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VASA film series ... "In the Land of..."

A VASA film series by documentary based artists' from former Yugoslavia
Curated by Miha Colner

The following video series showcases works of artists and filmmakers from the territory of former Yugoslavia who work in the field of so called “artists' moving image”. The series is conceived as a subjective insight into the production of documentary based films, which for their unconventional character would not be screened in cinemas but rather showcased in a gallery environment. Ten selected artists predominantly focus on social, political and economic issues of the post-socialist states that have undergone immense structural changes in the past two decades, and critically analyze the general or particular situation in their immediate surroundings.

Mechanical Dream
a film by Iva Kontic

© Iva Kontic Courtesy of the artist
Time: 10:00
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Iva Konti? (1982) is an artist who lives and works between Barcelona, Belgrade and Milan. She works as the coordinator of Master in Video Art and Filmmaking at ARD&NT Institute in Milano (joint educational project by Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera and Politecnico di Milano) as well as she teaches "Performative Arts and Video". In 2016 she finished her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Arts in Belgrade.


About the curator Miha Colner:

Miha Colner (1978) is an art historian who works as a curator, publicist, editor and lecturer specialised in photography, artists’ moving image and other forms of media art. Since 2006 he has been a curator and program coordinator at Photon – Centre for Contemporary Photography (based in Ljubljana and Vienna), a non-profit organization focused on exploring, presenting and promoting contemporary photography and artists’ moving image. Furthermore, since 2005 he has been part-time contributor for number of newspapers, magazines, radio programs, and specialist publications as well as part-time lecturer. He lives and works in Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Curatorial Statement:

Mechanical Dream is a multi-media piece by Iva Konti? that consists of series of photographs, a painting and a documentary video.

The ten-minute video which is shown in this series gives insight into crude reality of political and economic transition in Serbia following the case study of Crvena Zastava [red flag] car factory in Kragujevac, Serbia. The factory used to be one of the driving forces of former socialist industry in Yugoslavia which produced domestic brand of cars affordable to (mostly) every individual. Zastava became one of the most significant Yugoslav trademarks that is still deeply rooted in the collective memory of the people since almost every family would own one in the 1970s and 1980s. Nowadays, when due to the poor economic situation in Serbia (and across former Yugoslavia) nostalgia for the past became omnipresent Zastava represents one of the most notable remnants of the period when social welfare was guaranteed. However, nostalgia is inevitably related to romanticizing.

Zastava was actually not original product of Yugoslav industry but rather a licensed brand based on Fiat engines and design. Despite that fact these cars became a matter of national pride and identity. However, with the collapse of the state in 1991 and consequent civil wars the factory faced inevitable decline. The town of Kragujevac which used to be called Yugoslav Detroit went into permanent state of crisis suffering from unemployment and lack of prospect. It is indeed a classic story of economic transition where common property slowly slipped into private hands. And thus in 2011 Fiat announced takeover of the company which by that time reduced its production capacity to the minimum; partly due to the economic breakdown and partly due to the damage caused by the NATO bombardment in 1999 which completely destroyed the most vital part of the factory. The artist focused on the period of insecurity after the factory was shut down. She interviewed (former) workers who spoke about the slow but consistent necrosis of the company and about the town which lost its initial purpose. The insightful interviews interpreted by the artist (as most of the people did not want to speak in front of the camera) are combined by the footages of the streets of Kragujevac showing the quintessential picture of post-industrial impoverished environment. Factories and companies are replaced with kitschy shopping malls, former local products are replaced by multinational brands – the globalisation at its worse. Therefore Konti? showcased the transition from industrial into consumerist society and its effect on the local community. It is just another example of economic occupation.

© Miha Colner

















About Karen Brett

Brett’s intentions are not to describe or illustrate but to visually question our sense of existence and challenge our perceptions of morality which in turn controls our differing views and perspectives.

Karen received her MA in Photography from the London College of Communications. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Photography, Institute of Photography at Falmouth University (UK).

Funded by The Arts Council, England.

Film sereis funded by VASA.

All films are archived for future viewing
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Screening Schedule:

February 2016:
In War and Revolution
Ana Bilankov

March 2016:
Eric's Story
Eurwen & Jim's Story
Lost for Words

April: 2016
Moving On 1
Moving On 2

May 2016:
Horses Warped On An Altering Canvas

June 2016

Spetember 2016