Psychogeography, Psychogeographies

Jelena Stojanović

“[D]adaism sought to abolish art without realizing it,
and surrealism sought to realize art without abolishing it.”
Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

Savamala

The event subtitled The Psychogeography of a Suburb in the Heart of the City took place on 16 November 2013 and consisted of strolling and talking to random passersby. The conversation would start with the question: “How well do you know Savamala?” followed by a request addressed to the interlocutor to indicate his/her “favourite place” and to give directions “how to get there”. Some of these places were: the shop selling paint on the corner of Kraljevića Marka and Karadjordjeva Street, raft club on the river Sava after the Brankov bridge, the Kosančićev venac neighbourhood, the front entrance of a building in Zagrebačka Street, the Stara Kapetanija in Karadjordjeva Street, the Café (in Male stepenice by the Brankov Bridge), Manak’s House (on the corner of Gavrila Principa and Kraljevića Marka Streets), the Railway Museum, the corner of Sarajevska and Nemanjina Streets, the park opposite the Railway Museum, café Top in Sarajevska Street, the Beton Hala on the waterfront. . . .

Milica, not so much as an ethnographer (although the interviewees were locals) but, one could say, rather as an agent provocateur in actions similar to this one, would walk slowly in the streets posing questions to the passersby in this part of Belgrade while Milan would be recording the event on camera. Once finalized the piece was exhibited as an installation in a gallery space. In the brochure of the Goethe Institute in Belgrade that accompanied this event it is written that the Institute supported the project as part of a larger project Urban Incubator: Belgrade which brought together a number of critics, artists and the public in order to reflect on the possible future role of the Savamala neighbourhood. It also explains that the aim of the event was a call to residents, that is those who use the neighbourhood (the citizens?), to get together and jointly with artists reflect critically on the future of this part of town, on their needs and wishes bearing in mind what was roughly narrowed down to two possibilities or models on how cities can be used: the model of corporative culture and gentrification where the new imposes itself on the old and the model where old urban nuclei are preserved, where old, existing, contents are handed back to residents (citizens) for them to use.

The ironical subtitle of the event – a suburb in the heart of the city – functions as a useful working metaphor but also as a reality were the public and public opinion were always, and are once again, pushed aside (marginalized, excluded), where public interest was always, and is once again, taken over by (private) profit considerations. . . . such as the Belgrade Waterfront project so conveniently confirmed a year later.

Experiment in Psychogeography, Geneva

In mid-February 2015, as visiting artists of Maison Baron in Geneva, Milica and Milan, who work together as diSTRUKTURA, strolled (for a week) around the city in the spirit of the project described above. Random passersby were asked to “indicate their favourite place” and to explain “how to get there”. On the basis of the responses of 16 interviewees Milica and Milan compiled a map on how Geneva could be used which circumvented by large administrative, official urban landmarks and focused instead on parks, promenades, including: Maison Baron, Bout-du-Monde, Jet d’Eau, Pâquis, Place des Grottes, Zoo – L’Usine, Kugler, Vélodrome, Bois-de-la-Bâtie, Parc des Eaux-Vives, Bains des Pâquis, the Chateaubriand Playground, Plainpalais, Promenade du Pin, Parc des Bastions, Parc du Grand-Pré (Parc Beaulieu)….

The title Psychogeography is another oxymoron from the dreadfully fake and utterly inefficient arsenal of taxonomies of the Situationist International (IS). With the concept dérive (passage through, drift. . . ) psychogeography appealed for unpacking ideologically the role of the modern city in an era of a society of the spectacle. Unpacking, uncovering that the modern city is a spatial experience relates closely to Althusser’s definition of ideology. This experience signifies merely an imaginary experience of the relationship of the subject to his/her actual existence and that the nearness of the experience of the now and here frames the impossibility of an experience of totality in the formation of a subject in the process of subjectivization.

It is therefore evident and inevitable that psychogeography was conceived as performative act that simultaneously challenges, contextualizes ideologies of art practices, of the role of the artist, of the artistic, in an era of aggressive cold-war modernization and instrumentalisation of the aesthetic: an act of thinking critically the relationship between the consumer and producer, between distribution and production in the process of abolishing.

