HOW TO REVOLUTIONIZE ART: PARTISAN RUPTURES

Presentations and discussion by and with Gal Kirn (theorist) and KURS (Fellows)

Photo: KURS - Mirjana Radovanović und Miloš Miletić

In the context of the exhibition Identity is Uncertainty #2, the concluding show of the Büchsenhausen Fellowship Program for Art and Theory 2019-20 at the Kunstpavillon of the Tyrolean Artists’ Association in Innsbruck, the event will focus on KURS (Miloš Miletić und Mirjana Radovanović)’ contribution – a series of graphic works with the title Lessons on Defence, which were created in the context of the eponymous study on the cultural practices and the significance of culture within the Yugoslav Partisan Movement during the Second World War.

This study was already conducted in 2016 and 2017. Its results, however, were until now only accessible in Serbian. As part of the Fellowship Program in Büchsenhausen, KURS (Mirjana Radovanović and Miloš Miletić) revised their text and edited it for an international readership. At last, this version has been translated into English and published in the book series Büchs’n’Books – Art and Knowledge Production in Context.

In their lecture, Radovanović and Miletić will introduce their research and argue for its importance for today’s art and cultural production with the potential topicality of knowledge from cultural practices in times of danger and uncertainty, yet characterized by a strong desire for social change. Even though the partisan culture was the result of specific historical circumstances, KURS argues that then-practices could be productively applied today, not least because of the revisionist tendencies in the countries of former Yugoslavia – and surely elsewhere in Europe and the world; tendencies that instrumentalize culture under the pretext of lacking alternatives to capitalism as a means of depoliticizing anti-fascist movements. The imperative confrontation with a past that, while not wholly erased from the public consciousness, has undoubtedly been severely marginalized, also holds the possibility of a sharper perception of the commodification efforts to which art practices are currently subjected and consequently, opens up towards the development of counter measurements.

Gal KIRN‘s lecture will depart from understanding the current dominant ideology of historical revisionism and antit-totalitarianism in the post-Yugoslav context and present the demonized and dismantled revolutionary core of partisan struggle during the Second World War. It will argue that the partisan liberation struggle was a revolutionary movement with very intense cultural and artistic experimentation and imaginary. In his book, Partisan Counter Archive Gal Kirn introduces an array of rich and complex artworks that produced access over art, and situation, and could not fit neatly in the archives to come. In his lecture, he will focus on works that already in the time of their production/dissemination expressed a self-reflexive and strong temporality, or form, that reversed remembering from past to future. With this, he will present an array of case studies from the “counter-archive”: partisan poems, dance, film and graphic art.

After the lectures the authors will engage in a discussion with the audience online.

The publications in focus:

KURS (Mirjana Radovanovic´ and Miloš Miletic´): Lessons on Defence:
Toward an Analysis of the Cultural Activities of the People’s Liberation Movement,
KURS and Büchs’n’Books, Belgrade / Innsbruck 2020

Gal Kirn: Partisan Counter Archive: Retracing the Ruptures of Art and Memory in the Yugoslav People’s Liberation Struggle, de Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2020

The contributors:

Gal Kirn has a PhD in Intercultural Studies of Ideas and Cultures from the University of Nova Gorica in Slovenia. He has since worked, among other places, at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Humboldt University in Berlin, GWZO in Leipzig, the Akademie Schloss Solitude, and TU Dresden, where he researched on the Soviet avant-garde and partisan memory. He has published diverse topics from post-Fordism, and Yugoslav black wave cinema to Althusser and critique of neoliberalism. His latest books deal with the topic of partisan struggle and socialist Yugoslavia, albeit from different angles. Partisan Ruptures was published by Pluto Press (2019) and deals with the politico-economic investigation of the rise and demise of socialist Yugoslavia, while The Partisan Counter-Archive (De Gruyter, 2020) works on the triangulation of politics, art and memory on the case of the partisan liberation struggle. He is currently Visiting Professor at Cultural History program at the University of Nova Gorica.

Mirjana RADOVANOVIĆ and Miloš MILETIĆ jointly practice visual art and research as KURS. Their work explores how artistic practice can contribute to — and become an integral part of — various social movements. They often use archival material as a starting point, in combination with revolutionary poetry and prose and the visual language of progressive movements from the past. Most often they produce murals, illustrations and various printed materials including newspapers, posters, graphics. They are guided by the idea that their content should be didactic and accessible to the broader public.
Projects that KURS realized in recent years are, among others: the research Lessons on Defense conducted in 2016 and 2017 on cultural activity within the People’s Liberation Movement; the mural Solidarity—to the International Brigades in Belgrade, dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the International Brigades; the mural Struggle, Knowledge, Equality in Belgrade, on the occasion of the Students’ Day; the mural 20th October on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Belgrade; the mural Factory to the Workers at the Itas-Prvomajska factory in Ivanec, Croatia as part of the 13th Urban Festival; a residency in Chile at the AIR Casa Poli; the participation in the Persona Non Grata program in Ankara, organized by the AsiKeçi Collective; and the mural What Do We Know About Solidarity during the Qalandiya Biennial 2018 in Palestine.

www.udruzenjekurs.org

Mirjana RADOVANOVIĆ and Miloš MILETIĆ jointly practice visual art and research as KURS. In their work they explore how artistic practice can contribute to — and become an integral part of — various social movements. They often use archival material as a starting point, in combination with revolutionary poetry and prose and the visual language of progressive movements from the past. Most often they produce murals, illustrations and various printed materials including newspapers, posters, graphics. They are guided by the idea that the content they produce should be didactic and accessible to the wider public.

Projects that KURS realized in recent years are, among others: the research Lessons in Defense conducted in 2016 and 2017 on cultural activity within the People’s Liberation Movement; the mural Solidarity—to the International Brigades in Belgrade, dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the International Brigades; the mural Struggle, Knowledge, Equality in Belgrade, on the occasion of the Students’ Day; the mural 20th October on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Belgrade; the mural Factory to the Workers at the Itas-Prvomajska factory in Ivanec, Croatia as part of the 13th Urban Festival; a residency in Chile at the AIR Casa Poli; the participation in the Persona Non Grata program in Ankara, organized by the AsiKeçi Collective; and the mural What Do We Know About Solidarity during the Qalandiya Biennial 2018 in Palestine.

www.udruzenjekurs.org

Gal KIRN has a PhD in Intercultural Studies of Ideas and Cultures from the University of Nova Gorica in Slovenia. He has since worked, among other places, at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Humboldt University in Berlin, GWZO in Leipzig, the Akademie Schloss Solitude, and TU Dresden, where he researched on the Soviet avant-garde and partisan memory. He has published diverse topics from post-Fordism, and Yugoslav black wave cinema to Althusser and critique of neoliberalism. His latest books deal with the topic of partisan struggle and socialist Yugoslavia, albeit from different angles. Partisan Ruptures was published by Pluto Press (2019) and deals with the politico-economic investigation of the rise and demise of socialist Yugoslavia, while The Partisan Counter-Archive (De Gruyter, 2020) works on the triangulation of politics, art and memory on the case of the partisan liberation struggle. He is currently Visiting Professor at Cultural History program at the University of Nova Gorica.

Location

Streaming on Zoom and Facebook