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:

Mirjana RADOVANOVIĆ und Miloš MILETIĆ arbeiten gemeinsam an künstlerischen und forschungsbasierten Projekten unter dem Gruppennamen KURS. Darin erkunden sie, wie künstlerische Praxis zu verschiedenen sozialen Bewegungen beitragen und deren integraler Bestandteil werden kann. Ausgangspunkte hierfür sind oftmals Archivmaterialien, die sie mit revolutionärer Poesie und Prosa vermengen und einer Bildsprache progressiver Bewegungen aus der Vergangenheit unterziehen. Daraus entstehen meist Wandmalereien, Illustrationen und verschiedene Drucksachen wie Zeitungen, Poster oder Grafiken. Die so produzierten Inhalte sollten einem didaktischen Impetus folgen und dadurch für die breite Öffentlichkeit zugänglich und nachvollziehbar sein.

Projekte, die KURS in den letzten Jahren realisierte, sind unter anderem: die Recherche Lessons on Defense, die 2016 und 2017 über kulturelle Aktivitäten innerhalb der Volksbefreiungsbewegung durchgeführt wurde; die Wandmalerei Solidarity — to the International Brigades, in Belgrad, die dem 80. Jahrestag der Gründung der Internationalen Brigaden gewidmet wurde; die Wandmalerei Struggle, Knowledge, Equality, in Belgrad, anlässlich des Studententages, die Wandmalerei 20th October, anlässlich des 70. Jahrestages der Befreiung Belgrads; die Wandmalerei Factory to the Workers, in der Itas-Prvomajska Fabrik in Ivanec, Kroation, als Teil des 13. Urban Festivals; ein Aufenthalt in Chile, in der AIR Casa Poli; Teilnahme an dem Persona Non Grata-Programm in Ankara, organisiert vom AsiKeçi Kollektiv; sowie die Wandmalerei What Do We Know About Solidarity während der Qalandiya Biennale 2018 in Palästina.

Im Rahmen des Fellowship Programms für Kunst und Theorie 2019-20 im Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen in Innsbruck veröffentlichte KURS das Buch Lessons on Defense: Cultural Activities of the People’s Liberation Movement (2020).

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.


Streaming on Zoom and Facebook