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Reenacting Revolution

Project leader:
Ana Adamović (IKW)

Project team:
Zsuzsi Flohr

3 years

Funded by:
FWF – Austrian Science Fund | PEEK (AR763)


FWF I PEEK project
led by Ana Adamović, Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies
Duration: 1.7.2023 – 30.6.2026

How do we envision revolution today? Can we even imagine building a different, more just future anymore? And can we imagine it collectively when inequalities laying at the core of our societies are more evident by the day? Starting from these questions, the research is conceived as one possible proposition in rethinking both art’s capacity and limits to actively participate in the imagined social transformation.

Point of departure for the research process is found in the Yugoslav socialist project that is approached as a repository of practices and ideas that today could be recognized as emancipatory gestures for radically trying to democratize the art field. Bringing into the present ideas coming from the Yugoslav socialist past, that with its ideology of self-management was aiming at broadest inclusion of all segments of the society into the social, political, and economic life and where the field of art and culture was perceived as a politicized space for reinventing and enacting new, more humane social relations, the research utilizes them as assets in the critical rethinking of our present conditions and imagining possible futures.

While looking into different fields of cultural production the research employs a very specific case for its starting point – the case of "Chimneys on the Adriatic", an opera written in 1949 by Ivo Tijardović about and for the workers, which was enacting the revolutionary momentum of the new society in the making. This way the research utilizes as operational both the notion of opera as a complex collective artistic endeavor while translating operatic work from the past into the field of visual arts, as well as the meaning the original term has in Italian describing an action, work, or a deed, and employs it as a blueprint for developing modes of collaboration in the present.

Ideas coming from the past are utilized as interlocutors in a dialogue that equally involves those who once were perceived as the avant-garde of the new society in the making – members of the working class, and whose existence now is entangled into complex processes of post-socialist transitions and overall privatizations, and art practitioners and thinkers. Hence, starting from the operatic work coming from the past that in the research is approached as a radical artistic gesture, it recognizes a dialogue – exchange of ideas, desires, needs, and experiences that may be congruent as well as conflictual - as a radical activity in the present circumstances while translating it into the collaborative artmaking process. By involving a multitude of different voice into this process, the research thus investigates art’s capacity to act as a space where new relations and collectivities could actually be tested, negotiated, and enacted by translating past questions, emancipatory gestures, and propositions into the new work conceived in the present that talks about the present.