzetno visoki specijalistam koji „najbolje na svetu“ poznaje tu naukum taj predmet koji će predavati začudjenim studentima. Predavač mora biti više od visokog naučnika i profesionalca- idealno, on bi trebalo da bude predavač-umetnik ili umetnik predavanja, a takvih stručnjaka je na svim školama u svetu relativno i nažalost, jako malo. Tradicionalno- vecina skola i dalje ne zele da angazuju predavace koji su istovremeno umetnici, kreativci, narocito u nasim oblastima, takozvane Mittelevrope. Evo sta kaze Laurend Hegyi na tu temu: „ono sto karakterise stanovnike Mitelevrope je permanentni strah prema svemu novom, kreativni istup se ubrzo povlaci i ustupa mesto kritici i odbacivanju projekta. Retko u tim zemljama mozemo ostvariti potpunu promenu, radikalnu i celovitu- cesce tu nalazimo taktike temporalizacije tkzv Paralelne Strategije koje odugovlace sa dubokom restrukturacijom. Novi projekti se cesto devalorizuju, pre no sto su iskazani i ostvareni u celosti, njih diskvalifikuju cesto iz polovicnih, beznacajnih, i licnih razloga.“ Mozda ova stalna nemogucnost ka brzom osvarivanju, kaze Hegyi, i navodi umetnike, pisce, filozofe, muzicare pesnike da ostvaruju estetske, politicke i socijalne projekte u njihovim licnim i malim krugovima a ne u javnom obrazovanju; oni stvaraju njihov „ privatan javni prostor“ i zive u nekoj vrsti unutrasnjeg egzila. O tome govorila i ja u mojoj knjizi 11 Umernica slavenki i nomadkinja, o trajanju konceptualne grupe Marine Abramovic, Evgenije Demnievske i naravno Paripovica, Popovica , Todosijevica i Urkoma.


Nina Zivancević


Budim se sa teskobom u srcu – Politika 17. 2. 2018.

Čini mi se da je svako putovanje u neki kraj istovremeno i najbolje putovanje u našu unutrašnjost, jer svaki čovek tek na distanci najjasnije vidi svoje mesto, mesto svoga naroda i svoje kulture koju ponekad isuviše vrednujemo ili, kao u našem srpskom slučaju, premalo cenimo, kaže Nina Živančević povodom svoje nove knjige „Ono što se pamti” (izdavač „Kornet”), zbirke putopisnih eseja za koju je dobila podršku francuskog Nacionalnog centra za knjigu koji joj je dodelio stipendiju namenjenu stvaralaštvu „izuzetnog pisca”.– Ta stipendija pomaže piscu da živi i piše nekih godinu dana i dodeljuje se odista piscima izuzetnog statusa koji imaju puno knjiga iza sebe. Naravno da ja nisam spadala u tu kategoriju, ali dobila sam je i osim novčane pomoći, ona prija našoj duši. Kao da te neki stariji kolega potapše po ramenu i kaže: „Mali, na pravom si putu, samo nastavi” – kaže autorka 20 knjiga poezije, 3 romana i 3 zbirke priča, koja od 1981. godine živi van Srbije, najpre u Vašingtonu, zatim u Njujorku do 1994, a posle toga, već gotovo četvrt veka, u francuskoj prestonici.

U ovoj knjizi ima dosta ličnog, utkanog u večno i univerzalno. Snaga misli prevazilazi žanr putopisa i uvodi nas u esejistiku. Šta je bio najjači podstrek da napišete ovo delo?

Donekle komercijalan žanr putopisa, koji vulgarno opisuje ljude i mesta kroz koje prolazimo, nikada nije bio deo mog spisateljskog interesovanja. Mislim da tu foto-aparat ima mnogo bolju prođu. A i istini za volju, iako živim u gradu „impresionizma”, impresionizam ili opisni pristup slici, događaju, nikada me nije zanimao.

Ja sam dete suštinskog pristupa stvarima ili ekspresionizmu, nekom krvavom osećanju koji vas tera da se ujutro probudite sa teskobom u srcu. Najveći podstrek da napišem ovu knjigu bio je poriv da objasnim sebi i drugima ono što na nekom putovanju stvarno vidim. Dakle, u Africi vidim nemaštinu, divljinu neoliberalizma i leporozne, a manje mahanje repa lavova u safariju.

Dajete paralelu između Mišoovog doživljaja Indije i vašeg? U nečemu se slažete snjim, a u nečemu ne?

