© by Iva Kontic
 

I WHISTLE YOU WHISTLE WE WHISTLE

2012-2013 | mixed-media installation

I Whistle You Whistle We Whistle results from several months of following of Belgrade's everyday chronicle of protests during the last quartal of 2012. Belgrade has a strong tradition of protesting. In the 90s, this was the main form of opposing to the government and its dictatorship, with more than half of population marching on the streets of the capital on daily basis. The protesting in Serbia proved to be a winning formula for triggering social and political change, which brought about the revolution in 2000 and the process of democratisation. Today, reflecting the global economic and social shifts and facing a series of problems encountered in the process of transition to capitalism and its “new” system of rules and values, Serbian society is again involved in a series of protests of most different kinds. From organised union protests triggered by general crisis in the region and the rest of Europe, to student demonstrations for free education and better educational policies, various labour strikes aiming to improve working conditions, to small group and individual protests for social rights of strictly local focus - the protesting has become such an everyday phenomenon that the streets of Belgrade see up to 3 different gatherings in one single day. Yet, the spirit of “standing up against” and “collectiveness in the urge for change” has been overcome by the general tiredness and mistrust in the success of protesting and its potential of making the difference. The high frequency of the protests and a small number of protesters make more and more popular the reaction of indifference, resignation and slight irritation (comments like “ah, what they are protesting against now!” are typical). Similarly, in the media, protests are no more “the Big news” and they usually end up being just a brief report in daily chronicle announcements. I whistle, you whistle, we whistle is an attempt to expose and analyze the today’s “state of mind” in relation to the idealistic vision of protest as a social alliance against The System and as a collective expression of dissatisfaction and urge for change - starting from the specific geo-historical context of Belgrade and Serbia.

I Whistle You Whistle We Whistle - wall calendar

 

I Whistle You Whistle We Whistle - video and sound mix from the installation (extract)

 

I Whistle You Whistle We Whistle is composed of a  video projection, a wall calendar and a soundtrack. The video projection presents a re-enactment of the protesting activities in Belgrade from the last three months of 2012, through the sequence of performative actions made by the artist. Holding a whistle in her mouth, she stands silently at each location where the original protests took place, but a year later, inside of the everyday reality of Belgrade streets. The three-month wall calendar marks the dates of the protests from the video projection (the last three months in 2012), which are signed instead of holidays and festive days, usually found in calendars. The video projection and the calendar are accompanied by the “compilation” of whistling sounds taken from various archive footage of Belgrade protests, which is played on loudspeakers placed in the exhibition space.