The Association: APSOLUTNO
This was the official website of the association known as APSOLUTNO. APSOLUTNO made a subjective inventory of events, ideas and influences that marked the last five years of the century and millennium. By exploring the 'absolutely now and absolutely here' APSOLUTNO aimed to pose questions, create metaphors and point to absurd situations and paradoxes brought by the time we lived in.
The content below is from the site's archived pages and other outside sources. Additional information can be found at: www.apsolutno.net/
In 2006 The Absolute Report was published. It was edited by a number of APSOLUTNO
contributors living in both Europe and the US. Although it is a decade sine the book was published I recently acquired a copy from a vape store to which I sell wholesale vapor products. You might think this strange, but I have found that a lot of the older owners and employees of vape stores are into politics, the arts, and philosophy. The last time I had stopped by with the newest atomizers and vape accessories we had discussed the art scene and movements in Europe at the end of the 20th century. He had mentioned APSOLUTNO and their guiding principles of searching for sites and situations with a symbolic or metaphorical potential in relation to a wider social context within the themes of time, space, code, and memory. He explained how the collective of artists would take the absolutely real facts as a starting point for their interventions, turning the familiar, usual, or even marginal, which was often no longer even perceived, into something unusual, out of the ordinary, and worth further exploration. I expressed interest and voila, the next time I was in town, he produced the book. The book was an Absolute Report of the last five years of the 20th century from the perspective of their specific artistic network that was active at that time. The book presented the projects that APSOLUTNO created in that period, as well as reports by various artists, media thinkers and other important personalities that APSOLUTNO met within the same East-West art network.
So for those of you who have come across this site, take a trip back to when APSOLUTNO was producing some incredible projects.
The association APSOLUTNO was founded in 1993 in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia. The products of their association is created through collaboration of its four members ( Zoran Pantelic, Dragan Rakic, Bojana Petric (and Dragan Miletic from 1995 till 2001) Since 1995 the works have been signed APSOLUTNO, without any reference to personal names. The word APSOLUTNO means ABSOLUTELY (adv). Grammatically, adverbs can modify various elements and take different positions within a sentence. This flexibility is an important characteristic in the work of the association. The word APSOLUTNO is often used in titles of the works to emphasize certain meanings.
The artistic activity of the collective ceased in 2005, since when its experience has been transferred and integrated in new forms aimed at creating conditions for and examining artistic production and artistic organisation. This was APSOLUTNO's website for a number of years.
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 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 surroundings.
The choice of medium is a very important part of the creative process, as APSOLUTNO regards the medium as an equally relevant element of the work. APSOLUTNO is a collective of three members, dealing with interdisciplinary art work and media pluralism.
APSOLUTNO uses various types of texts (such as a report, advertisement, essay, poem) and stylistic devices (the use of citation, the language of computer communication, etc.) not only as an explanation of the work but also as its integral part, which, explicitly or implicitly, conveys certain content - criticism, irony, paradox or absurdity.
milana rakica 15
21000 novi sad, yugoslavia
phone/fax: ++381 21 2339
The association Apsolutno presented its production in numerous exhibitions, festivals and symposia at home and abroad, including:
BITEF 96, Belgrade; Kwangju Biennial ’97, South Korea; OSTranenie festival, Dessau 1997; The 44th Festival of Short and Documentary Film, Belgrade; Transmediale, Berlin 1998; ISEA, Liverpool 1998; The Wroclaw New Media Festival 1999; The Media Festival Oberhausen 2000; The VIPER Media Festival 2000, Basel; “Inside/Outside” 2000, Warsaw; “Hiroshima Art Document 2000”, Hiroshima, Japan; Tribu’ dell’arte, 2001, Rome; TELE[VISIONS], 2001, Vienna; EVIDENCE, DVC Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Biennale Big Turin 2002, Turin; The European Biennial Manifesta 4, Frankfurt; De Appel, Amsterdam; Artists’ Space, New York; etc.
Fan mail: My 87 year old uncle turned me on to this site. He was an artist and a writer and looked to this site to find like minded culture fanatics. Although he was in an assisted living facility in Bel Air MD, he was very active online. He wrote and surfed the internet from his room at Hart Heritage, where I'm told he stayed up very late working on his projects. Now that he's passed, every time I see a story related to a post from Apsolutno, I think of him and his incredible life in art and words.