Slažemo se u mnogo čemu! Anri Mišo je moj veliki učitelj, evropski pesnik nadrealista ogromnog kalibra koji me je pre svega „posavetovao”, nekada davno, da treba da nastavim da se izražavam u vizuelnim umetnostima, jednostavno rečeno da svaki pisac treba i da crta i slika, i obratno. Mišo je verovao u sinesteziju i totalnu umetnost, negde kao Vagner. Ali ono što mi je zasmetalo u knjizi „Varvarin u Aziji” jeste njegovo kolonijalno, odnosno donekle kolonizatorsko oko kojim je gledao, pogled kojim donekle i mene danas gledaju Francuzi. Mislim da je on, mada čovek širokog duha i kulture, ipak bio žrtva svoje epohe, kao donekle i Andre Malro.

Knjiga obuhvata i putovanja u Egipat, Italiju, Španiju, London i Peru. Šta je zajedničko za sva ova mesta u vašem svetu?

Zajedničko svim ovim zemljama bila je moja potreba da tumačim velikog Drugog (po meni, a ne po Žižeku i po Lakanu, taj Drugi, bilo koji je Veliki Drugi, a ne neki mali „objekat A” kojim tumačimo sebe!). Nekim od ovih zemalja zajednički imenitelj je bio hotel, kao suštinsko okupljanje karakteristika svačijeg karaktera, manifestacija svakog spoljnjeg putovanja. Da, kroz hotele sam prolazila, još uvek prolazim – i mrzim ih, jer su bezlični. Kažu da je Bob Dilan uvek stavljao neke svoje marame na prozor svakog hotela u kom bi boravio da ga podsete na dom.

Posle dugogodišnjeg življenja u inostranstvu, kakav je danas vaš odnos prema Srbiji u koju, uostalom, često dolazite? I šta biste prvo napisali kada biste pisali putopis o našoj zemlji?

Osećam se izazvanom ovde i reći ću ono što stvarno mislim, iako se plašim da ću skočiti samoj sebi u usta: patetika, plač i naša kuknjava da smo istorijske žrtve oduvek su mi bile odvratne, ali plašim se da podaci nisu bili neistiniti, jer smo u onoj velikoj seobi naroda i Slovena, uvek izvlačili karte koje nikako nisu ličile na pobedničke džokere. Naravno, to što ja intimno mislim da se ne treba žaliti na usud i plakati nad sudbinom samo je deo moje ćutljive budističke prirode. Ali čini mi se da ni Ukrajince niko ne čuje kada laju na mesec. No dobro, kažu da smo svi bili jedan isti narod, stari Sloveni, što sam opisala u priči „Vasilisa Prekrasna”. Dok prolazim Srbijom osećam uvek tu praslovensku blagorodnost koja prevazilazi pojmove pronicljive i široke gostoprimljivosti. Ja se ponosim činjenicom da potičem iz naših krajeva! Jednom sam se, čak, osetila kao Đoković: kada sam 2013. u Peruu predstavljala srpsku poeziju, Srbiju, na stadionu u Limi pred 5.000 ljudi!

Politika 17.2.2018.


Ono Što Se Pamti – Uvod

Indijski dnevnik 


decembar 2014 januar 2015.

Pariz , Rijad, Koći, Džeda, Pariz


Misao o barbarogeniju proganjala je avangardu, neobične ljude poput Micića i Anrija Mišoa.

U praskozorje 1931. Mišo rešava da ostavi iza sebe duh kolonizatora, odlazi u Indiju i piše tekst Varvarin u Aziji. Osetio se kao varvarin probuđen nadohvat jedne drevne civilizacije, kao što se možda osetio Antonen Arto nakon velike kolonijalne izložbe, u Parizu, početkom dvadesetog veka, koja mu je promenila shvatanja o životu i umetnosti.
Mišo: „Video sam čoveka na ulici. On me je ščepao, i nisam više nikoga primećivao osim njega. Vezao sam se za njega, sledio ga, ubeđen da na svetu postoji samo on; on i flautista; i čovek koji se bavi pozorištem; i akrobata na žici koji gestikulira; u trenutku sam ih sve snimio, sve shvatio.
Mišo će zatim reći da ni Indija ni njeno društvo i narodi ne treba nikada, baš nikada, da podlegnu uticaju Zapada, što je velikodušno osećanje jednog zapadnjaka koje ja, biće sa Balkana, nikada, baš nikada, nisam mogla da osetim.
Varvarka sam upravo ja, ili Titova rođaka, onog Tita koji je sa Nehruom i Naserom pravio ’treći’, to jest nesvrstani svet.

