Almissa

21. – 26. 08. 2020.

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.