Almissa

09. – 14. 08. 2019.

2018

Shut up, please!

The Oxford Dic­tion­ary pro­claimed the “post-truth” com­plex to be the Inter­na­tion­al Word of the Year in 2016. The word could be trans­lated as “after­truth”, with that “post” or “after” denot­ing not the time that comes after some­thing, but the ter­min­a­tion of the valid­ity of a concept, in this case the “truth”. Aus­trali­an Macquar­ie Dic­tion­ary pro­claimed “fake news” as the Word of the Year, mostly thanks to the flood of false news in Amer­ica dur­ing the pres­id­en­tial elec­tions. At the same time, the phrase “altern­at­ive truth” was most widely used by Don­ald Trump and his asso­ci­ates. All of these phrases sug­gest the arrival of a “post-fac­tu­al” time in which the truth and facts are suc­cumb­ing to emo­tions, beliefs, and rhet­or­ic­al cre­ations in order to achieve vari­ous goals. It is as if the sig­ni­fi­er and the sig­ni­fied are divided, and if it is forever — we will see. And as if rhet­or­ic does not need real­ity any more as its con­firm­a­tion, or even as its ful­fill­ment: instead, it is a reflec­tion that only reminds us that there once exis­ted a truth and real­ity that were inde­pend­ent, ground­break­ing and veri­fi­able ref­er­ence points. Thus, the time of “altern­at­ive truth” is no longer a time in which we can rely on the dif­fer­ence between truth and lies. The philo­soph­ic­al announce­ment of what is now explod­ing, is found in the work of the French philo­soph­er Jean Baudril­lard with his thes­is on hyper real­ity, simu­lac­rum and sim­u­la­tion, and this is (to put it more simply) about a thes­is that media real­ity has replaced that “realreal­ity”. Also, new media and tech­no­lo­gies have enabled almost every­body on Earth to show their truth, which may have res­ul­ted in more people not being heard from the res­ult­ing noise. The same fact is accom­pan­ied by inform­a­tion on the grow­ing con­trol and manip­u­la­tion we are sub­jec­ted to, because the rulers and potentates were nev­er­int­er­ested in being able to hear and live the true altern­at­ive in the pub­lic space. It can be said that today we are mov­ing between two poles: the deaf­en­ing noise we pro­duce by shout­ing out our own truth, and the silence of the cen­sor­ship pro­duced by those in power, in order to mute a good voice. Rhet­or­ic and real­ity, chat­ter and cen­sor­ship, truth and lie — lan­guage as a place in which dif­fer­ences and sim­il­ar­it­ies are real­ized. Lan­guage as a meet­ing place for man and man, man and soci­ety, man and nature … Per­haps this is a good time for the fol­low­ing Almissa in Omiš to take place with the head­line “Shut up, please!”.

Sin­iša Lab­rović, cur­at­or

Circumstances

Omiš is char­ac­ter­ized by three nat­ur­al ele­ments: moun­tains, river and sea. By itself, this is not so unusu­al, but the intens­ity with which these ele­ments dom­in­ate Omiš cer­tainly make it unique – between threat­en­ing ver­tic­al rocks and the sea coast, the city is barely two hun­dred meters long. These two par­al­lels are cut at the right angle by the massive river Cet­ina, lit­er­ally com­ing out from the rocks in the middle of the city, and imme­di­ately flow­ing into the sea.

It was not easy. I dare to con­clude that it was pretty hard. It is pos­sible that such cir­cum­stances have some effect on the men­tal­ity — in order to sur­vive, one should be as hard as stone and as stable as Cet­ina. Firm and unchan­ging atti­tudes are neces­sary at one point, but at anoth­er, they become the mark of the tra­di­tion­al world­view model that this time detects as the brake of change and accept­ance of new or dif­fer­ent. In that sense, we can con­clude that this fest­iv­al of con­tem­por­ary and often pro­voc­at­ive art (that has been held in Omiš for nine years) is, given the con­text, almost an exem­plary model.

The cur­at­or of this year’s edi­tion of Almissa men­tions the term ‘post truth’ as his lead­ing thought, which could be inter­preted in the con­text of an exem­plary model as an impetus for review­ing tradi- tion­al pos­tu­lates or ques­tion­ing any im- posed truth, or accept­ing the fact that Truth really is pretty unstable. From this point of view came the title of this fest­iv­al – “Shut Up, please”, which, with this some­what oxy­mor­on­al state­ment, is totally undoubtedly related to the truth, as well as some new – post truth. If the truth was uttered loudly in the bar­racks, we see it as a laugh­ing-up of a super­i­or officer; if it came from a polit­ic­al booth, iden- tify­ing the people as a bor­ing fly, and on the other side, the justly revol­ted mass might turn it to the speak­er. The theme of this year’s fest­iv­al, truth appears as an ori­ent­a­tion point, a start­ing point that ar- tists do not lose sight of, regard­less of their dif­fer­ent media expres­sion, per­spect­ive or approach.