Grupa Spomenik / Monument Group Timeline
City of Belgrade launches the competition “Sculptural design for a memorial to the “FALLEN FIGHTERS AND VICTIMS OF 1990-1999 WARS IN THE TERRITORY OF FORMER YUGOSLAVIA“, (including those killed in the NATO bombing) in the Zvezdara City Park. The initiative to build a monument is put forward by three organizations: The Military Invalids’ Association, The Fighters of Wars Since 1990 Association and the Association of Parents of Soldiers Killed in NATO Bombing “Victims Support Group.”
A group of artists – some 50 theoreticians, architects, and writers gathered around the project entitled “Discussion About an Artwork” (Initiated and founded by Milica Tomic, artist) – identify the competition and its topic as important, above all because this is the first time after the breakup of Yugoslavia that the state of Serbia, in the text of the competition announcement, raises the issue of the common ground between politics and art. In a series of meetings and discussions on the “monument case”, a discussion group analyzes the text of the competition requirements and tries to come up with a common reply to the text of the announcement.
The first public discussion of the discussion group was attended by the representatives of the “Victims Support Group”, the parents of the soldiers killed in the NATO bombing. Despite the initial differences in opinion, the discussion leads to a common conclusion, a demand for the cancellation of the competition. The public discussion gets extensive public attention and generates stories on TV and radio news, as well as panel discussions and commentaries in the press.
Following several weeks of consultations, discussions and the exchange of opinions, a part of the discussion group sends a letter to the relevant City of Belgrade Ministry of Culture bodies asking them to cancel the competition and organize a public discussion to include all from the former Yugoslavia interested in this topic.
The City of Belgrade monument board concludes that the title of the competition – ” THE MEMORIAL TO THE FALLEN FIGHTERS AND VICTIMS OF 1990-1999 WARS IN THE TERRITORY OF FORMER YUGOSLAVIA” (including those killed in the NATO bombing) was announced by mistake, and that the City Parliament is cancelling the competition.
The group gathered around the “monument case” submits a proposal of the Monument Project to the City of Belgrade Ministry of Culture dealing with the problems raised by the previous two competitions.
A new competition is announced soon: for a sculptural solution to the issue of a suitable memorial to the “VICTIMS OF THE 1990-1999 WARS IN THE TERRITORY OF FORMER YUGOSLAVIA”. The City of Belgrade Ministry of Culture invites the group of debaters gathered around the “Belgrade monument case”, to delegate two of its members to the jury of the newly announced competition. They decline.
After the competition is closed, the jury examines 57 applications and unanimously decides that no prizes will beawarded. The members of the jury state that the unclear textual explanation of the competition requirements is one of the reasons for this outcome.
The City of Belgrade Ministry of Culture organizes a first public discussion in the premises of the Fine Arts Association of Serbia. The group gathered around the “monument case” refuses to participate, saying that the discussion is inadequately conceived.
The discussion group organized discussions about its goals, methods and politics and decided to name itself the Grupa Spomenik (Monument Group). Grupa Spomenik organized public discussions with the people who started the initiative for the monument dedicated to the wars during the 90s in the former Yugoslavia, theoreticians and
artists from the former Yugoslavia. The artistic act of the Grupa Spomenik was to declare its activities as a public monument dedicated to the 1990s wars on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. These activities were expressed through a series of artistic works, performances, discussions, conferences and publications.
Members of the Grupa Spomenik submit to the City of Belgrade a new upgraded version of the “Belgrade monument case” project proposal, advocating the improvement of the public discussion, and suggest the following steps: Gathering information for public discussion about the competition for the memorial to the victims of the 1990-1999 wars in the territory of the former Yugoslavia; Preparation and organization of the serial public discussions about the competition; Realization of artistic works which deal with the topic of the competition and the events surrounding it, as well as with its consequences in the field of art, politics and contemporary social relations.
During the panel discussion Overcoming the Past, at the Center for Contemporary Art in Sarajevo, the “case of the Belgrade monument” is presented by the Grupa Spomenik (Branimir Stojanovic) and discussed in the context of the artistic and intellectual scene of the former Yugoslavia for the first time.