Na kraju svog putovanja Mišo će reći: „Posmatrao sam sebe na tom putovanju kao da posmatram nekog drugog, nekog ko gleda emotivno i seća se jedne imaginarne zemlje u kojoj ne živi. Ja nisam bio u njoj, ja nisam bio tu.”
Ja sam pak, za razliku od Mišoa, stalno živela varvarski, bila sam deo te zemlje, videla sam je, bila sam tu i kad sam obitavala drugde.




Ujutro, pre polaska na put, upalim televizor i šta vidim – strašne posledice cunamija na plažama Kerale koje su me opominjale da idem u neku posebnu ’zonu’, već viđenu okom Tarkovskog – bio je to neki njegov, sasvim poseban interplanetarni svet. Pitam se kako se život mogao nastaviti nakon cunamija, kako mu stanovništvo nije izbeglo, zašto se predalo, zašto su tu ostali svi oni koji su ostali i zašto nisu otišli u neki novi svet?

S pogledom izlomljenog ogledala, koji ne pada ni previše nisko niti se pak isuviše uzdiže ka nebu, prekrštenih nogu, hindusi meditiraju tela podeljenog u sedam čakri, u lotosu, pri nebu, u ranojutarnjim i večernjim molitvama boginji Kali, sa postojanošću i uživanjem, što na sanskritu znači bav. Usmereni na večnost, udubljeni u sebe, usporeni, samokontrolisani i dostojanstveni, hindusi se nikada ne žeste niti nerviraju, kaže Mišo, tako da onaj ko ima želju da zapeva, taj peva, onaj ko želi da se pomoli, on se moli. Najviše veruju životinjama poput krave, slona i majmuna, svetim životinjama koje su kao i oni, mirne i naizgled bezbrižne, u svakom slučaju ravnodušne prema spoljašnjem svetu, koji hindusi nazivaju iluzija ili maja. Krava se, na primer, najede trave, nikako deteline, da bi zatim varila po nekoliko sati ono što je progutala.

Pitam se da li ću ja, koja živim od iluzije (svakodnevnog teatra barbarogenija) i od žvakanja deteline, videti sve ono što je Mišo tamo video. Jer svako vidi ono što mu je dato da vidi, ono što već zna o nekom predmetu ili čoveku. I neće videti ništa što već nije čuo, video ili naslutio ranije.

Hindus, kaže Mišo, voli životinje koje nisu odveć zahvalne čoveku, znači ne voli naročito psa i mačku jer njih ne privlači odviše mudra meditacija, zbog prirode njihovog uznemirenog i dinamičnog bića. Hindus mora da promišlja, onakav kakvog ga vidimo u ranim indijskim filmovima, daleko pre Satjađit Raja, kada su i besni vojnici nekog radže najpre odlučivali (po nekoliko minuta u filmu) da li da se razbesne ili ne. I na kraju bi ih ipak razbesnela data situacija. A danas je Indija jedna od najvećih svetskih sila koja je izašla iz recesije i uspešno žvaće detelinu najsvežijeg neoliberalizma. 

Što se konja tiče, Mišo smatra da je u životu svih hindusa konj, onako lud i dinamičan, u daleko manjoj prednosti od kamile, jer kamila retko galopira i trči – ona stabilno i promišljeno stavlja jedno kopito pred drugo, zabavljena sopstvenom sporošću, koju mnogi nazivaju dromedarstvom. Hindus, dakle, poštuje sporost i stabilnost, što se ogleda u njegovom osećaju za jezik. Hindi, spor, grgurav jezik, sav je sastavljen od konsonanata koji se spopliću i teku, teški i hrskavi. Na tom jeziku su spevane – a i dalje se pevaju – najviše religiozne himne naspram kojih evropsko stvaralaštvo izgleda smešno i bahato. Indijska misao je magična – ona ima magijski karakter i bliska je svojoj orijentalnoj filozofiji, koja se uvek obraća Biću ili Brahmi. Mišo duhovito kaže da zapadnjački filozofi promišljajući svoju muku gube kosu, a da orijentalci muku skraćuju tako što puštaju da im kosa raste. Njihove misli upućene Brahmi donekle su različite od naših, uslovno rečeno evropskih, jer smo mi bića razdvojena od Apsoluta, što kažu Upanišade: „Oni koji odu sa ovoga sveta a nisu otkrili atman i spoznali njegovu suštinu neće dostići oslobođenje NI U JEDNOM SVETU”.

