09. – 13. 08. 2022.


May a Stone be your Pillow, Motherfucker

This year’s eighth edi­tion of Almissa bore a work­ing title “Pir­acy”, but the title was dropped, and we accep­ted a new idea: the fest­iv­al would be titled “May a Stone be your Pil­low, Mother­fuck­er”, after a song ori­gin­ally per­formed by the punk band Ilija i Zrno Žita. This year’s fest­iv­al presen­ted a klapa ver­sion of the song by the band Porno Sui­cid and the Klapa Utvare. This act of pir­acy enabled us to dir­ectly address the pub­lic and the inhab­it­ants of Omiš, invit­ing them to par­ti­cip­ate and warn­ing them that the con­tent of Almissa fest­iv­al was, in fact, speak­ing about our reality.

To avoid mak­ing the fest­iv­al con­ven­tion­al and socially accept­able, we had to set new cri­ter­ia, so we decided to climb down from the fort­ress and go to the streets and squares, without any exact announce­ment of the pro­gram, and pla­cing the artists in the spot­light by present­ing and announ­cing their per­form­ances. Hence, we cre­ated a new audi­ence – people who weren’t quite sure what was hap­pen­ing and why. We estab­lished dir­ect con­tact with the people (not an audi­ence), mak­ing space for a new dimen­sion, a new exper­i­ence, and, hope­fully, a new per­cep­tion of the festival.

Almissa didn’t want to be a part of the Omiš Cul­tur­al Sum­mer and the cul­tur­al tour­ism offer that takes part in cre­at­ing the illu­sion of sum­mer prosper­ity (along with the Fest­iv­al of Dal­ma­tian klapa, the Pir­ate nights, the Pir­ate Battle, folk­lore even­ings, fish­er­men even­ings, folk fest­ivals and other mani­fest­a­tions). We were look­ing for a new approach by enga­ging in risk, exper­i­ment, a form that was not yet tested or shaped by value scales. We were focus­ing on self-exam­in­a­tion and self-reflec­tion, ignor­ing the already estab­lished prac­tices, stand­ards and ideo­lo­gies; the main ideas were the absence of ego and self-present­a­tion with the intent to be equal to oth­ers, mixed with the people of Omiš and their guests, which we lit­er­ally were dur­ing those days.

This way, Almissa did not become a folk­lore relic, but hope­fully opened up a new dynam­ic and remained in the memory of chil­dren, whose reac­tions to the “weird” people who appeared as their guests in their place were the most nat­ur­al. “This is the cra­zi­est thing that ever happened in our city,” a girl said, giv­ing us the sweetest com­ment on our efforts in the streets of Omiš. Porno Sui­cid and Utvare klapa were kissed and hugged by an older gen­tle­man, giv­ing a new high­light to this year’s fest­iv­al. Porno Sui­cid and Utvare per­formed a cover of the song “Croatio, iz duše te ljubim” (“Croa­tia, I love you from the bot­tom of my soul”), renam­ing the song to “Kušin Stina” (“Cush­ion-Stone”), a song writ­ten and sung by Vinko Barić, accom­pan­ied by Gildo Bavčević, Marko Marković and Utvare). The per­form­ance was recog­nized by the gen­er­al pub­lic as an image of today’s soci­ety and hypo­crit­ic­al pat­ri­ot­ism, and “nom­in­ated” to become the hymn of young gastarbeiter.

Neka tebi kušin bude stina, pizda ti mater­ina, pizda ti mater­ina. Ukra si hrpu tvor­nica, razjeba petšest bol­nica, kupija BMW i Hum­mera, izlju­bija Ivu San­adera. A želiš da spavam na stini umisto kušina, da budem domoljubna sirot­inja. Ma goni se, pizda ti materina.

(May a stone be your pil­low, mother­fuck­er, mother­fuck­er. You stole a bunch of factor­ies, you fucked five or six hos­pit­als, you bought a BMW and a Hum­mer, you kissed Ivo San­ader. Still, you want me to sleep on a stone instead of a cush­ion, you want me to be a pat­ri­ot­ic beg­gar. Fuck you, motherfucker.)

Omiš is known as the cen­ter of the klapa milieu and the fest­iv­al that brought the klapa singing to the level of world her­it­age, so with the Almissa pro­gram we also thought about this con­text by pro­du­cing voices, con­tain­ing none of the skills and nar­ciss­ism that are usu­ally a part of the klapa per­form­ance. To make these per­form­ances hap­pen, we have invited artists of whom we were cer­tain that they would accept such an approach and chal­lenge, those who could demon­strate their faith in art and the role of artists in soci­ety through their work and action, both human and artist­ic. Tom­is­lav Goto­vac’s ideas and his scorn­ful verbal per­form­ances, his Dead Man Walk­ing screen­play; a per­form­ance by Jusuf Hadžife­jzović in which he sells empti­ness; klapa cover of under­ground hits by Ilija i Zrno Žita; a hap­pen­ing by Kata Mijatović titled The Omiš Choir — Omiš girls scream­ing for energy cleans­ing and affirm­ing life; a per­form­ance by Josip Pino Ivančić — expelling the evil embod­ied in the ideas of ex-min­is­ter of cul­ture Zlatko Has­an­be­gov­ić; Gio­vanni Morb­in dressed as a Roman legion­naire who, at the entrance of a Kon­zum store, shared coins with people who took pho­tos with him, as a part of a per­form­ance “The Second Fall of Rome”; a video doc­u­ment­a­tion of the dis­turb­ing per­form­ance “COMPOSITION: BORI, NEVJESTA, BRIDE” by Selma Sel­man; a video of a sad vocal per­form­ance by Ivana Pegan Baće; Sin­iša Lab­rović’s per­form­ance “Bird” – walk­ing through the city all day, wear­ing a bird cage on his head and whist­ling; an action by Tajči Čekada – “EkoEko-Ljud­sko mlijeko” (“Eco­Eco-Human Milk”), selling products made from human milk; Zoran Pavelić’s per­form­ance ded­ic­ated to Omiš, repeat­ing the name of the city as a part of a man­tra, while wash­ing his face in the water; Eun Su Lim, an artist from Korea, made a sym­bol­ic­ally charged per­form­ance and par­ti­cip­ated in a per­form­ance with Jusuf Hadžife­jzović, ded­ic­ated to deceased artists: all of them became one with Omiš in an emo­tion­al way, thanks to an envir­on­ment that reacted nat­ur­ally and was inter­ested in the actions of their tem­por­ary fel­low citizens.

We came to the town with “a capella shrieks” to trig­ger a reac­tion and ini­ti­ate a change and even­tu­ally, we returned to the Fort­ress of Mira­bella and summed up all that happened these days.

Slaven Tolj, curator