Almissa

09. – 14. 08. 2019.

2015

Independence

As inde­pend­ent mas­ters of our lives ended when we began awaken­ing to the fact that we have all become cogs in the bur­eau­crat­ic machine, with our thoughts, feel­ings and tastes manip­u­lated by gov­ern­ment and industry and the mass com­mu­nic­a­tions.

Erich Fromm, “To have or to be”

Nowadays we like to think that art has autonomy, and that it has already achieved an inde­pend­ent pos­i­tion in rela­tion to the soci­ety in which it is cre­ated. The ques­tion is how accur­ate this is, given that most of the pro­duc­tion of con­tem­por­ary art is fin­an­cially sup­por­ted by vari­ous legal entit­ies that require play­ing by their rules of the game. The impact of art on the com­munity, its didact­ic and andro­lo­gic­al func­tion, the val­or­iz­a­tion of pro­gram along with the explan­a­tion of the pro­gram’s impact on primary, sec­ond­ary and ter­tiary users, are bur­eau­crat­ic for­mu­la­tions that impede the free­dom of art, which should not have a pur­pose and should not serve any­one or any­thing. Its only role should be ful­filling the nature determ­ined by ima­gin­a­tion, exper­i­ment­al­ity, beauty, ugli­ness, truth and free­dom. Although ini­tially com­pletely inde­pend­ent from the pro­vider of funds, per­fectly unor­gan­ized and hori­zont­ally divided by its man­age­ment struc­ture, without the ambi­tion to integ­rate into the fin­an­cing sys­tem, sup­por­ted only by enthu­si­asm on a vol­un­tary basis, the fest­iv­al even­tu­ally went through insti­tu­tion­al­iz­a­tion, which required a cer­tain adjust­ment to the form provided by funds pro­viders. Before we accep­ted the rules of the sys­tem of cre­at­ive indus­tries and plunged into the cor­por­ate model of the organ­iz­a­tion, we wanted to go back to the begin­ning and cre­ate a fest­iv­al built from below, without applic­a­tions, account­ing, fees, media announce­ments, spon­sors and donors. We star­ted to provide res­ist­ance and be abso­lutely inde­pend­ent and free. We decided to des­cend from Mira­bela to the streets, beaches and even­tu­ally escape from civil­iz­a­tion into the forest, which we declared to be the ulti­mate vic­tory.

Mira­bela, which has become a plat­form for the pro­duc­tion of new works over the years, has deman­ded a shift from estab­lished prac­tices in order to be revital­ized. That is why the space of this com­plex served as an open-air gal­lery where video works and install­a­tions, sculp­tures and lec­tures were shown. Mira­bela hos­ted the works by Ana Huš­man, Igor Gru­bić, Marko Tadić, Marko Mestro­vić, Momčilo Golub, Sandra Sterle, Petar Grim­ani, Vice Tomaso­vić, Gildo Bavčević, Milan Brkić, Ante Jel­en­ić and Ante Kuštre.

On the second day in the city, there was the pro­duc­tion of new works in the forms of per­form­ance and artist­ic install­a­tion. Live art in the urban pub­lic space of the city, at the city beach, the City Mar­ket, as well as in the nature park of the Cet­ina canyon and in private spaces became the solu­tion for the devel­op­ment of the fest­iv­al that was right here all along.

At the city’s sandy beach, Tina Vukaso­vić, presen­ted a real­ist­ic rep­lica of her­self, covered with sand so that only the pup­pet­’s head and hands were vis­ible. It looked as if some­body had fallen asleep on the beach, some­body who was covered with sand in order to cre­ate a happy pho­to­graph from the sum­mer vaca­tion. After sev­er­al hours, the body of the doll remained motion­less, the pass­ers-by cau­tiously approach­ing and try­ing to fig­ure out wheth­er someone had died of heat or if it was a kind of pro­voca­tion or joke; of course, nobody even thought that it could be a work of art.
Vinko Barić, triggered by the state of the cater­ers’ advert­ising aggres­sion in the cen­ter of the city, presen­ted a draw­ing of pigs that are over­eat­ing, with the inscrip­tion “Price­less”. The work was set with­in a chaos of ran­domly placed advert­ise­ments on the wall of a Mod­ern­ist build­ing of the former com­mit­tee. This men­tal trap for pass­ers-by was taken off and stolen by an unknown per­pet­rat­or only fif­teen minutes after place­ment.

Vice Tomaso­vić installed two large reliefs on both sides of an ATM, cre­at­ing a tem­por­ary cap­it­al­ist sac­ral object in the urban area, a sort of a chapel of con­sumer­ism. Emphas­iz­ing the absurdity of excess­ive install­a­tion of these facil­it­ies in the pub­lic space, but also point­ing to the moral prob­lems of wor­ship­ping money, the artist spon­tan­eously knelt in front of the ATM and con­tem­plated for ten minutes.

