Jasmina Čubrilo: Flu_ID

The 20th century art was marked by the possibilities which were arranged by the narrative of modern art history into an orderly succession of events thus creating the fiction that was problematized in the last decades of the century by the artistic and interpretative productions’ efforts to turn the unknown and invisible into the known and visible. The famous ‘end of great narratives’ is a beginning of the world in which ‘small’ narratives coexist, assemble, (un)recognize, evade and intersect with each other, carefully avoiding the universal. Artists are preoccupied with alternative stories that cannot be found in the catalogue of global offers and that are read between the static lines. By this cut&paste method, the social and cultural forms are reorganized together with the social context of art and, consequently, the artists’ roles and positions are re-defined. Art differs reality whose segments it explores, interprets, transforms. It takes everyday life as a basic material and uses its diversity to provide various new and possible versions of reality. The paradox of contemporary art lays in its specific relation to the other social activities: it is neither integrated with the society nor it is marginalized to the position of neutral spectator – it is, to paraphrase Dan Cameron, between justice and poetic. Contemporary art adopted documentary techniques in order to accurately express its relation to the world or, as Boris Groys indicates, in the biopolitical era art becomes biopolitical too because it uses artistic means to produce and document life as a pure activity while documentation itself becomes an art form. As the distinction between live and artificial is entirely narrative, its logic, which is also the logic of biopolitics, makes the artists’ documentation reveal that, through narrative, the living can be replaced with the artificial and vice versa. As we witness at the recent large-scale international shows, the problem occurs when art comes too close to what Nicolas Bourriaud calls réalisme médiatique or CNN réalisme so that it increasingly resembles TV or press journalism. The question of distancing toward journalistic vocabulary and mass-media imagery is the question of (re)defining art as a signifying system that is able to refer to the reality with its own means, to formalize in its own way the exploration of details which regulate the dynamics of private and public life.

Almost all of the recent ‘in-between’ situations could be generally defined as positions between consummation and (re)production of texts, narratives and representations. Art academy is a place that, in Certeau’s sense, produces spaces. Art academies, in other words, realize their distinctiveness in the art world between tradition that is inevitably reproduced by the educational system, and contemporaneity that (should) emerge from suspicion, from critical approaches, realizations and receptions of educational programme, and from mapping and shaping of particular/autonomous operational levels. The actual relations in the domain of ‘place practices’ are not ran by the logic of exclusion – exclusivities were the trademark of the last century squeezed between numerous binary options. It can be said that what once was perceived as new, revolutionary, can be interpreted today as Lacan’s Real, as a traumatic element that occurs as a foreign body in the existing signifying network which soon becomes ‘overcome’ by symbolization.

Flu_ID Project is a specific topocritical activity, according to Bourriaud’s idea of topocritics as the art of editing information, genres and disciplines, with its outset primarily in the reality of physical (and virtual) spaces in which artists live, work and move. In that sense, the accent is on small narratives, on personal stories that refer to numerous aspects generated from a single and/or many environments inhabited, transgressed or explored by the artist (e.g. habitat, the art academy, city, computer software...). The very distinction between private and public has been reshaped by information, technology and new forms of communication. And just as the procedure of informational selection/combination/interconnection can result in flattening or in the monocular field, it can also create poly-cultural field. Which field the one will participate in is, eventually, the matter of attained freedom, the dilemma between belief and suspicion.

If our experience is visually mediated to the point that images have become our everyday life than it is logical to expect the use of imaging technologies in fine art. It is also logical to expect the ‘recycling’ of procedures and effects of these technologies as art’s fundamental care for its own differentia specifica.

Works at Flu_ID show map the circulation of these general issues of contemporaneity with the focus on its particular subjects and their interpretative sequencing. Davor Dukić thematizes the once ideal(ized) classical body that, by temporal-historic ‘intervention’, has been infinitely multiplied and that now, remodeled by medical and/or digital technologies, becomes variable, instable, composite. Popular culture, in one hand, applies these processes and transformations of traditional body in toy industry, making hybrid bodies/creatures as possible paradigms while, in the other hand, it had deteritorialized the original and thus history as a narrative on authenticity, by proliferating copies that allow instant possession and/or consummation of the original/history. In Nenad Kostić’s and Vladimir Vinkić’s works we encounter ‘hybrid’ images which have no traces of stroke, gesture or expression as had been the case for thousands of years, but which are the results of computation, of numerical and/or informational transformation. In the world remodeled by technology, artist can take the role of constructor, which is a strategy that recycles the idea of constructivism. The contemporary ‘constructivism’ is, nevertheless, certainly deprived of its utopian aspect and is just one among numerous fictions for the ‘reconstruction’ of mainly personal spaces. It does not even have to be materialized – it is sufficient to conceptualize or to memorize it as an elaborate database and, when necessary, to open folder and interpret the idea just like Srđan Nedeljković did in his work. Identity lapse, the instable limits of the de-centered ID and the question of its shaping are the theme of Gordana Ilić’s and Danijela Mladenović’s Sisterly Love, while the tensions between symbolic field and traumatic element or between self-assuredness and annoyance are thematized by Ivana Smiljanić’s video Big Bang.

And, at the end, instead of conclusion, something that should have been put at the beginning of this text but can remain here as well – the keywords: art, territories, spaces/topoi, network/information, imagery/media, possibilities, editing/cut&paste, identity (politics), biopolitics.

Flu_ID exhibition catalogue, Dom omladine, Belgrade 2003. | catalogue pdf


Works at Flu_ID exhibition 2003, Dom omladine Gallery, Belgrade.