Not of cancellation nor of accomplishment but of surmounting as the only possible form of the efficiency of aesthetics.

We are living in a beautiful wOURld – Graz

The action in Graz from 10 to 20 July 2013 built itself around conversations with five Serbian artists who had emigrated to this Austrian town. The final product, in the form of an installation, was exhibited in Graz in September that same year. The work consists of 14 short stories (four to 12 minutes long) where the town is thematized through the unique, subjective experience of artists-migrants which exposes the fragility and problematic position of the subject today in an era of brutal financial capital and ever increasing of military industrial complex, where sovereignty (the unconditional condition of political modernity), as an unalienable right and power to manage oneself (one’s body) without there being any external influences, is disappearing. Abolished by force. Like the idea of the sovereign citizen. . . .  Hence, today, the city (polis) is primarily a place of subjectivization; of permanent economic and political exhortation; a place where all forms of dignity have been erased. . . .

The place of bare existence. This is what the stories of the artists-migrants testify about. We are living in a beautiful wOURld has become a palimpsest of its own kind, a unique document of global value, a testimony of the universality of today’s subject being degraded to a status of bare existence.

We are living in a beautiful wOURld goes on. . . .

* Jelena Stojanović is a professor of art history at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Serbia.

Psihogeografija, psihogeografije

Jelena Stojanović

Dada je pokušala da ukine umetnost ne ostvarivši je,
Nadrealizam je pokušao da ostvari umetnost ne ukinuvši je.
Gi Debor, Društvo spektakla

Savamala

Dogadjaj se odvio 16. novembra 2013. sa podnaslovom, PSIHOGRAFIJA PREDGRADJA U SRCU GRADA i sastojao se od šetnje, razgovora sa slučajnim prolaznicima. Razgovor bi počeo pitanjem koliko poznajete Savamalu, da bi potom usledio zahtev da sagovornik označi svoje omiljeno mesto, da bi dao smernice kako da se stigne do istog, prolazniku omiljenog mesta. Odabrana mesta su uključivala ali se nisu ograničavala na farbarsku radnju na uglu Kraljevića Marka i Karadjordjeve, splav na Savi iza Brankovog mosta, Kosančićev venac, haustor zgrade u Zagrebačkoj ulici, Staru Kapetaniju u Karadjordjevoj, Kafić (Male stepenice kod Brankovog mosta), Manakova kuća (ugao Gavrila Principa i Kraljevića Marka), Železnički muzej, ugao Sarajevske i Nemanjine, Park preko puta Železničkog muzeja, Kafić “Top” u Sarajevskoj, Beton Halu, pristanište

Pri tom, Milica ne toliko u ulozi etnografa (iako radi sa lokalnim ispitanicima) već pre reklo bi se, kao agent provocateur nalik delanju u ostalim akcijama slične prirode, bi postavljala pitanja prolaznicima polako šetajući se ulicama ovog dela Beograda, dok bi Milan beležio kamerom ceo dogadjaj. U konačnom obliku je sve predstavljeno u galerijskom prostoru kao svojevrsna instalacija. Ceo projekat se odvijao pod pokroviteljstvom Goethe Instituta u Beogradu i njihovog programa Urban Incubator koji je okupio broj kritičara, umetnika, publike u cilju zajedničkog promišljanja buduće moguće uloge Savamale kako je u jednom od reklamnih materijala Goethe Instituta objašnjeno. Objašnjeno je da je svrha akcije poziv stanovnicima, korisnicima tog dela grada (gradjanima?) da se okupe da bi zajedno sa umetnicima kritički promislili budućnost ovog dela grada, porazmislili o svojim potrebama, željama  imajući u vidu grubo svedene dve mogućnosti, dva modela upotrebe grada. S jedne strane model korporativne kulture i gentrifikacije gde bi novo nasilno zamenilo staro ili pak sa druge strane, očuvanje starog urbanog jezgra sa svim postojećim sadržajima koje bi bilo vraćeno stanovnicima (gradjanima) na korišćenje.

Ironičan podnaslov akcije o predgradju u srcu grada dela kao zgodna radna metafora ali i kao stvarnost gde su javnost i javno mnenje, uvek i ponovo skrajnuti (marginalizovani, isključeni), gde je javni interes uvek i ponovo zamenjen (privatnim) profitom…. kako je to lepo BEOGRAD NA VODI godinu dana kasnije potvrdio….