The idea for this piece originated during the 78 days of NATO's operation "Allied Forces " in Yugoslavia. It features a film-still from the documentary film "The Last Oasis", which was shot in the early 80's, in the Baranya County region of the former Yugoslavia, now the Republic of Croatia.
The film reveals the beauty and diversity in one of the largest wildlife refuges on the Balkan Peninsula, which has become endangered by industrial and agricultural development, as well as human disrespect for nature in general. Situated between the rivers Danube and Drava, the Oasis' marshes attract a variety of species, some extinct from the rest of the European Continent.
On October 13, 1967 the area, known as Kopacki rit, was declared a Nature Park (17,770 ha), including the Special Zoological Reserve (6,234 ha) protected since May 14, 1969. With great admiration for this small but vibrant ecosystem, director Petar Lalovic passionately explores the Oasis and reminds us of the times when wildlife was thriving in this part of Europe. The title of this film is a pivotal reference, revealing a complex narrative structure.
Consider when the film was made and recent events in the Oasis.
The early 1980's in the Yugoslav political arena were very dynamic and occasionally eruptive after 35 years of an iron regime. In May 1980 Marshal Tito died. From today's perspective his death can be seen as a turning point; after years of a progressive and comfortable socialist era, Tito's death hastened the separation of the six Yugoslav republics into five new countries. Many see Marshal Tito as the single authority figure that kept post WWII Yugoslavia together. Coincidentally, Tito was an avid hunter who enjoyed this noble activity in the region where "The Last Oasis" was filmed.
Positioned in the middle of the Balkan Peninsula, on the outskirts of the Iron Curtain, between the communist East and the capitalist West, Tito's Yugoslavia had a unique position in the global community, a virtual Oasis with its own guiding principle of self-management. Yugoslavia was part neither of the Warsaw Pact nor of NATO.
Yugoslavia, India and Egypt initiated the formation of Non Aligned Countries, at a summit in Belgrade, September 1-6, 1961. Thirty-one years later, at the meeting of Ministers of Non-Aligned Countries held in New York on 30 September 1992, it was decided that Yugoslavia cannot contribute to and participate in the activities of the NAM any longer. Yugoslavia, one of the initiators of the NAM, ended up expelled from the organisation it had founded. Radical political shifts like this one cyclically strike the Balkans. In this part of the world, a socio-political trophy frequently transforms into atrophy.
The film-still chosen for this piece shows a scene with deer shedding its antlers. This process occurs when the animal is aged and represents a turning point in the animal's life. It also redefines the value of the horns. The animal's pride and symbol of power is about to vanish. At the same time, the animal's life is becoming much safer. Today, a male deer is primarily hunted for its rustic horns, which are used for decorative purposes or to remember a successful hunt. After the horns are shed, neither hunters nor collectors value them as highly as if they were taken with the animal's skull. When found in nature, antlers can be used for many purposes, but not as a trophy. Only a killed animal is potentially a trophy.
A deer hunt may last for days, and if a hunter faces this scene he/she may experience enormous frustration. But for the camera and the director, this moment is a sparkle of nature's magnitude, a real trophy, since it captures an extremely rarely seen event in nature. It is an instant arrested, a pregnant moment when everything tips over into a new framework of meanings.
Obviously, the event itself carries antipodal references and the interpretation depends on one's point of view and the given context. In this sense, the title of the installation, a·trophy, suggests certain readings of the image and emphasizes the binary nature of the event beheld in the image (a trophy signifies power and authority, whereas atrophy signifies loss or decay of a system). When related to a certain political and military context, such as the one we started working in, the reading of the image provides material for drawing parallels and asking questions: what is a trophy and what is atrophy in a wider socio-political sense? Similarly to the variety of possible interpretations of the image, there is a variety of possible answers to these questions as well. However, it is certain that the author of the Last Oasis had never anticipated that this sequence would gain such a rich metaphorical significance and become a trophy of an atrophy.
