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Statement of the Unbribables concerning the arrests in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade

October 24, 2017

//EN

Art performances in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade on October 20 2017 led to the arrest of two artists. Vladan Jeremić, who is member of ArtLeaks and one of the organizers of the cultural event Salon of the Unbribables and Uroš Jovanović, an independent artist and performer, were arrested and brought to police station for interrogation. The police officers suspected them for “insulting the president”, which the artists said was not their intention. The state prosecutor decided to let them go after several hours of interrogation.

The performance, part of the program of the Salon of the Unbribables (https://theunbribables.wordpress.com), was staged in front of the museum. Visitors and guests coming to the opening of the museum were invited to wear a paper mask with an image in close resemblance of Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vučić, while handing out leaflets with only an image of a sandwich printed on it. The artistic action was positively received by most of the public that understood it as a visual metaphor of the structural situation most citizens of Serbia are living in.

The Government of Aleksandar Vučić, prime minister of Serbia since 2014 and elected president since April this year, has grounded its power on a system of nepotism, intimidation, “buying” of supporters through giving jobs and privileges to party members, mudslinging against political opponents and control over the media. At the same time, his rule is supported by many right-wing leaders of EU, U.S. and Russia as factor of stability in the Balkans. A system that can be named partocracy has led to an atmosphere, where raising a critical voice can turn your colleagues against you and finally endanger your job.

Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that private security staff controlling visitors at the entrance to the museum immediately reacted, when they detected the image of the president and flyers with sandwiches in some of their bags. Visitors, one of them being a visiting curator from Denmark, were treated very rudely and given over to the police for identity check. Vladan Jeremić, who came to the scene to explain that he was one of the organizers of the artistic performance using these props, was arrested immediately. Although curators of the Museum of Contemporary Art, who witnessed the arrest, tried to intervene and explained that he is a well known artist from Belgrade, Vladan Jeremić was brought to the police station for interrogation.

That in Serbia it’s not a good idea to create the slightest impression of having a critical stance towards the leader of the country, Uroš Jovanović, an independent artist and performer, experienced half an hour later. He was arrested when he tried to enter the museum with a giant golden framed photograph of the Serbian president with the statement: “Vučić – the best artist”. A few months ago, the image of the president indeed was an issue of discussion, when Minister of defense Vulin and Minister of education Šarčević proposed to put up his picture in public institutions and schools. The proposal was welcomed by Serbian Prime Minister Brnabić because, as she said, the cult of national symbols of Serbia should be strengthened.

The Belgrade Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a valuable collection of 20th century art from the region. Due organizational difficulties during the process of reconstruction of the building, it was closed for more than 10 years, a scandalous fact, which for the authorities still owe a comprehensive explanation to the public. With the re-opening of the museum, this cultural institution has the potential to become one of the platforms for the promotion of the progressive image of Serbia in Europe and the world. Though, the arrest of two artists in the context of it’s opening, even if only for interrogation, casts a shadow on the blank surface of the country’s political system that on paper protects civil rights, minorities and freedom of speech. Silencing critique about the actual effects of their social, economical and cultural policies through the declarative integration of liberal values is a mainstream tactical move of the New Right that establishes it’s strongholds across Europe and the U.S.

In Serbia, the integration of rightwing political goals with liberal values becomes evident for example in the cultural strategy for the country recently proposed by the cultural Ministry. This policy document includes a list of criteria that define what is Serbian culture, in Serbia and beyond. In almost every detail of the program, the integration of liberal values (cultural tolerance, democracy,…) legitimizes the pushing through of a highly problematic understanding of Serbian national culture. The preliminary document contains a catalogue of precise criteria rooted in folklore, national myths and national hardship, that have historically formed Serbian national identity, which needs to be defended from globalization. With such program, the cultural strategy fosters backwardness and re-tradicionalization of the population, while the economic politics of the government support the opening of the market to most primitive global investors looking for cheap manual labor and low taxes.

The Unbribables with this artistic initiative are aiming to break the public silence about the mental, psychologic and economic repression many citizens of Serbia are exposed to in their professional work, especially in the field of culture, media and education.

October 23 2017

For the Unbribables:
Nikola Radivojević, Rena Raedle, Vladan Jeremić and Tony Maslić

https://theunbribables.wordpress.com

Photos and materials are free for use.

Nećemo kulturu klonova
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UESrULZnJYQ

Nećemo prodaju ljudi, zemlje, fabrika i kulture
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VymdlOLmOI

Nećemo etno brendiranje nego kulturu za sve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTP4yJsBm7M

 

//SCR

Saopštenje Nepotkupljivih povodom privođenja ispred Muzeja savremene umetnosti u Beogradu
Umetnički performans ispred Muzeja savremene umetnosti u Beogradu, izveden 20. oktobra 2017, doveo je do hapšenja dvojice umetnika. Vladan Jeremić, član ArtLeaks-a i jedan od organizatora kulturnog događaja Salon Nepotkupljivih, i Uroš Jovanović, nezavisni umetnik i performer, uhapšeni su i odvedeni u policijsku stanicu zbog saslušanja. Policijski službenici su ih osumnjičili za „vređanje predsednika“, za šta su umetnici tvrdili da im nije bila namera. Državni tužilac je odlučio da ih oslobodi, posle nekoliko sati saslušanja.

Performans, deo programa Salona Nepotkupljivih (https://theunbribables.wordpress.com), izveden je ispred muzeja. Posetioci i gosti koji su došli na otvaranje muzeja bili su pozivani da nose papirne maske koje podsećaju na lik predsednika Srbije, Aleksandra Vučića, pri čemu su im bili deljeni i leci na kojima je bila odštampana samo slika sendviča. Publika je uglavnom pozitivno reagovala na tu akciju, shvativši je kao vizuelnu metaforu strukturalne situacije u kojoj živi većina građana Srbije.