Grupa Spomenik organizes a discussion in Rex Cinema with the participation of the representatives of the institutions, associations, boards and bodies involved in initiating and running the competition, as well as a number of artists and citizens who applied to the competition or who followed the events and discussions relating to it. The intention of the Grupa Spomenik is to present those interested, and the relevant City and state bodies, with a systematic and multidisciplinary approach to the topic which it holds to be of the utmost relevance to the immediate past and future of all the citizens of Belgrade and the Republic.
The City of Belgrade Ministry of Culture announces a new competition for the conceptual, artistic, architectural and urban solution for the Savski Square in Belgrade, with a monument dedicated to the “VICTIMS OF THE WARS AND DEFENDERS OF FATHERLAND FROM 1990-1999.”
The competition is over, no first prize is awarded. The second, awarded to architecture students Jelena Pancevacand Zarko Uzelac, is recommended for realization. The Belgrade City architect is quoted as saying: “It is great thatthe students got the award. The main quality of the work is that the memorial has been treated in an urban way in the context of a landscaped solution.” An exhibition of works is put on, followed by a discussion.
Grupa Spomenik continues to hold regular meetings, makes plans for a documentary and a publication about the case of the Belgrade monument, and for more public discussions about the memorial, now under construction.
Politics of memory, Prague Biennale, Monument of Transformation, Prague, Grupa Spomenik (Nebojsa Milikic, Milica Tomic and Branimir Stojanovic). Grupa Spomenik exhibits an installation made out of “Politics of Memory” publications (bilingual edition, English and Czech) as a “participative object”, as to say “distributive monument”. In this way the publication which is a transcript of the (im)possibility of building a monument, becomes a public discussion, stays in the hands of the viewer, and the exhibited installation in the form of the monument disappears.
Publications of The Politics of Memory by the Grupa Spomenik are specific products that were made in a ‘no man’s land” between a publication and distributive artifact. The content of these distributive publications are transcripts ofconversations about the wars in the 1990’s the form of which is a distributed object/artifact. The first conversation was lead between the members of the Monument group with each other. By looking over all their decisions, thesis and failures they attempt to pin down the moment when the citizen initiative grew into political subject, requiring new tactics in order to play a complex game of political distance from both the state and civil.The context of the second conversation, lead between the Monument group, members of the The Military Invalids’ Association, The Fighters of Wars Since 1990 Association and the Association of Parents of Soldiers Killed in NATO Bombing “Victims Support Group”, were the reasons and results of the initiative for building a monument in Belgrade to the fallen fighters during the wars in the 1990s. The result of this double structure, publication-distributed object is in its direct distribution of these transcripts without censorship.
Politike secanja (Politics of Memory, just in Serbian language), produced for the exhibition – 24. Nadezda Petrovic Memorial ‘Transformation of Memory’. Politics of Image, Cacak, Serbia. Grupa Spomenik (Nebojsa Milikic, Milica Tomic and Branimir Stojanovic)
Politikat e kujtesës, Contemporary Art Centre Stacion, Pristine, Milice Tomic solo exhibition ‘Politics of memory’. Grupa Spomenik (Nebojsa Milikic, Milica Tomic and Branimir Stojanovic) produces participatory monument made of distributive objects – publication with transcript of the talk where group members talk about dynamics and politics of the discussion group under title Politics of Memory, bilingual edition, English and Albanian.
Politics of Memory – Where the Genocide Was, Shall the Political Subject Be
Conference organized by Grupa Spomenik/Branimir Stojanovic and Milica Tomic, 4-5.
October, CZKD (Center for Cultural Decontamination). The goal of this conference was to
question the production of the monument as the only possibility to memorialize the wars in the former Yugoslavia. The conference participants included artists, film theorists and
anthropologists from the former Yugoslavia.