Da bi se približili toj suštini, hindusi recituju mantre i – dišu. Jedna od varijanti božanskog udisanja-izdisanja, takozvani udžaj, odvija se na sledeći način: četiri udisaja kroz levu nozdrvu, zadržiš dah, pa zatim šesnaest izdisaja kroz desnu nozdrvu. Njegova molitva boginji Udisanja–Izdisanja, stvaranja i razaranja, majci Kali, može da otpočne.

Hindusi više veruju majci, boginji materinstva, nego boginjama ženstvenosti Lakšmi, Radi i Sarasvati, koje su čulni avatari ili avatarke Šive, sveopšteg stvaraoca. Ako postoji pojam sveca kod hindusa, onda je to majka, kao simbol požrtvovanosti, žrtvovanja za druge, za generaciju koja dolazi, jer o prošlosti ne treba razmišljati, prošlost je akašik – traka koja teče i upravo se manifestuje u sadašnjem trenutku. Majka je Velika MA, i ona održava poredak svih stvari neophodnih za produžetak vrste i opstanak, a za hindusa je generacija koja dolazi, koja produžava porodicu i vrstu važnija od njega samog. Pojam žrtvovanja kao procesa izuzetno je važan ovom narodu koji se prvo žrtvuje za delove tradicije i prošlosti, zatim se skromnim bivstvovanjem žrtvuje u trenutku u kome živi, a docnije se žrtvuje za potomke. Sve pojave indijskog panteona su čulne jer slave život i Apsolut na najočigledniji način, ali u tolikoj meri da mi, zapadnjaci, naspram njih izgledamo kao puke posledice oplakivanja Hrista, žalosti za Bogom; u našim crkvama ili katedralama osećamo se tako mali i mizerni u susretu sa Apsolutom, koga se plašimo.

Veliki asketa Ramakrišna oblačio se – kako neki kažu – u ženu, jer je kao žena želeo da ga voli Bog koji je sišao sa panteona da bi živeo među ljudima. Hinduistički molitvenik je praktičan i sprema vernika da se izbori sa snagama zla u životu: Rigveda je puna konkretnih i praktičnih saveta. Mantre i ponude u obliku insensa, sveća i hrane pomažu verniku, na nadasve praktičan način, da se približi Apsolutu, a lepota dekora ili ponude tu i nije važna. Kao i u najmističnijem delu katoličanstva, hindus se idolatrijskom askezom približava Apsolutu i obožava u ekstazi.

On mu se klanja, prostire se ničice pred njim, mada neće nikada povikati kao naš hrišćanin: „Iz dubine vičem k tebi, Gospode!” (De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine.) Neće vikati na ovaj način jer se hindus oseća jakim pred svojim bogom, a ne kao crkveni miš, jadan i bespomoćan pred licem bede. On će prisiliti svog boga da mu pomogne, neće drhtati pred njim od straha ili od tuge pregoleme. Glasno i sa puno bava on će otpevati svoj AUM; postići će smirenje, dobiće snagu u molitvi, pljunuće na sve demone koji ga okružuju, neće im samo zapretiti da ustupe sa: „Natrag Sotono”, on će ih ispljuvati i izlupati, uništiti moralno i materijalno, i Sotona se (bar neko vreme, u njegovoj glavi) neće pojavljivati.

A sve ovo se odvija polako, u ubrzano–usporenom svetu Indije, veoma polako, jer hindus nikada ne žuri, ne trči. Molitve izgovara lančano, 38.000 stihova Ramajane, kao i 100.000 stihova Mahabharate, koji teku polako, bez ijedne vidljive (r)evolucije u epovima, koji ni sami nemaju neki određeni centar ili vrhunac radnje… Ovo nam sve kaže Mišo, kartezijanac, koga nije mrzelo, još onda, te daleke 1931, da prebrojava drevne stihove na sanskritu. 

Nina Živančević

Isečak iz knjige Ono što se pamti; Kornet 2017


Abject or débris Art published in The Opiate


One day I stopped loving it

I felt being its only representation, representative and a uniformed statue. I was the only replica of my own insane creation, I became a dated caricature of my old powerful but degenerated self, a piece of Débris art admired by the connoisseurs of the Abject long ago.