"The Last Oasis" was directed by Petar Lalovic, and produced by DunavFilm Beograd in 1984
0002 The Greatest Hits
The Greatest Hits [TGH] is a CD Rom project which in an ironic way deals with the idea of progress at the end of the millennium. This concept is developed in two fields of human achievement, digital technology on the one hand and medicine on the other, using the notion of a virus. Both computer and human viruses are elements which disturb the balance in the system, computer or human, however sophisticated and protected the system may be. The emergence of a greater and greater number of both types of viruses at the end of the millennium indicates the boomerang effect, i.e. the vulnerability of man and technology despite the progress achieved. At the same time, virus is a phenomenon that does not appear in an isolated system; it only occurs during an interaction between either people or computers. Therefore, it might be said that virus is a kind of a side-effect of communication. As our age is an age of communication, it is also an age of viruses. Any communication carries a risk of contracting a virus.
The Greatest Hits [TGH] contains two TOP TEN lists of these two types of viruses, composed according to the statistical data about their harmful effects (hits, or blows which 'hit' the mankind).
The project itself is conceived as a kind of a virus, which plays a game with the viewer, and is, as any other virus, completely user-unfriendly. The user has few possibilities of choice while moving through the CD Rom. In addition, there is no exit option anywhere in the CD, alluding to the situation of no escape in the course of the technological progress. The only two ways to exit the project are either for the user to restart the computer, or to contract the specially created virus, Absolutely Demo Virus [ADV], contained in both TOP TEN lists.
0003 Tyme Tryeth Troth
TYME TRYETH TROTH
Project for the Improvement of the English Landscape Value
"Venerable trees should give an air of dignity and continuity to a Gentleman's Seat."
Veitch, cited in: Rackham, O. (1986) The History of the Countryside.
"...(to) enhance the exhisting landscape by judicious ... alterations.ibid.
Present condition and guidelines for improvement
"Most of the oldest trees show significant crown dieback or other damage, and could be aesthetically improved by restrained tree surgery."
Nettlecombe Park and Pleasure Grounds.
Historic survey and restoration plan.
Nicholas Pearson Associates LTD
Environmental Planners Landscape Architects
August 1992, p. 19/26
"Dense weed growth, dead bamboo and overhanging trees reduce appreciation of the orchard pond, which is also subject to siltation. Dense laurel precludes enjoyable access to the north corner of the pleasure grounds."ibid. p. 19/26
"The high banks on which the hedges are planted form the next characteristic of these counties, rendering it difficult to see the adjoining fields or country from the road, and being really a great nuisance to a stranger. We have also to complain of the narrowness and depth of the lanes, or parish roads and the general want of guide-posts."
John Claudius Loudon (1842) "Travels in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset"
in : In Search of English Gardens. National Trust Classics
Possible additional costs
"... compensation for lost grazing to the agricultural tenant would be required."
Nettlecombe Park and Pleasure Grounds.
Historic survey and restoration plan.
Nicholas Pearson Associates LTD
Environmental Planners Landscape Architects
August 1992, p. 23/26
Outcome of the project
"... the effect ... is romantic in a very high degree."
John Claudius Loudon (1842) "Travels in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset"
in : In Search of English Gardens. National Trust Classics
Special thanks to Tom Wolsely
0003 Le Qauttro Stagioni
The project Le Quattro Stagioni is the result of a one-year action, which took place during the four seasons of 1996. In each season, one member of the association was photographed in 19th century costume.
All four photos were taken on a site recognised by APSOLUTNO as a symbol for the place and time we live in. This is a memorial cemetery where Soviet soldiers were buried, situated on ground belonging to an Orthodox chapel. The communist memorial and the orthodox chapel stand next to each other. Thus, in this place two contrasting and co-existent symbols, the red star and the orthodox cross, are juxtaposed.
The members of APSOLUTNO are photographed as 19th century figures, looking forward to the future. Their impatience to move into the next century is symbolised in the bicycles they are all holding. In order to travel faster, they use a device which is well-known locally: a corncob put into the bicycle wheel.
The photos were used as illustrations for the pseudo-calendar Le Quattro Stagioni, in which dates are marked by numbers in an indication of of how many days remain until the end of the century and millennium.
0003 Time Out
In "Time Out" APSOLUTNO applied a strategy based on observation of, and reaction to certain visual elements in the surroundings, chosen for their richness of meaning. By intervening on such elements it is possible to achieve specific conceptual as well as aesthetic effects.
In the case of "Time Out" the perceived visual detail was a composition on the wall of a building belonging to the Trinity Church, in Sombor, northern Serbia. The composition consisted of a sundial on a mural with an inscription in Serbian and Hungarian: "One of these is your last one!"
