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adamovic.ana@gmail.com

Copyright © Ana Adamovic

PERFORMING DEMOCRACY, 2019-2020

And, then, again loneliness, Installation view, Navigator gallery, Belgrade, 2016

On Vacation, Installation view, Novembar gallery, Belgrade, 2020

On Vacation, Installation view, Novembar gallery, Belgrade, 2020

On Vacation, Installation view, Novembar gallery, Belgrade, 2020

On Vacation, Installation view, Novembar gallery, Belgrade, 2020

On Vacation, Installation view, Novembar gallery, Belgrade, 2020

Theme Park: On Vacation, Installation view, gallery of Šabac Cultural Center, 2018

Theme Park: On Vacation, Installation view, gallery of Šabac Cultural Center, 2018

Theme Park: On Vacation, Installation view, gallery of Šabac Cultural Center, 2018

Authors of the project: Ana Adamović and Milica Pekić
Kiosk – platform for contemporary art

What is democracy today, what does it imply and what are the most important inscribed concepts without which democracy cannot function? Is democracy possible? Is there an alternative to democracy? What is the optimal form of democracy?

These questions are fundamental for the project Performing Democracy which is motivated by our need to discuss these issues while creating a space for a dialogue on the state of democracy, both in our country and beyond. The project has been initiated at a moment in which Serbia – according to an almost generally accepted impression of its citizens – is burdened with a rise in inequality, poverty and divisions within society. It is a moment in which dialogue between conflicted groups seems to be impossible, and the practice of open polemics and debates is considered as radical activity. In such circumstances, can we agree on the meaning of concepts such as tolerance, responsibility, solidarity and justice? Can we talk about these issues with those who do not share our views, convictions and values? The project seeks for answers to all these issues by researching the different positions within Serbian society while developing a joint experimental forum in which all participants have an equal right to express their own voice.

Trying to include interlocutors with different experiences, as well as those coming from different poles of the ideological spectrum, we talked to representatives of civil initiatives, movements and organizations, with representatives of political parties which accepted our invitation, as well as with our fellow citizens, many of whom we were meeting for the first time. While incorporating numerous different positions the project is thus aiming at developing a space for broad participation, a space for dissensus and discussions, doing so within the field of art which is building its transformative potential in resistance to dominant models of production, norms and narratives, exercising its capacity for imagination, common experience and free play. This is where the notion “performing” comes from. On the one hand, it indicates that democracy is a collection of norms and agreed rules which regulate a society; on the other, it indicates our possibility to actively ask questions and seek for answers, confront our ideas, proposals and possible alternatives to dominant narratives and norms – and actually “perform” possible spaces of collective imagination within which alternatives can be freely considered and agreed upon.

The project Performing Democracy offers one of the possible platforms within which different ideas are articulated and brought to the public. It also asks questions: Can we think of an alternative which would respond to actual challenges created by the pandemics, climate changes, growing inequalities, migrations? Can we collectively deliberate on and create new ideas, within and beyond existing divisions? Can we nurture empathy beyond our own interest groups and can we recognize our own interest in the idea of commons or collective? And how do we shape spaces within which we can negotiate, talk, test, make mistakes, learn from each other, perform and create ideas and concepts beyond dominant narratives – spaces which enable us to experience alternatives?

Ana Adamović and Milica Pekić

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We would like to thank all project participants on their goodwill and readiness to share with us their thoughts on democracy. We want to give a special thanks to our dear colleagues and friends who advised us during the working process, recommended or introduced us to new participants and hosted us in their homes and working spaces: Andrea Brbaklić, Iva Čukić, Zoe Gudović, Neda Knežević, Radomir Lazović, Galina Maksimović, Iva Marković, Tanja Marković, Branislav Markuš, Jelena Miletić, Nebojša Milikić, National coalition for Decemntralisation, Nana Radenković, Irena Ristić, Tara Rukeci, Jelena Simić, Branislava Stefanović.

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Camera, editing: Ana Adamović
Video post-production: Vladan Obradović
Sound design and post-production: Srđan Bajski
Translation of video statements on English: Goran Kričković
Web design: Vojislav Ilić

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Project is realized with the support of the Balkan Trust for Democracy and Open Society Foundation, Serbia

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Performing Democracy is available at https://kioskngo.net/project/performing-democracy-2019-2020/