I grew up in a small town which reconstructed its cinema just two years ago. The programme of the cinema is based on the Hollywood blockbusters and the Serbian commercial classics. I gained the access to cinematography through local cinematheques in which the most avant-garde film is Natural Born Killers from Oliver Stone, with somewhat quality production of ex-Yugoslavian film. Practically, I know very little about world cinematography, nor inside my physical surroundings do I have access to the knowledge of cinematography, unlike my “Western” colleagues with similar intellectual sensibility who, not only have access to a multitude of cinematography, but also to the excessive reviews of that cinematography.
A chance for a more systematic insight of a video art and somewhat an experimental film, I had during the namaTREba.ba video fest in Trebinje and Kratkofil film fest in Banja Luka, and that’s all that happened for the past four years; before that there had been a complete and utter darkness in that regard.
The available literature which deals with the topics of contemporary art? The domestic authors and their works practically don’t exist, aside from a few interesting texts which serve as the introduction to exhibition pamphlets, written by some domestic “theorists”.
Intellectually hungry, I manage to survive on foreign translated texts from Croatia and Serbia (luckily, with the same language area which Bosnians are obstinately trying to change), where the publishers I’m interested in exist to some extent. Today, in Bosnia and Herzegovina there is not a single magazine which is concerned with art reviews. The Vizura magazine ceased to exist after several issues and the magazine Tačka has been waiting for its fourth issue for four years already. I am not familiar with the existence of any publishing houses which translate theoretical debates of today nor do I have any insight of what is happening with visual art and the following rhetorical paradigms, inside or outside the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina, occurring Here and Now. Several cultural institutions which foster contemporary art see and acknowledge the same as “Great Biennial“ with many exclusive guests who are prepared to impress the “domestic elite“ with their intricate metaphors (in the sense of productivity).
Here is a quote from the practically only one critically oriented group: “pioneer conversations, analytic processing and critical freedom, characteristic for the needs of a narrow, discursive space, represses, condemns and does not realize inside the cultural institutions of the state.“ [A group of visual artists Tač.ka: http://tacka.org/htm/tacka_eng.html]
I have used every invitation, opportunity for a shorter or longer holiday or students’ time abroad, in the countries of the European Union, collecting any pamphlets or books that were available for me.
Based on this, there are two conclusions:
-Young, contemporary artists who grew up in Bosnia and Herzegovina do not live through contemporary art, in the sense of absence of continuous contact with the contents of contemporary art and its connection with the cultural ether as a whole.
-For their young, Western-European colleagues who move along much more complex sphere of happenings and occurrences, connected to the discourse of contemporary art inside the physical space, they are formally dilettantes.
1. a person who claims an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment or knowledge.
2. a person having a superficial interest in an art or a branch of knowledge.
3. an admirer or lover of the arts.
Nevertheless, there is always a ‘but’. But, even among this pessimistic illustration of formal inferiority of young Bosnian and Herzegovian artists, they often manage to neutralize the negative effects of their physical and cultural ether. How?