[artinfo] Call for artists: TESTIMONY - TRUTH OR POLITICS

e-artnow info at e-artnow.org
Tue Oct 25 14:29:20 CEST 2016

Call for artists


The Concept of Testimony in the Commemoration of the Yugoslav Wars

Center for Cultural Decontamination


Deadline submissions: November 10th

The Center for Cultural Decontamination, Belgrade;
The Ignorant Schoolmaster and his Committees, Belgrade;
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade;
are leading the artistic research, production of 
audio artworks and the traveling exhibition in 
the project Testimony - Truth or Politics in 
cooperation with Boem, Vienna, Austria; Via 
Lactea, Avelgem, Belgium; Observatory for the 
Balkan and Caucasus, Transeuropa (OBCT 
Transeuropa) Rovereto, Italy; as well as academic 
institutions in Europe.

Artists are invited to submit their proposals and 
additional material for this open call by 
November 10th 2016. Selected proposals will be 
announced through email by the November 20th 2016.

The research for and production of the artworks 
will be conducted till June 2017 and the final 
artworks will be presented in autumn 2017 in a 
traveling exhibition in 4 countries -Italy, 
Austria and Belgium, concluding at the Milica 
Zoriç and Rodoljub âolakoviç Gallery-Legacy of 
the Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, Serbia.

The project is based on over 200 interviews done 
with war participants and anti-war activists, in 
the years 2012-2014 as a part of the project 
Naming IT War and additional interviews that will 
be done through this project's duration. It 
presents two lines of intertwined research of the 
concept of testimony in commemoration practices 
and the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. It regards 
both interviews and the artworks reflecting on 
these interviews as testimony. In this context 
the artists are invited to study both the 
material side of the testimonies i.e. sound and 
voice, their content and the political, economic, 
social and cultural context at different key 
moments of the testimony i.e. the time of 
experience, the time of testifying and the time 
of production of the artworks.

Project concept:
25 years have passed from the beginning of the 
Yugoslav Wars. This new war in Europe has shaken 
the perception that the structures built after 
WWII will ensure a lasting peace. This project 
aims to increase the production of knowledge 
capital, disseminating the realities of facts 
about the wars - their participants, causes and 
consequences by gathering testimonies from war 
participants and anti-war activists. Reflecting 
on these testimonies through exhibitions and 
conferences will emphasize the role of testimony 
as an act of active citizenship in creating the 
historical narrative through public debate. 
During the conflicts and afterwards, some 
testimonies were used by the official 
establishment of each of the succeeding country, 
in the media, in schoolbooks or historical 
exhibitions to justify its own national, ethnic 
or religious position, while others that were not 
willing to justify these positions were silenced 
through direct political repression and through 
systematic erasure of the frame of reference that 
relates these testimonies to the reality they 
presume to represent. That precise testimony that 
points to the functioning of the system is the 
testimony that Primo Levi defines as anti-fascist 
and as such political. With Foucault we assume 
that the function of the intellectual is not to 
lead the masses but to struggle against the 
barriers installed by his/her peers which prevent 
these testimonies to be effectively heard in the 
public sphere. Since the end of the wars, a new 
generation has grown up that has no direct 
experience of war, and has been informed only 
through these manipulated narratives. This 
project will show how individual testimonies act 
as a critical force against officially 
communicated history and reflect a common 
experience of these wars and their consequences. 
Since witnessing is a participative act, 
testifying is an act of speech with multiple 
addressees at once, in the least, those relating 
to the situation testified upon, the situation of 
testifying and a self-address which constitutes 
multiple speakers. The simultaneity of time and 
space creates an ever changing assemblage of 
singular-plural social relations, intimate and 
political, at work much after the testimony has 
been given and anew each time it is heard. The 
diversity of social relations at the base of 
testimony makes its relation to reality, both 
that experienced and that in which testimony is 
heard, complex. This makes it unstable for the 
purpose of the listener whose demand is for The 
Truth i.e. a comprehensive meaning which would 
constitute the person testifying as Subject and 
both testifying and testified factual situations 
as Events. The artistic research, exhibition and 
conferences will examine how reality emerges from 
the plurality of testimony regardless of the 
different regulative measures taken by the 
various listeners - individuals, institutions, 
theory, disciplines, ideologies and language 
itself - in order to unify speech.

As mentioned above, the exhibition is focused on 
audio-works (installations, composition, 
performance, etc.). Artists are invited to work 
with voice and sound as well as with content so 
that the call welcomes also artists who do not 
speak the language in which the interviews were 

Artists are encouraged to conduct new interviews 
and include them in the project alongside and in 
dialog with the existing ones.

Interested artists are required to send the following:
1.	Concept of the artwork and a preliminary 
timeline for realization (1 to 3 pages A4);
2.	A draft budget;
3.	CV/portfolio not to exceed 3MB, larger 
files should be sent via Wetransfer with the 
reference stating the name of the proposed 
4.	The selected artist will be invited to 
participate in a 4-day preparation seminar in the 
beginning of December in Belgrade, Serbia. The 
seminar will include presentation the project 
Naming IT War and other projects related to 
commemoration of the Yugoslav Wars, conceptual 
discussion of Testimony as well as discussion 
with the artists of their future projects.

All materials should be sent by 10.11.2016, 00:00 CET to the email address:
<mailto:testimony at czkd.org>testimony at czkd.org.

For access to the interviews and for any further 
information, please contact: Zoran Eric, Noa 
Treister and Vahida Ramujkic 
(<mailto:testimony at czkd.org>testimony at czkd.org).

<mailto:testimony at czkd.org>testimony at czkd.org
Vahida Ramujkiç
Phone: +38163380002

Center for Cultural Decontamination
Bircaninova 21
11000 Belgrade

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