Umetničkih prezentacije i studije slučaja…
Damir Nikšić, “Spomenik Šehidima (BREZOVO POLJE – BRČKO)” – prezentacija projekta i “Sarajevsko venčanje”, projekat za spomenik u Sarajevu,
Nino Raspudić, “Mostarski Brus Li – apsurdni spomenik ili spomenik apsurdu”,
Suzana Milevska, Grupa Spomenik, “Politika sećanja – slučaj beogradskog Spomen-obeležja žrtvama ratova i braniocima otadzbine od 1990
Diskusija “Savski trg”, i slucaj beogradskog “Spomen-obeležja žrtvama ratova i braniocima otadzbine od 1990 do 1999″, diskusija
Branislav Belić, predsednik komisije za imenovanje ulica i trghiva grada Beograda,
Jelena Pančevac i Žarko Uzelac, arhitekti, pobednici konkursa za idejno rešenje spomenika i uređenje Savskog trga,
Nebojša Milikić, umetnik,
Branimir Stojanović, teoretičar,
Milica Tomić, umetnik
Moderator: Borka Pavicevic
Video Discussion, 5 channels, sound,color, 150 min
Politics of Memory: Where the Genocide Was, Shall the Political Subject Be
Albert Heta, artist;
Nebojsa Jovanović, theorist;
Branimir Stojanović, theorist,
Milica Tomic, artist
Translator – Albanian language
Grupa Spomenik, lecture/performance KUDA.org, CK13, Novi Sad
December 2007- April 2008
Grupa Spomenik (Milos Cvorovic, Svebor Midzic, Darinka Pop-Mitic, Branimir Stojanovic, Milica Tomic) daily working, rehearsing a performance based on the second publication Politics of Memory in the Context Gallery, Centre for Cultural Decontamination, and private apartments.
Exhibition Renaming Machine, Ljubljana
Grupa Spomenik izlaze:
The Politics of Memory: Lecture Room No. 1
An Archival Perspective on Renaming, 2008
sound and text installation P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Institute – Ljubljana, The Peace Institute –
Ljubljana, press to exit project space – Skopje, and Stacion – Prishtina.
The Renaming Machine looks at the complex entanglements involved in the political and
cultural processes of renaming. Its main concept reflects the crucial need to question the
way these processes have influenced the construction and destabilization of the memory
of national, cultural and personal identities in the former Yugoslavia and South-Eastern
Europe over the past two decades. The project will examine various artistic and cultural
phenomena associated with the notion of “renaming” in order to determine the extent to
which renaming affects visual culture and shapes the cultural identities and cultural
politics of the region.
Mathemes of Re-association, lecture/performance Grupa Spomenik/Branimir Stojanovic and Milica Tomic presented at the conference Cultures of Memory and Emancipatory Politics, Re-visioning Past and Communality in the Post-Yugoslav Spaces, Center for Research, Art, and Civic Engagement “The City”, Tuzla.
Mathemes of Re-association, Lecture Room No.2, Newspaper editorial board
Grupa Spomenik (Damir Arsenijevic, Svebor Midzic, Darinka Pop-Mitic, Branimir Stojanovic, Milica Tomic) 27.09.- 4.10. International Art Exhibition 49.October Salon/ The Monument Group is establishing the Editorial Board of the newspaper. After two months of work in the exhibition space, the editorial board will publish the newspaper Mathemes of Reassociation, which will inform about, and cover the effects of dislocation of the scene of contemporary science and theory from Bosnia and Herzegovina, into Serbia, that is to say, the editorial board space will serve as an intermediary in the debates initiated by these two discourses within Serbia’s public and intellectual space. In the center of the debates are the following concepts: missing persons, victims, mathemes, traumas, and testimonies — concepts that originated through the discourse of contemporary science and theory in Bosnia and Herzegovina. By dislocating of the scientific and theoretical community from Bosnia and Herzegovina into Serbia, a space is being created for the discussion and collaboration with scholarly, administrative, and theoretical community,
and interested public in Serbia.
Naming and Renaming, performance lecture, Gupa Spomenik/Branimir Stojanovic and Milica Tomić, at the Renaming Machine, conference, Stacion/Centre for Contemporary art, Pristina.
