florian schneider on Sat, 10 Jul 1999 01:22:12 +0200

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Syndicate: club event and short interview with apsolutno

SUN 11 JUL 99 20:00


A club event with shows, presentations and projections about wars,
borders and bordercamps
feat. APSOLUTNO (Novi Sad) and cross the border (Munich)

Kirchenstr. 96


MON 12 JUL 99 20:00

APSOLUTNO present their works at

Salvatorplatz 1



Interview with two members of Apsolutno, an art association from Novi
Sad (YU).

> You are an experimental art collective from Novi Sad. Can you
describe, how you spent the last three month?

When the bombing started, we first thought it was a bluff, a deal, and
that it would end very soon. However, after a week it was only getting
worse and worse and we were unable to continue with our work, some
projects that we started. So when the second bridge in Novi Sad was
destroyed we left the country. We first stayed in Budapest for a month
and a half, a friend invited us to stay in her flat and people from
Center for Culture and Communication were very hospitable so we were
able to continue work on our projects there. After that we received a
two month residency fellowship in Vienna by KulturKontakt, which was
enormous help for us, and we are still in Vienna. We were very lucky in
that our previous contacts and friendships enabled us to continue a
more or less normal life and spend our time productively. But most of
the people who left Yugoslavia just spent time sitting in Budapest
waiting for visas or for the end of the war.

> Your works began on the field of fine arts, but in the last years you
included more and more political influences. Is it a result of the
political situation in Balkan region or does it more refer to your
groups development over last 6 years?

Both. We started moving towards the idea of dealing with our immediate
context, and as the context was more and more politicized, so our
production included these aspects as well. Our conception is to deal
with the hear and now, following absolutely real facts, wherever we are
and whatever that is. Also, there is a moral responsibility of artists
in such societies to not ignore what is happening. So the events of the
90s in the Balkans have had a great influence on our work and way of

> Borderlines and boundaries seem to be important issues in some of your
recent works. Can you describe what you realised and what was the
esthetical impact of borders within the FRY context and within the
context of your works?

We started dealing with the issue of borders first because we
experienced them very deeply - as borders became very difficult to pass
within ex-Yugoslavia, but also borders within Europe. The issue of
borders can be seen on many levels: physical, political, administrative,
but also mental. In ex-Yugoslavia there are many places where the actual
borders don't exist, but the mental barriers are very strongly present.
But we think there are elements of this phenomena in other places in
Europe too. In our project HUMAN we are marking the border between
eastern and western Europe by putting a traffic sign on the no-mans-land
between countries. On the sign there is always the same word, but
written in the languages of the neighbouring countries: MAN. The
projects addresses issues connected with borders, such as the
possibility of communication, understanding, cooperation etc in the
world which insists on borders and exists within them.

> You work with a range of different old and new media. Is it a
strategical decision or does it come from tactical desiderations?

The field of art at the end of the century experienced an enormous
expansion, both in a semantic sense and in the sense of the media. The
choice of medium is part of the work, a message in itself. It is an
absolutely real fact that there is an ecclectic spirit in arts in our
times. We use a particular medium as part of the concept of the project,
there is always a fusion of contents and the medium. It is an open
process, in which we also learn and experiment with the possibilities of
each medium we deal with.

> Why there's such a significance of independent media in FRY's
political and aesthetical discourses?

Because first of all there is a great need for independant media in FRY,
which never had a continuious existance. The very existence of
independent media stands for basic democratic values. There is a need
for the media which would be outside of the constraints, and which would
therefore be more flexible, deal with more open research and provide a
pluralistic view. This is necessary not only in the political sphere but
in the domain of mental atmosphere and way of thinking, in arts as well.

> In the last few weeks discussions "urban culture of Yogoslavia" was a
buzzword for non-compromised resistance on practical cultural level and
it was very much connected to the myth of B92. What is the broader
meaning of this expression and how or where it will continue after the
stop of NATO bombing?

The dichotomy urban versus rural, or advanced versus primitive etc is a
completely wrong way to deal with the situation, which is much more
complex. The myth of B92  created an impression that B92 is the only
'different' view, and that such a view can only come from the centre of
the country. Such a black and white framework doesn't correspond to
reality but it was a much easier way to create a presentation of the

> People from Novi Sad describe the actual situation like a "now or
never". What are your plans for the nearest future?

In the last ten years there have been many times when it was 'now or
never' but this time perhaps it really is so. Our plans are also related
to the development of the situation. We are a group of four members, one
lives in Sombor (north Serbia), and has been in Yugoslavia all the time
of the bombing, another is doing his MA studies in San Francisco, and
the two of us are currently in Vienna. We will certainly continue with
our work, and this displaced position is adding new layers to our
experience. Our definite plans can not be made much into the future. We
are in an absolutely temporary position right now and  that is the way
we are thinking.



the independent association apsolutno was founded in 1993 in novi sad,
yugoslavia. the production of the association is created through
collaboration of its four members (zoran pantelic, dragan rakic, bojana
petric, dragan miletic). since 1995 the works have been signed
apsolutno, without any reference to personal names.

the production of apsolutno started in the field of fine arts.
gradually, it has developed to include not only aesthetic, but also
cultural, social and political aspects. the production is realized in
various media (video, printed materials, installations, site specific
projects, audio, cd rom) depending on the idea of the project. the work
of apsolutno is based on an interdisciplinary research into reality,
with the aim to make it open to new readings. this is an open process,
which focuses on diverse phenomena in the surroundings, and therefore
requires continuous perceptiveness in order for such phenomena or places
to be noticed, understood, interpreted or marked. projects are often
realized in public spaces or in locations for specific purposes (such as
a shipyard, a bridge, cemetery, borders etc.). the artistic conception
is based on the principle that the way to the global, i.e., universal,
is through the local. therefore, projects typically start in a response
to a sociological, cultural or political stimulus from the immediate

contact: apsolutn@rocketmail.com


The myth of borders was always tied up with the myth of pushing them
back, overwhelming them, and moving the frontier forward. In the current
process of globalization, borders, at least those which encompass
nation-states, seem to dissapear in a way -- but for flows of money,
goods, and capital, not for people. Borderlands have become a laboratory
for new control technologies, and the postmodern or post-national
borderlines become the barrings of a worldwide apartheid system.

Cross the border is an association of activists and artists working on
the fields of politics and media. For the first time the group came
together at Hybrid Workspace during documenta X, in order to promote the
'no one is illegal' campaign. These days the handbook 'no one is
illegal', edited by cross the border, is being published in ID-Verlag,
Berlin. In four weeks, from august 7 - 15, cross the border is one of
the organisers of the camp on polish-czech-german border triangle

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