Experiment in Psychogeography, Geneva

Kao stipendisti Maison Baron u Ženevi, Milica i Milan koji delaju zajedno kao diSTRUKTURA, su sredinom februara (nedelju dana) 2015. godine preduzeli niz šetnji kroz grad veoma nalik gore opisanom projektu. Slučajni ispitanici su zamoljeni da označe omiljeno mesto kao i da objasne kako da se stigne do njega. Na kraju su Milica i Milan sačinili mapu na osnovu iskaza 16 ispitanika, mapu moguće upotrebe Ženeve koja je zaobilazila u velikoj meri administrativna, zvanična urbana obeležja da bi se pre svega usredsredila na parkove, šetališta uključujući Maison Baron, Bout-du-Monde, Jet d’Eau, Pâquis, Place des Grottes, Zoo – L’Usine, Kugler, Vélodrome, Bois-de-la-Bâtie, Parc des Eaux-Vives, Bains des Pâquis, Chateaubriand Playground, Plainpalais, Promenade du Pin, Parc des Bastions, Parc du Grand-Pré (Parc Beaulieu)….

Naziv PSIHOGEOGRAFIJA je još jedan oksimoron iz ubitačnog arsenala lažnih, beskrajno neefikasnih taksonomija Internacionale SITUACIONISTA (IS). Uz dérive (prolazak, besciljno plutanje…) uloga psihogeografije bila je poziv na igru ideološkog raskrinkavanja uloge modernog grada u vremenima društva spektakla. Razotkrivanja, obelodanjivanja činjenice da je prostorno iskustvo koje moderan grad sobom nosi, predstavlja, veoma nalik Altiserovoj definiciji ideologije. Da nije ništa drugo do imaginarna predstava odnosa subjekta prema njegovim ili njenim stvarnim odnosima postojanja. Da bliskost iskustva sad i ovde istovremeno podvlači nemogućnost spoznaje celine, odredjenje subjekta u procesu subjektivizacije.

Stoga je sasvim očigledno i nužno da je psihogeografija zamišljena  kao performativni čin koji istovremeno preispituje, kontekstualizuje ideologije umetničkih praksi, ulogu umetnika, umetničkog, u doba agresivne hladnoratovske modernizacije i instrumentalizacije estetskog: čin kritičkog promišljanja odnosa potrošača i proizvodjača, distribucije i proizvodnje u procesu prevazilaženja.

Ne ukidanja, ne ostvarivanja, već prevazilaženja, kao jedinog mogućeg vida delotvornosti estetskog.

We are living in a beautiful wOURld – Graz

Akcija u Gracu izmedju 10. i 20. jula 2013. godine plete se oko razgovora sa pet srpskih umetnika koji su emigrirali u ovaj austrijski grad. Konačan proizvod u vidu instalacije je pokazan u Gracu septembra iste godine. Rad se sastoji od 14 kratkih priča (od 4 do 12 minuta), koje tematizuju grad kroz jedinstveno, subjektivno iskustvo umetnika-emigranta podvlačeći svu krhkost i problematičnost pozicije subjekta danas u vremenima surovog finansijskog kapitala i beskrajnog širenja militarno-industrijskog kompleksa gde suverenost (bezuslovni uslov političke modernosti) kao neotudjivo pravo i moć upravljanja sobom (svojim telom) bez spoljnjih uticaja nestaje. Nasilno je ukinuto. Kao i ideja suverenog gradjanina… Grad (polis) mesto subjektivizacije danas je stoga pre svega mesto dehumanizacije. Stalne ekonomske, političke prinude. Mesto brisanja svakog oblika dostojanstva…

Mesto golog preživljavanja. O tome svedoče priče umetnika-emigranata. Kao svojevrstan palimpsest We are living in a beautiful wOURld, postaje jedinstven dokument globalne vrednosti, svedočanstvo o univerzalnosti svodjenja subjekta na poziciju golog života danas.

We are living in a beautiful wOURld se nastavlja…

* Jelena Stojanović je profesor istorije umetnosti na Akademiji Lepih Umetnosti u Beogradu, Srbija.

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