© by Iva Kontic
 

NA DANASNJI DAN (or 25 May & I)

2011 |  two channel video installation

Na Današnji Dan (or 25 May & I) is a video installation dealing with the relationship between the history and personal memory in connection to the phenomenon of 25 May, the Youth Day in the former Yugoslavia.

The Youth Day was a national holiday in the former Yugoslavia, as well as the official birthday of its former president Josip Broz Tito. Introduced by Tito in 1957 and celebrated until 1987 (seven years after his death), it would start each year with carrying of the National Relay around the Yugoslavian territory and its former republics, which was accompanied by various manifestations organized in each town and city. The central celebration was held on 25 May, when the Relay would arrive in Belgrade to the stadium of JNA (Yugoslavian National Army), now Partizan Stadium. The final and biggest manifestation called „Slet“ would take place on the stadium and Tito would receive the Relay. The “Slet” spectacle, which included massive gymnastic exercises and music concerts, was regularly transmitted on the national television.

The work has the starting point in the relationship of the artist herself to the historical reality of 25 May. Born after Tito, during the final phase of Yugoslavian era and the Youth Day phenomenon, her experience is defined by private and family sphere, unaware of the broader context. Her memories present a construct of the „posthumous“ historical interpretations and mostly are borrowed from the family stories, albums, postcards and personal objects.

Na Današnji Dan (or 25 May & I) is composed of two video pieces running simultaneously. The video shown in TV monitor investigates individual experience in relation to the central manifestation of 25 May, “Slet”, through a collage of extracts from the interviews with various people, all former citizens of Yugoslavia and direct testimonies of that historical event. Relatives, neighbours, family friends - all the participants come from the artist’s close surroundings, representing a sort of selected circle of her personal historic figures. Their memories and anecdotes add to each other in the documentarist survey-like reconstruction of the event. The interview ‘compilation’ is juxtaposed with a video projection which depicts Partizan Stadium in Belgrade, in its current state and everyday light, distant from the festive atmosphere of the former national spectacle and almost completely lacking the marks of its history. The only element alluding the site’s historical background is the artist’s performance in the centre of the stadium, while she reenacts the parts of mass-choreographs from “Slet” manifestations. The performance amplifies the autobiographical aspect of the work and it is an ironical commentary on the mission-impossible character of the work’s “objective” - to catch the “truthful” in the collective memory and transmit a first-hand individual experience which is defined (and therefore limited) by the past and historicization. The image sequencing in the video imitates the TV reportages of “Slet” found in the archive of Radio Television Serbia.

 

Na Danasnji Dan (or 25 May & ) - two channel installation (one-screen version)

 

Na Danasnji Dan (or 25 May & )

Mikser Festival, Belgrade (partial views of the installation)

ARTRA, Milan | Palazzo Forti, Verona