APSOLUTNO responded to this warning by installing an awning above the sundial. By stopping time in this way, a specific response was given to the inscription.
1. a musical composition played by an instrument or a group of instruments
2. serving as an instrument or means
3. Gram. (in certain inflected langugages, as Old English and Russian) noting or pertaining to a case having as its distinctive function the indication of means or agency
In the sound installation instrumental the art association APSOLUTNO uses two instruments, the letter and the bullet. The two notions are generally regarded as antipodes; the letter personifying cultural values, literacy, transmission of knowledge and communication, and the bullet standing for destruction, devastation, communication breakdown. However, language as a powerful weapon has always been misused and abused. In order to emphasise this, the art association APSOLUTNO equates the letter with the bullet, two instruments which are too often used for the same purpose.
The letter and the bullet in instrumental are not used as visual symbols, but rather, as the title of the work suggests, as instrumental (aural) elements. The common ground for these two antipodes was found in Morse code. In Morse code, each letter is represented by a sign made up of one or more short signals (dots) and long signals (dashes) in sound. In instrumental, APSOLUTNO replaced short signals by the sound of shots (1 shot = 1 dot), and long signals by machinegun fire (1 burst = 1 dash).
instrumental is a message encoded in Morse code. It is accessible by telephone, from an answering machine installed on a telephone line. In this way, the message is presented just like any other information given by public services.
The information about the telephone number where the message is installed is printed on cards, which are distributed in the exhibition space. Apart from the phone number, the cards contain Morse code, so that the audience can decipher the message.
The message begins with the announcement of a song - Lilli Marleen. The song is played in its instrumental version, in which the lyrics are converted into the sounds of shots and machinegun fire used as signs of Morse code. The radio announcement at the beginning of the message is taken from the soundtrack of Fasbinder's film "Lilli Marleen". It refers to the historical fact that this song was played for the first time from Radio Belgrad, in 1941. At the end of the 'song' there is a quotation from Fasbinder's film, a sentence spoken by Hanna Schigula, who plays Lilli Marleen in the film: "Aber das ist nur ein Lied!" ("But this is just a song!").
Lilli Marleen features in instrumental as a frame of reference to regimes, both historic and present, in which the letter is given the role of the bullet.
0003 Good Evening
The project "Good Evening" has been realized in the media of a video and a booklet. Both parts focus on the role of the media at the end of the 20th century. While the video "Good Evening" makes reference to the medium of television, the booklet "Good Evening" refers to the medium of the press. The link between the two parts is established by the use of the same sentence "Good evening" - the standard way tv news readers address their viewers at the beginning of the news.
The sentence also implies the 'evening' of the century and millennium. In the booklet, this sentence is written using the logos of the main daily newspapers, in the corresponding languages. The only other element of the booklet is the pagination, which, instead of numerals, consists of symbols used to mark moves in a game of chess. After 32 moves, the same number as the number of pages in this publication, this game of chess ends in a checkmate, a situation from which escape is impossible.
0004 Belgrade 00,04
The project HUMAN is focused on the global events on the European territory. Marking the borderline which divides Europe into East and West is in the basis of the project. This borderline has a long history during which it has gone through a number of changes, but its meaning always prevailed. This borderline exists as an invisible curtain which either tolerates or prevents different forms of communication on various levels. Since 1989 and the fall of the Berlin wall, we have been witnesses of a geopolitical regrouping followed by the disappearance of borders between the states in the western part and the establishment of the new "united" Europe, while in the eastern part a multitude of new nationalistic states with strictly controlled borders were formed. In this action the association APSOLUTNO marked the above mentioned line (WE-EE) by placing a traffic sign with the inscription "MAN" on no-man’s-land between the borders of the countries along the line. Thus the association pointed out the (in)equality of PEOPLE and their destinies in both of these entities of European territory. The word HUMAN which is on the signs, is written in the official languages of the neighbouring countries.
The invisible borders
Apart from marking the borderlines which divide Europe, parallel part of the project HUMAN is recognition and marking of the "invisible" lines which divide a geographical whole or an urban entity. The divisions instigated by war, economic, legal, political or cultural disputes, cause a form of (un)communicativeness between people. These borders carry psychological weight because unlike official borders they have no barriers nor signs but it is obvious that the border exists.
