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May 25, 2010 / Talking Critic Arts

Forum Skopje 2010

The round-table A Public Space between Solidarity and Violence will take place in the framework of the Forum Skopje 2010 on May 27, 2010 in Mala Stanica, Skopje.

Participants of the round table are Marko Golub (Croatia), Stevan Vukovic (Serbia) and Nika Grabar (Slovenia). The round table will be moderated by Nebojsa Vilic (Macedonia).

The main concept of the debate theme is based on the following quote: “Violence may be in some sense ‘encoded’ in the concept and practice of public art, but the specific role it plays, its political and ethical status, the form in which it is manifested, the identities of those who wield or suffer it, it is always nested in particular circumstances.” [W. J. T. Mitchell, “The Violence in Public Art”, pp. 37-8 in W. J. T. Mitchell (ed.) (1992) Art in Public Sphere. Chicago: University of Chicago Press]

According to Nebojsa Vilic, this quote underscores three main lines of art in open public space, related to the City of Skopje as The City of Solidarity. The first aspect is, certainly, the excerpt about “particular circumstances” – the relationship between the ideological and political as the constituent of the appearance of the figurativeness (as narativeness) in the state purchases of sculptures in the central area of the city. The second aspect pertains to the notion of “political” status in the public art, i.e. political as execution of politics of arts – enforcing public interest in the zone of public space. At the third, simultaneously joining and dividing aspect is the one related to its “ethical” status.

Skopje, as The City of Solidarity in the mid- and late-1960s, in the recent years became “city of violence”. Therefore, the City itself is located between the ethical status of international campaign of leftist structure of SFR Yugoslavia (we can recall: the disaster of Skopje earthquake is not measured through the number of dead only: 1 700 casualties, and the level of destruction, 85% of the central urban core, but the international community was driven to solidarity by the fact that it was the first big casualty after the WWII) and the ideological structure of the new nationalism in the new, democratic processes of transition of governing right-wing political parties.

Therefore, the debate aims to analyze this complex relationship between ideology, politics and ethics, through the relationship of the purchased (visual) art and the public open space. Then, to define the ideological, political and ethical discourse towards the City of Skopje, in the sense of discourse of the ongoing internationalization of solidarity into the right-wing (ideological) milieu. And, finally, to position the potential links between the neoliberal (responsible) individual and the conservative (nationalistic) group.

Potential guidelines:

  • public art as part of the ideological planning of the city
  • artistic activity in the public open space as ethical conduct of artists
  • controversy of public art in the polis
  • political discourse of public art, and
  • critical debate about the public critical debates on art

The round table is organized by Forum Skopje together with partners from the region –  Artservis/SCCA-Ljubljana, Clubture / (Croatia) and (Serbia).

The round table A Public Space between Solidarity and Violence is organized in the frame of the regional project Let’s Talk Critic Arts initiated by portal for culture from Belgrade in cooperation with partners from Slovenia – SCCA/, Macedonia – ForumSkopje and Croatia – Clubture / Project is supported by ECF – European Cultural Foundation.


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