Having missed Tito's Torch of Youth makes me a post-Yugoslav. One that was evel less represented after the Federation than during. That means belonging to a group of people that are marginalized because of their language/nationality, religion and social status. That meant being an outcast, a'separatist' (Kosovar Albanians were accused for causing division beaucse of their differences, a second degree citizen and a socio economical burden-a surplus that needed to be somehow eliminated. Some of those experiences are registered as snippets reproduced through the image of thought...
'All Yugoslavs were equal but some Yugoslavs were more equal than the others' was fostered as an experimental performance for the entree examination to the LAPS program. The script of the performance lifts off from the position of blind admiration of the leader to the awareness about the invisibility and the exclusion of The Adult Pioneer from the system and ideology she stands for. Affected by the frustration of this realisation, she flips the image of her leader only to find out that behind it stands the EU flag with a fleeing star...
The becoming of the Adult Pioneer started with the accidental antique store scouting in Skopje, N.Macedonia in March 2019. The accidental finding was a pioneer hat, which triggered a past that I've missed for 2 years. I started going to school in 1991 and the last pioneer pledged his/her/their eligence in 1989, the year that the vision of The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, built by Marshall Josib Broz Tito died.
Tito, the cat
Due to her representation of a time that no longer exists, known as Yugo-nostalgia, a nostalgia for a past where (supposedly) life used to be better which The Adult Pioneer never experienced fully on her own, she exists in a liminal temporality somewhere between what could have been but never was. Hense, she can only be inside a time-space that is imaginative and is not tangible. A reversible non linear and non logical hologram which resembles a dream. A glitch, where the possibilities to play with and question historical events are infinite. That can be a VHS tape, a computer algorithm or an error which opens a new pathway to jump between clouds,crossroads of old & new technologies without a scientific explanation.'The place where there are no flies'.How the Adult Pioneer becomes aware about her position within a socialist country that no longer exists can not be explained other than by this mish mash of the transitional zone which effects her awareness, knowledge and memory.
An interruption within the analog system of a VHS tape causes her to embark in her quest to understand why she is not represented in the non existent socialist federal republic of Yugoslavia. She realises that as a Kosovar Albanian Muslim Woman, she doesn't have a torch in the Yugoslavian emblem to represent the identity nuances she was born into but didn't chose herself. The Missing Torch elaborates the struggle between identity politics and class as socio-political systems change and geo-strategical interests shift power.
Message from seagulls in a cloud...click here for the translation
With the death of comerade Tito as the supreme leader, Yugoslavia disintegrated. Instantaneously,the significance of what had been irradicated or at least hidden under the surface during Yugoslavia's existence supplanted the rise of national states and their relatively hermetic cultures (1980-1991). The othering in the premises of identity politics stirred conflict.
This period drew to a close during the end of the 1990s with the dramatic poscsocialist wars between the pro-Serbian federal army and the nascent national armed forces. These were the wars in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the province of Kosovo in southern Serbia.
In 1999 I experienced war. This has been the most significant event of my life and I am interested in utilizing my writings from the period and after tools for post-war trauma transformation as well as because of the impact this dramatic event has had in how I approach art and the world.
Kosova is a non EU country which declared its independence in 2008 however it is strongly dominated and controled by the presence of the U.S. and EU hegemony under the pretext of its integration in the Western world.
The Missing Torch was created in collaboration with Nashville based performance and video artist Dylan Simon at The Borderlander studios, supported by a Live Art and Performance Studies programme, Uniarts Helsinki grant. Dylan also interprets the character of the Exploitative Travel Agent. Dylan's interest in propaganda, socialist environments and brutalist architecture meet my curiousities and questions half way through and rise very exciting collaborative possibilities among which future plans include a continuation of the encounter between the Adult Pioneer and the Exploitative Travel Agent, a zine of Yugoslav folk tales, a re-imagination of an anti-reactionary artistic wave in Kosova during Yugoslavia and more.