I knew death was around the corner, now that I had almost 75 to 80 percent of my friends’ names and references crossed out in my telephone book. I did not complain though and accepted begrudgingly this fact, shrugged my shoulders with a long “sooo what…”

I find myself presently on a bus rushing from Beograd to Paris (the Easter vacation’s over and lots of children, kids of the forlorn Serbs and Gypsies living in Diaspora are eager to get back home–although, very few of them knew exactly where their home was).

To be honest, the same goes for me: I’ve had a vague idea where I was heading to–I was heading to the place where I would see, once upon a time–lots of art…heading to a place where I was watching a lot of good movies with my kid… Or was that place an epitome of laughter, soft evenings, sweet gatherings with like-minded friends–where we, armed with gin and absinthe, shared our latest verses, news, gossip?

No point of return there… With a certain geometrical progression in their mad speed of disappearance–my buddies left the battlefield and in Paris I dwelled all alone. The morning television program from Chanel ARTE would vaguely disperse the deadly silence which reigned over my apartment… And the monotonous sound of the cell phone would sort of start bleeping on its own, urging me to dial one or two numbers which were still left intact in my book, I mean they remained uncrossed on the page, shining through… But who were those people anyway?

Certainly, they were not my buddies, the folks whose brilliance marked my existence and whose presence in art and science–as much as in my life–meant so much to me–alas! Such rare treasures in my life tended to disappear in huge lumps, they all oozed down the drain… And first of all–they were replaced by those aforementioned dummies… who did not qualify as real partners in my scholarly meditations and then… Slowly but surely those disappeared from my horizon as well–one thing for sure–among all imitative qualities in life–real affection and camaraderie cannot be invoked and faked easily on a daily basis

You call people and you see one another, but you both know that it’s a fake… Like a fake fur or a plastic cake–you have a taste of the real thing, you still remember its original shape and size but sadly enough you attest to the fact that this encounter between you two IS NOT IT, not the real thing you treasured so much and remembered.

So that’s how I found myself in the utmost loneliness in the most solitary town on Earth and that was Paris. Oh, the loneliness of the long distance runner, the film by Lindsay Anderson, how I knew you well!

But perhaps never did it strike me with such clarity, with such desperate unforgiving clarity as it did this morning, while riding on this quiet bus with the spring breakers munching their forlorn sandwiches–I was under the special sepulchral impression that my life was this time, definitively over. I finished it, ruined by my utmost speed–like I was running somewhere–could not determine exactly where. But I was rushing to get over there and I was burnt out in my own endeavour

Burnt by my own speed which propelled me to get there, anywhere–AHEAD of my own time!

This discovery almost made me laugh–and I rushed to call that special friend, confidant to my lonely efforts–but hmmm–there was no one to reach out for. I was heading to my own dystopian nest in the heart of Montmartre, but I dreaded opening its doors of perception, at that particular place where my physical home was, where I dwelled in Paris, in the 17th arrondissement where also my very heart of hearts and my memories were locked, but I lost the key to that door and was never happy while sleeping, eating or working in it (the existential dread…)

Although Andrzej Wajda says in his last great film Blue Flowers that the frontier between politics and art should not be erased, we feel that the world we live in forbids its citizens to ignore the effects of global political and ecological issues. The face of Art(s) becomes dirty and ugly to those who tend to its overwhelming neoliberal and commercial Endeavours  and who ignore the burning issues of humanity. Oliver Ressler’s work, especially the documentaries of this contemporary Austrian filmmaker cum activist and performance artist reveal his humanist obsession with

Human misery and hardship.

Artur Zmijewski is another responsible filmmaker–he filmed the now burned “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais…otherwise known as the shame on the face of France, and shame on the face of greedy England.

The question which another one, Le Grice, asks in his book Shoot Shoot Shoot: the First Decade of the London Film-makers’ Co-operative 1966-76, for example, is “whether any aspect of illusion or sequential narrational structure can be made compatible with the anti-illusionist materialistic aesthetics”? In other words, how can we watch Cloud(s), talk about clouds, film them and at the same time, not pay for them, not worry about them being polluted, not disappear inside of them for a lot of money etc. etc.
Yes, how can we…

Concentration camp resembles a Grand Hotel (Alain Resnais)
But does a grand hotel resemble a camp or a jail of a sort?
For us to discover…

by Nina Živančević as seen in The Opiate