Vlada Aleksandra Vučića, premijera Republike Srbije od 2014. i izabranog predsednika od aprila 2017. godine, zasnovala je svoju vlast na sistemu nepotizma, zastrašivanja, „kupovine“ pristalica dodeljivanjem radnih mesta i privilegija na osnovu partijskog članstva, blaćenja političkih protivnika i kontrole nad medijima. U isto vreme, njegovu vladavinu podržavaju mnogi desničarski lideri iz EU, SAD i Rusije, kao „faktor stabilnosti na Balkanu“. Sistem koji se mogao nazvati partokratijom stvorio je atmosferu u kojoj svaki kritički istup može da kolege okrene protiv vas i konačno ugrozi vaše radno mesto.

U takvim okolnostima, ne iznenađuje to što je privatno obezbeđenje, koje je kontrolisalo posetioce na ulazu u muzej, odmah reagovalo kada je uočilo slike sa predsednikovim likom i letke s nacrtanim sendvičima koje su neki nosili u svojim torbama. Posetioci, među kojima se našao i jedan gostujući kurator iz Danske, bili su tretirani na vrlo grub način i odmah prosleđeni policiji na legitimisanje. Vladan Jeremić, koji se umešao da bi objasnio kako je on jedan od organizatora umetničkog performansa koji koristi te rekvizite, bio je odmah uhapšen. Iako su kuratori muzeja i drugi radnici u kulturi, koji su prisustvovali tom događaju, pokušali da intervenišu i objasnili da je reč o poznatom umetniku iz Beograda, Vladan Jeremić je odveden u policijsku stanicu na saslušanje.

To da u Srbiji nije najmudrije ostaviti i najblaži utisak o posedovanju nekog kritičkog stava prema lideru zemlje, iskusio je oko pola sata kasnije i Uroš Jovanović, nezavisni umetnik i performer. Uhapšen je kada je pokušao da uđe u muzej sa fotografijom predsednika Srbija u zlatnom ramu, uz izjavu: „Vučić – najbolji umetnik.“ Pre nekoliko meseci, predsednikova slika zaista je bila aktuelna tema u medijima, kada su ministar odbrane Vulin i ministar obrazovanja Šarčević predložili da se njegov portret postavi u javne institucije i škole. Predlog je pozdravila i premijerka Srbije Brnabić, zato što, kako je rekla, treba osnažiti kult nacionalnih simbola Srbije.

Muzej savremene umetnosti u Beogradu poseduje dragocenu zbirku umetničkih dela iz XX veka iz ovog regiona. Zbog organizacionih poteškoća u procesu rekonstrukcije zdanja, muzej je bio zatvoren više od deset godina, što je skandalozna činjenica, čije potpuno objašnjenje vlasti i dalje duguju javnosti. S ponovnim otvaranjem muzeja, ta kulturna institucija ima potencijal da postane jedna od platformi za promociju progresivne slike Srbije u Evropi i svetu. Međutim, hapšenje dvojice umetnika u kontekstu njegovog svečanog otvaranja, makar samo zbog saslušanja, baca senku na čistu površinu političkog sistema zemlje, koji na papiru štiti građanska prava, manjine i slobodu govora. Gušenje kritike o stvarnim socijalnim, ekonomskim i kulturalnim posledicama politike koja deklarativno usvaja liberalne vrednosti, jeste taktički sračunat potez Nove desnice, koja pokušava da se uspostavi kao društveni mejnstrim i koja svoja uporišta gradi širom Evrope i SAD.

Integracija desničarskih političkih ciljeva sa nominalno liberalnim vrednostima, u Srbiji je postala očigledna i u kulturnoj strategiji zemlje koju je nedavno predložilo za raspravu Ministarstvo kulture Republike Srbije. Taj strateški dokument sadrži spisak kriterijuma koji definišu šta je to srpska kultura, u Srbiji i van nje. U skoro svakom detalju tog programa, integracijom liberalnih vrednosti (kulturna tolerancija, demokratija, itd.) se legitimiše nametanje vrlo problematičnog shvatanja srpske nacionalne kulture. Preliminarni dokument sadrži katalog preciznih kriterijuma ukorenjenih u folkloru, nacionalnim mitovima i nacionalnim stradanjima, koji su istorijski formirali srpski nacionalni identitet i koji treba odbraniti od globalizacije. S takvim programom, kulturna strategija teži da stvori nazadna i retradicionalizovana mišljenja kod populacije, dok ekonomske politike vlade podržavaju otvaranje tržišta za najprimitivnije investitore koji širom sveta tragaju za jeftinom radnom snagom i poreskim rajevima.

Nepotkupljivi su umetnička inicijativa koja za cilj ima razbijanje zida javnog ćutanja o mentalnoj, psihološkoj i ekonomskoj represiji kojoj su izloženi mnogi građani Srbije u svom profesionalnom radu, naročito u oblastima kulture, medija i obrazovanja.

23. oktobra 2017.

Za Nepotkupljive:
Tony Maslić, Rena Raedle, Nikola Radivojević i Vladan Jeremić

https://theunbribables.wordpress.com

Foto i video materijali su slobodni za distribuciju. Credit: Neptkupljivi
Nećemo kulturu klonova
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UESrULZnJYQ

Nećemo prodaju ljudi, zemlje, fabrika i kulture
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VymdlOLmOI

Nećemo etno brendiranje nego kulturu za sve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTP4yJsBm7M

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