Julija Tomaso­vić set up a pig-shaped sculp­ture made of chil­dren’s toys in a city street. The work was cre­ated dur­ing a pro­ject „Intro­du­cing pupils of ele­ment­ary school age with con­tem­por­ary art“. The pupils donated toys that were then pushed into a cage, form­ing a pig, and they them­selves wrote artist­ic state­ments in the form of cri­ti­cism of estab­lished and accep­ted social habits. Through the meth­od of con­ver­sa­tion, chil­dren con­cluded that stingi­ness, social neg­lect and exploited atti­tude towards people and anim­als are the essence of most social prob­lems.

Mar­ija Ančić made a note of remem­brance of the day she left Sara­jevo as a nine-year-old refugee. The story of her depar­ture was divided into sev­er­al parts and installed into the space so that the intim­ate story on a small paper was lost to the vast bill­board inform­a­tion, as every other per­son­al refugee story is lost in the noise of other inform­a­tion. Whenev­er the media reports about the refugee crisis, we are talk­ing about num­bers or stat­ist­ics that deper­son­al­ize people. On the main city street — Fošal, Mar­i­ja’s work, how­ever unnotice­able at first glance, aroused the interest of some pass­ers-by who tried to make out the whole story from these seg­ments. But at the same time, many pass­ers-by walked indif­fer­ently, which reminded the artist to her past exper­i­ence. At the moment when a man goes through such a trauma, it’s almost unthink­able that at the same time, life goes smoothly for other people.

Vedran Urličić self-ini­ti­ated his bond­ing to the 17th-cen­tury pil­lar of shame, and two meters away he set up a bas­ket with vari­ous objects such as veget­ables, mud and water bal­loons. Above the bas­ket, there was an inscrip­tion invit­ing the pass­ers-by to aim at the artist, and the per­form­ance ended when the entire arsen­al was empty.

Ivan Perić pas­ted a menu on a road sign that marks the entrance to the city of Omiš, cri­ti­ciz­ing the fact that the old city is com­pletely and abso­lutely assim­il­ated by the cater­ers. Each street in the city cen­ter is filled with bil­lets, so it’s almost impossible not to think that the city has become one big din­ner hall.

Dar­win Butković walked along the nar­row streets of the city, which are prac­tic­ally impass­able in the sum­mer, and he was print­ing his own dirty foot­steps on white paper. “Omiš Can­vas”, a work from the series “Traces of Dar­win SA”, was donated to the organ­izers.

Hrvo­je Cokarić and Vanja Pagar presen­ted a part of the Toward Europe pro­ject by selling the don­key feces with the sealed logo of the Croa­tian Tour­ist Board. The “Gray Mani­festo” con­sists in brand­ing and selling feces as an autoch­thon­ous Croa­tian product. The product is donated by the last Dal­ma­tian don­keys from the pub­lic space of the ZOO (Nat­ur­al His­tory Museum), which is the most import­ant green pub­lic space and the sunny garden of the city of Split. As a coun­ter­point to mass tour­ism, they acted on the sar­casm and cyn­icism of smart tour­ists, whom this action made smile at first, but few of them were even will­ing to buy the autoch­thon­ous Dal­ma­tian souven­ir.

A short film about the elec­tions in Trstenik “KVART za kvart” by Šimun Šitum was shown at the Omiš City Museum. The asso­ci­ation for con­tem­por­ary art KVART oper­ates since 2006 in the city quarter of Trstenik in Split. It gath­ers artists from the nearby envir­on­ment and organ­izes exhib­i­tions in the closed and open spaces in the city quarter of Trstenik, and since last year they have become an import­ant polit­ic­al factor in the area. Clash­ing with the two strongest parties in Croa­tia, using smart jokes and turns, they took power in the Split quarter Trstenik. An apolit­ic­al list without a spe­cif­ic pro­gram, but with sin­cere empathy for neigh­bors, showed a new model that would be desir­able at a wider scale. The artists have proven to be an evol­u­tion­ary shift in polit­ics with the vis­ion­ary mes­sage: WE ARE HERE TO HELP.

The last days of the fest­ival’s 6th edi­tion took place in the untouched nature of the Cet­ina River Canyon.

Gildo Bavčević per­formed the “Plastic Man­ma­chine” in which he was naked, wear­ing a con­struc­tion hel­met, banging his head against the stone on which he was stand­ing. The crowd stood on one side of the river, and the artist, on the other side, repeat­ing the mech­an­ic­al dehu­man­iz­ing action, emphas­iz­ing thus the con­trast to the nature sur­round­ing it. A small man who becomes an obed­i­ent machine, opposed to the nature that he is des­troy­ing, seems to be unaware that he can­not sur­vive without nature.

Petar Grim­ani led an art work­shop that was actu­ally a pre­par­a­tion for the install­a­tion per­form­ance “Bridge”. The work itself was per­formed on the river Cet­ina on the same day. The human body covered with foil for sur­viv­al, one meter away from each other, bridged the river by join­ing two shores.
Efra Avila held a per­form­at­ive guid­ance through nature, explain­ing the aspects of Indi­an beliefs. The group moved along the estab­lished ped­es­tri­an path upon which the artist installed eco­logy mes­sages.

In the even­ing, Ivan Sorić — Suri was read­ing poetry from his own, then unpub­lished, col­lec­tion of poems.

Through­out the whole event, Ante Jel­en­ić played ambi­ent music on instru­ments inspired by Neo­lith­ic instru­ments.