ANA ADAMOVIĆ    
     
  Works
Fiery greetings, part two
46 Plant Pots
The Choir
Two choirs (video)
Two choirs (photographs)
Fiery greetings, part one
My country is the most beautiful of all
Canzona
Threshold of the golden age
Revealing
Madeleine
Postcards from imaginary places (video)
Postcards from imaginary places (photographs)
Balkan souvenirs
Without borders
The beach
 
Projects TWO CHOIRS, 2013/ 14 (Two-channel HD video installation, 02'03")
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Every May 25th, his official birthday, Josip Broz Tito, former Yugoslavia’s president for life, received countless gifts from his fellow-citizens, including photo albums. Today, most of these albums are kept at the Museum of Yugoslav History in Belgrade, where they constitute a precious document that testifies about how the people of Yugoslavia sought to present themselves to their uncontested leader.
The albums that he received every year from Pioneer organisations, primary schools, and other children’s institutions from across Yugoslavia usually follow a rather similar dramaturgy. For example, when it is a school, the album invariably begins with a dedication, that is, birthday card for the president, which is then followed by an exterior photograph of the school building, and then a series of photographs of the interior, group portraits of the students, their classes and numerous other activities. Of course, every album also features a series of photographs from countless ceremonies, local slets (mass games), meetings, folklore events, shows, recitals, and, unavoidably, choirs. There is at least one photograph of a choir in almost every album that Tito ever received from the children of Yugoslavia. Accordingly, the album that the Pioneers and Youths of the Institute for the Education of Deaf Children in Zagreb sent to the President on his birthday in 1962 duly contains a photograph of their school choir. The photograph features 14 children singing onstage, with their conductor in front of them and a banner saying ‘Živio Dan mladosti’ (Long live Youth Day) in the background.

This photograph is the starting and visual reference point in Two Choirs. The difference is that, unlike the photograph, the video work shows the children performing the song in sign language, universally accepted today, but not in official Yugoslav schools for the education of hearing-impaired children during the 1960s. At that time and all the way to the 1990s, the schools insisted that hearing- and speech-impaired children vocalise words and thus in the photograph, the children were captured whilst singing. In the video work, the children are performing the song ‘Mi stvaramo smelo’ (We Create Boldly) by Srećko Djurđević, found in the songbook Deca pevaju Titu (Children Singing to Tito), which contains patriotic children’s songs deemed suitable for choir performances during state holidays and other school, that is, Pioneer ceremonies. For decades, numerous choirs from across Yugoslavia performed that song and similar other songs dedicated to the homeland, construction, brotherhood and unity, celebrating youth and élan vital. The hearing-impaired children’s choir featured on the photograph sent from Zagreb in 1962 were probably performing a similar song.

Starting from that 1962 photograph, Two Choirs examines the character of totalitarian ideologies, past and present alike, as well as manipulating children in successful presentations and legitimisations of any ideology that has totalitarian aspirations.

 

 
 
  We create boldly (lyrics - Srećko Djurdjević)

Together we mightly march and sing,
Under the flag of our labor, new deed is emerging.
For are muscles are strong, our brains are fresh and bright
Every one of us is willing for fatherland to sacrifice.
We are creating boldly, the future for us,
In the land of brotherhood and unity,
In the land of the free.

Credits:
Choir: Sara Dukić, Milica Dobroka, Danica Gojković, Ivan Jovičić, Kenan Kučević, Jovana Madlić, Nađa Manić, Mihajlo Nikolić, Saša Prendić, Nevena Stojković, Ognjen Tasovac, Milica Vučković
Conductor – Dijana Dukić; DP and postproduction – Vladan Obradović; Audio – Srđan Bajski; Piano – Srđan Marković
The work was realized in cooperation with the Association of interpreters for hearing impaired persons, Serbia (UTLOSS). Children participating in the work - pupils of the 5th grade of the Elementary school “MIhajlo Pupin” from Zemun and protégés of the “Stefan Dečanski” boarding school for hearing impaired children.

The work was realized with the support and help of Dijana Dukić, Vladan Obradović, Srdjan Bajski, Pavle Pekić, Museum of Yugoslav History and Belgrade Drama Theater.

 

 
Two choirs, video still
 
Two choirs, video still
 
Two choirs, installation view, Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, 2014
 

The choire, from the photo-album sent to the President Tito from the pioneer and youth of the I Educational institution for deaf children, Zagreb-Ilica, 1962 (From the Museum of Yugoslav History collection)