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Hidden Bridges

The question is whether we are capable of overcoming the dictates of public opinion and boundaries between groups, politics and economics in order for us to genuinely foster cooperation for change towards a fairer and more just society

The question is whether we are capable of overcoming the dictates of public opinion and boundaries between groups, politics and economics in order for us to genuinely foster cooperation for change towards a fairer and more just society.

Art doesn’t resolve conflict, but when it is courageous it at least suggests a solution. However, when art is courageous and questions the reality generated by the media, which is important for (re)establishing trust and maintaining relationships, it often encounters varying degrees of state resistance. It wasn’t easy to organise an exhibition in a public institution like the exhibition Bogujevci // Visual History, and it still isn’t easy ten years on. One of the recommendations of the small group of cultural workers from Albania, Greece, North Macedonia and Serbia, who gathered in 2019 with the idea of reconsidering what is required for us to cooperate better in the region of Southeast Europe, was for public spaces to be used more for joint projects and for pre-existing courageous practices to be supported by their countries and thus strengthened. This didn’t happen because we are subservient to the excessive pace of profit seeking that doesn’t have the goal of serving the community, but rather the individual, and everything that exposes the taboos of the system is not seen as being progressive, but rather subversive.

Art and those of us who gravitate towards it must be more courageous and resolute, because it seems to me that only perseverance and honesty can stand in opposition to the challenges in our surroundings

That’s why I think that art and those of us who gravitate towards it must be more courageous and resolute, because it seems to me that only perseverance and honesty can stand in opposition to the struggles in which we live and work. There are topics that remain taboo. This, after all, is also how last year’s 59th October Salon ended, when the last in the series of 46 performances was executed in the public space in front of Belgrade’s Palace Albania as part of the joint work of Croatian artist Antonio Grgić and the performer – Serbian actress and educator Joana Knežević, when tears were left in glass jars – tears for the world, for corruption, for polluted air, for widows, for Kosovo, for culture, for NATO aggression, for Srebrenica, for unborn children, for unborn mothers and fathers, for the October Revolution, for revolution, for evolution.

According to French art critic Nicolas Bourriaud, contemporary contacts between people are directed towards “checkpoints”, where social ties are sorted into different products. Artistic work represents an expression of striving towards the creation of an alternative path of more modest ambitions, the removal of obstacles at some “thoroughfares” and “crossroads”, and to connect aspects of reality that are often distant.

Cooperation in the region exists today and even existed when that wasn’t part of political or economic agendas, but the question is whether those of us who participate in that cooperation are in a position to overcome the fabricated parameters of public opinion. There are no boundaries between different groups; politics; economics and truth, and to be honest towards ourselves and others and to nurture that cooperation in order for something to change on a broader social front in the direction of creating a fairer world.

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