Example: The action* of marking the invisible border carried out in Mostar in 1996, Bosnia and Hercegovina * Armin (18), division line between east and west Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
In this action APSOLUTNO used official certified documents (used in Yugoslavia) - permissions for transport of animals outside of the country. The forms were filled with the data referring to people of various professions, such as:
With these ironic changes of identity the association symbolically legalized emigration of the war refugees on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees every fifth inhabitant of the planet is a refugee.
0004 In memoriam
The starting point for IN MEMORIAM, a project realized on the occasion of the 1000th anniversary of Austria, was taken from the recent history of the Balkans. IN MEMORIAM is based on a parallel drawn between two important events in Austrian and Yugoslav history: the assassination of Prince Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914, and the assassination of King Aleksandar Karadjor|evic in Marseilles in 1934.
Two authentic banknotes from the perid, the Austrian Crown and the Yugoslav Dinar, were used in this project. APSOLUTNO exchanged both the images of the monarchs and their respective coats of arms on the banknotes. In this way two new bank notes, the APSOLUTNO Crown and the APSOLUTNO Dinar were created. The exchange rate between the two currencies was then determined and entered into the official currency list of one of the Austrian banks. According to the list, these two currencies are of equal value.
IN MEMORIAM was first presented at the Merzweckbau Symposium in Schrattenberg, Austria in 1996.
This installation was realized for the opening of one of the more significant group exhibitions in Belgrade. As the basis of its intervention the association APSOLUTNO chose plastic notice-board with the data such as working hours, which can be usually found on the entrance doors of stores, offices, galleries etc.
The notice-board which was placed on the entrance door of the gallery had the following text: Warning! You are entering the gallery on absolutely your own responsibility.
With this intervention the association APSOLUTNO emphasized the differences and parallels in the relation between life and art.
April, 1996, Belgrade
0004 Absolutely Temporary
Is it possible to determine the borderline between the temporary and the permanent? That question instigated this project. The project is centred around the bridge on the 1261 kilometer downstream the Danube, which connects Petrovaradin and Novi Sad (Vojvodina, Yugoslavia). The bridge was built in 1945 as a temporary solution and the intention behind it was to replace it with a new, bigger and more beautiful one. Various circumstances got in the way and prolonged its temporary character till nowadays.* Finally by placing the memorial plaque 42 years later (1987) the bridge was inaugurated in the "Marshal Tito’s Bridge" and transformed into an object of permanent historical value. However the plaque disappeared two years afterwards.
The association APSOLUTNO recognized the story about the bridge as a universal illustration of an absolutely temporary condition and as a platform for re-examining the relations between temporariness and permanence of things.
As a part of the project APSOLUTNO performed a ceremony during which a new plaque with the inscription "Absolutely temporary" was unveiled.
* The bridge was destroyed during a NATO air attack on 1 April 1999.
0004 Absolutely Nike
A photo action of marking the four remaining objects on the Athenian Acropolis on January 1, 1996
Throughout the history this place has changed its function and character. During the numerous attempts to conquer Athens, it suffered considerable damage, but in spite of that it has still continued to be one of the most significant monuments of European civilization and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world.
However, the largest part of the complex is artificial, which can be illustrated by numerous facts. The maintenance of the object close to the original condition is being achieved by the "temporary architecture" and teams of experts and archeologists from all over the world are working on it. It is well know that, for example, the Caryatids on Erechtheum, the friezes on the Temple of Athena Nike, as well as that most of the huge stone block are not original.
On the other hand, pollution and industrial waste present an acute global problem. Acid rains have done more damage in the last couple of decades to the objects on the plateau of Acropolis than the last 2500 years. The alarming state of the monuments prompted organizations for the protection of monuments of culture to invest in the conservation of the monuments. But the conservation is performed as plagiarism, and monuments are redone in modern and more resilient materials. Thus saved from further deterioration, monuments are subject to new readings and interpretations.
The association APSOLUTNO chose Athenian Acropolis as a clear example of the ambivalent initiative of the governing political structures who by conserving the monuments of culture, transform them into the monuments of the civilizational progress. Such processes of fabrication of artificial ambients which are presented to the public as historical artifacts correspond to the basic principles of VR. Using this sophisticated method of deceit, centres of power create even greater manouvring space with the absolute victory of capital as their ultimate goal.
The remaining four objects at the same time symbolize the last four years till the end of the century and millennium.