VOID/Lab/Open Lab, Tanzquartier Vienna, Form research: places and policies of production, 3day-research project Grupa Spomenik/Milica Tomic. Artists and theorists introduce to each other the context and socio-political construct they are working in (Paf, Bucharest, Beirut, Belgrade, Vienna); to discuss the specific ‘voids’ and its representations
of the void/refoulé/disappeared/hidden in e.g. a political, biographical, historical perspective – beyond the observation of the phenomenon of conceptual aesthetics.
Mathemes of Re-association Newspaper, producing the newspaper – Monument Group (Ana Bezic, Damir Arsenijevic, Pavle Levi, Jasmina Husanovic, Branimir Stojanovic, Milica Tomic)
NEWSPAPER ‘MATHEMS OF REASSOCIATION’ EDITORIAL
The conceptual framework of the newspaper ‘Mathemes of re-association’ positions anew a key topic, concern about which is at the heart of the ‘Monument’ Group’s work: how to enable space for discussion of the wars of the 1990s in former Yugoslavia. In enabling such a space, the basic premise is that each participant discussing the wars of the 1990s is a witness to the politics of war. The enabled space then offers scope for reflection, through which any participant might gain an insight into her or his own political position in and relationship to the wars of the 1990s. The key focus of the newspaper ‘Mathemes of re-association’ is the genocide in Srebrenica – with its intention being to probe the participants’ positions on the wars of the 1990s in former Yugoslavia.. As an object of
discussion, the genocide in Srebrenica creates a reflective space in which is inscribed, by anyone speaking about it, a political position. Today, thirteen years after the genocide, it is not a simple object, but rather an object constructed through contemporary science and the techniques of administering and managing post-genocide trauma; theories of genocide; the legal obligations of ICTY; the heterogenous communities of witnesses of
genocide. The newspaper ‘Mathemes of re-association’ will engage actively in the opening up of space for discussion of all discourses, material practices and spontaneous ideologies, all of which constitute the object of the genocide in Srebrenica and an opportunity for each discourse to inscribe its own politics and its position of articulation.
Heritage and art between state ideology and grassroots activism Annual conference of the ASA. Anthropological and archaeological imaginations: past, present and future, The Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth, Bristol Grupa Spomenik—the politics of memory,Grupa Spomenik/Damir Arsenijevic, lecture/performance
PERFORMANCE STUDIES iNTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE # 15
MISPERFORMANCE: Misfiring, Misfitting, Misreading will take place in Zagreb, Croatia, June 24 – 28 2009. It isbeing hosted by the Centre for Drama Art as principal organizer, in collaboration with several other research and cultural institutions: the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Comparative Literature Department; Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology Department) and the Academy of Drama Arts (Dramaturgy Department) of the University of Zagreb, Zagreb Youth Theatre, Teatar &TD and the Zagreb University Student Centre, alongside the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research. Grupa Spomenik (Damir Arsenijevic, Pavle Levi, Jasmina Husanovic, Branimir Stojanovic, Milica Tomic) Grupa Spomenik will present, in the form of a “Pythagorean lecture”, its recently published newspaper, “Mathemes of Re-association”. In this newspaper the question is posed: What still remains after the genocide in Srebrenica? Grupa Spomenik believes that the genocide is fully speakable, but that politics and critique of ideology are the only proper languages in which it can be spoken. Grupa Spomenik intervenes in the established dynamics of administering the genocide: it treats case numbers (assigned to the victims) as mathemes, in order to disrupt the holophrasing of
science and the politics of terror, and to maintain the openness of the gap, the rupture, that is constitutive of politics proper. The dynamics of the “Pythagorean lecture”, a specific form of transmission of knowledge, are determined by the physical positioning of the lecturer. The lecturer stands behind a curtain so that, for the audience, his/her voice
serves as the only a cce ssible sou r ce of in fo rma tio n a nd re pre sen ta tion . Grupa Spomenik will seek to utilize the device of the “invisible lecturer” as a means of separating its discourse from everyday representations and doxa—a device for ushering the problematic of genocide into the realm of factual and speakable abstraction. Mathemes will thus be counterposed to mise-ne-scene, directness of abstract knowledge to the meanderings of representation.