© by Iva Kontic
 

AGIT-PROP-FLASH-MOB (or The Workers' Dance into the Twilight)

2015-2016 |  series of public performances - video-sound installation

AGIT-PROP-FLASH-MOB is a PhD art project made within the University of Arts in Belgrade and presents a series of public performances taking place in different geographic and social contexts, which are then transferred from everyday life space to the exhibition space in the form of video-sound installation. 

AGIT-PROP-FLASH-MOB analyses the role of the engaged art practice in the current socio-economic settings and the potential of art to be an active participant in the social changes. Its starting point is the problematic position the individuals are facing on the current labour market which frequently leaves them to their own means, making it more and more difficult for them to adapt and fit into the system in a way which would be consistent to their approach to fighting for their existential and labour rights. The project finds its inspiration in the increasingly popular phenomenon of public group dance within the workers’ protests that have surged from 2009 and the global financial crisis - as a creative means to express the collective dissatisfaction and the issues connected to the survival of the individual in the society of today and its economy frame. The work takes up its name from the popular contemporary phenomenon of flash-mob, often itself used by the mass media to describe the protest dances and the agitprop practices of historical avant-garde which employed art for the promotion of political ideas and ideologies to the masses. 

AGIT-PROP-FLASH-MOB re-contextualise the strategies of the historical avant-garde movements, referring in particular to the revolutionary dance performances of the American leftist dance companies from the 30s of the past century, which pioneered the use of dance as a form of collective protest and mobilization instrument for exposing the harsh social reality of workers and the labour class in direct response to the 1929 stock market crash followed by the Great Depression. Today, in the time of the Great Recession, it seems like those strategies can be once again at the core of the discussion about the functionality of art in terms of its relation to the everyday reality and its responsibility when it comes to the social issues. Yet, in an era deeply immersed in digital, telematic mass culture and saturated by the multitude of technological apparatuses - where the ideological enchantments are declared long overpassed - can there be a successful version of artistic activism similar to the past experiences inside the contemporary context? Through physical movement, can art agit the public and mobilise the social conscience in a common cause, or each action and gesture dissipates in the electronic ocean of shared experiences and sophisticate marketing forms?

 

AGT-PROP-FLASH-MOB - performance

Belgrade, Trg Republike, 25 June 2015, 7 PM

(video footage of the performance and the performance instructions)

 

VIDEO-SOUND INSTALLATION

The public performances are transformed into the video-sound installations which, at the same time, video document the performances and offer insight into their choreography via audio recordings of the instructions, creating a new perspective for the interpretation of the artistic gesture in the urban public space.

AGIT-PROP-FLASH-MOB Belgrade - Instructions
00:00 / 00:00

 

AGT-PROP-FLASH-MOB - performance

Madrid, Plaza Mayor, 7 July 2015, 8 PM

(video footage of the performances)

 

 

AGT-PROP-FLASH-MOB - performance

Munich, Marienhof, 16 May 2015, 6 PM

(video footage of the performances)

 

PUBLIC PERFORMANCES

Organized in city squares, the performances involve a group of participants “recruited” on the spot, who collectively perform the choreography by following the instructions of movements on their mobile phones or mp3 players. The audio instructions are made out of the testimonies of various individuals from the local community on the most frequently repeated physical movement during their work experiences so that every street intervention adapts to the context within which it takes place. 

AGIT-PROP-FLASH-MOB in Munich

Marienhof, 16 May 2016