0005 I am absolutely ..
I AM ABSOLUTELY EVERY MOMENT ABSOLUTELY HERE
This project was inspired by the theory of a group of physicists active at the beginning of the 20th century which believed that comprehensive reality consisted of spatially discrete elements connected by intrinsic non-local ties. Einstein did not accept this theory; he carried out conceptually the EPR (Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen) experiment in order to prove that non-local ties did not exist and that there were hidden variables which humankind was still not capable of discovering. However, he proved precisely the opposite, paradoxically shaking his own understanding of quantum physics. The result of this experiment - which was later carried out by Bell - proved that two electrons rotating in opposite directions present an indivisible whole connected by interdependent links into an absolute unity regardless of how distant they are from each other. The sculptural nature of such a system cannot be comprehended in terms of discrete elements. Both particles of the rotat
ing electron connect by momentary non-local ties which surpass our civilizational mental patterns*.
The sentence - 'I am absolutely every moment absolutely here' - was sent from Sombor to Horn,
thence to Vienna, and then on to Novi Sad and so completed a circle functioning as a synonym of the absolute. By its cyclical form and its contents this project, in a simple way, formed the territory of the absolute constructed space and the absolute temporal span.
The project was carried out in 1995 at the end of November through to early December.
* Revised from Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics
0005 A36YKA absolut in Wien
This project was realized during a three-month stay of the art association APSOLUTNO in Vienna in 1995. It started as a reaction to various aspects and connotations of the environment in which APSOLUTNO found themselves.
With all its historical connotations, Vienna is connected to Serbian culture in a unique way. One of many events that occurred in Vienna and have had a significant impact on Serbian culture is related to the creation of the Serbian Cyrillic Alphabet - the AZBUKA. Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic (1787-1864), "the creator of the standard Serbian language and literature"*, printed the first Dictionary of the Serbian language using the AZBUKA in 1818. AZBUKA is still used as one of the two official alphabets in Yugoslavia. The Dictionary was printed in the Mechitharisten Monastery printing house in Vienna (Mechitaristengasse 4).
On the city map of Vienna, APSOLUTNO pointed out all thirty letters of the AZBUKA, formed by the directions of the streets. This was followed by an action in which APSOLUTNO, with the permission and the assistance of the Viennese police, blocked the traffic in these streets with a yellow emergency ribbon. At the same time, each house or building in the streets comprising the "letters" was marked with a label with the following text in German: "This house absolutely lives in the letter ...". The labels had the same layout as the street-name plates in Vienna, and were written in the same letter font. Finally, a brochure about the action was printed in the Mechitharisten Monastery, in the same printing house in which Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic's Dictionary was originally printed in 1818.
An integral part of the project is a version of the first German - Serbian Dictionary published by Jovan Kangrga in 1928. In this 'Dictionary', all words have been erased; only the punctuation marks remained, in their original positions. Five copies of the dictionary were made.
This project was conducted during the war in former Yugoslavia, when, due to the UN sanctions against F.R. Yugoslavia (of which Serbia is a part), communication between Austria and Serbia became extremely difficult. By blocking the traffic in the streets of Vienna and erasing the words from the original dictionary, APSOLUTNO referred to the block in communications between Austria and Serbia, in spite of a long tradition of strong cultural links between the two countries.
*Quotation from the memorial plaque on the house in Marokkanergasse 3, Vienna, where V. Karadzic died.
0005 Absolutely Dead
The association has conducted an investigation of a death of two transoceanic liners under suspicious circumstances. They are found in Novi Sad, Vojvodina, Yugoslavia, between the 1,258th and 1,259th kilometre of the Danube. The ships lie parralel to each other with their bows turned towards the south-west. The ships are 105 metres long and 16.2 metres wide. The main deck is 9 metres high on both ships. Their cargo capacity is 5,700 tons. There are no visible traces or signs on the spot which undoubtedly indicate a certain cause of death. The position of the ships, as well as the place and time they were found in, indicate an absolutely death. The investigation was conducted on 21 September 1995, from 6 pm to 9.30 pm.
Time: July, 1995, war on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia; sanctions and media blockade; absolute control of the media by the political regime in Belgrade.
The object of action was a newspaper kiosk out of function. Through the glass panes of the kiosk one could see a brick wall. This form of "remodeling" was a common occurrence at the time of the severest economic crisis in Yugoslavia during the nineties. It was a way to avoid paying building permits and taxes.
The association APSOLUTNO put the sign NEWS[PAPER] on the door and thus "reactivated" the kiosk. With the sign NEWS[PAPER] the whole situation, including the place and time gained a completely different connotation. The text accompanying the photograph is the quotation on censorship taken from the encyclopedia in the edition of the Leksografski zavod, Zagreb, 1966.
Newspapers have always been subjugated by the authority in power [unless, of course, the paper in question is the mouthpiece of the authorities]; the Establishment jealously guards the privilege of controlling and censoring what is printed or published. One of North America's greatest journalists, Benjamin Franklin, had to cease publication of his newspapers several times under the coersion of royal censorship.
The French Revolution gave powerful impetus to the development of journalism; revolutionary ideas and social upheaval provoked the interest of the masses. Newspapers became a weapon in the struggle against the ancien régime and their number significantly increased during the first years of the Revolution. However, Napoleon's regime suppressed the freedom of press and permitted only semi-official papers to circulate in the areas under rule. The restoration of the "legitimate" monarchy and the Holy Alliance did not herald the reinstatement of the freedom of press: newspapers were prohibited from addressing political issues candidly.
from The Encyclopedia of the Lexicographic Institute, Zagreb MCMLXIII [revised]
The project 'Absolute News[papers]' was carried out in July 1995 at the Fish Market in Novi Sad
0005 BREAKthrough [PRElom]
The installation addresses the issue of war and presents it as a circus arena.
0n the front wall there are two shotguns, one below the other, in a broken position. The upper one is ready to be reloaded and used again, while the lower one is completely broken and unfit for usage. In that position they also form the visual archetype of the military insignia. The floor is covered with saw dust and metaphorically it brings into focus the territory of the whole region and puts it on the level of the circus ring.
The installation was realized for the first time on May 25, 1995, the date which was celebrated in x-Yugoslavia as the birthday of the president Josip Broz Tito†.
For the second time the installation was realized at Kwangju Bienniale in 1997, Hybrid section, but with important alterations: the shotguns in the installation which were taken from the Kwangju police archive had been used in the government’s retaliation on the citizens who took part in the revolution in South Korea in 1980.
Berkeley, CA, USA, University of California - Art Department
Enschede, The Netherlands, Dutch Art Institute
San Francisco, CA, USA, Yerba Buenna Center for the Arts, "Colloquium on Net.Art"
Belgrade, Yugoslavia, School for theory and history of art, CCAB
Paris, France, VIA #5, Art Festival
Wroclaw, Poland, WRO99 - Media Art Biennale
Vienna, Austria, Akademie der bildenden Kunste
Berlin, Germany, Shift Gallery - "shift-tage"
San Francisco, CA, USA, SFAI - Center for Digital Media class, "Artist in Cyberspace"
Graz, Austria, Forum Stadtpark Gallery - symposium
Vienna, Austria, Basis Wien, TGH CD Rom
Munich, Germany, CLUB 2
Munich, Germany, MEDIENFORUM, Literaturhaus
Dessau, Bauhaus Dessau, "Apsolutno - Interventions In The Urban Space"
Dessau, Bauhaus Dessau, "The Semiotics of Confusion"
San Francisco, CA, USA, SFAI - New Genres department class, "Installation"
Maastricht, Netherlands, Jan van Eyck Academie - "en/passant 99" programme
Sofia, Bulgaria,Gallery of Foreign Arts
Varna, Bulgaria, TED Gallery
Pula, Croatia, INK
San Francisco, SFAI - New Genres department class, "Beginning Video"
Dortmund, Germany, MeX, Kunstlerhaus
Kassel, Germany, Dokumenta X - "Hybrid Workspace" [Terminated by Pit Schultz]
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 5.LUR, production Fund for an Open Society
Somerset, UK, Nettlecombe Studios, Shave Farm '97
Belgrade, Yu, Cinema Rex, 21. oktobar, The Absolute Sale
Sombor, Yu, City Cultural Centre Gallery "Laza Kostic"
Dessau, Germany, Bauhaus, The International Electronic Media Forum "OSTranenie"
Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 4.LUR, production Fund for an Open Society
Budapest, Hungary, C3, Center for Culture and Communication