The Boyar’s life is a miracle Alle Artikeln aus DIVUS LIVE (blog)
The Boyar’s life is a miracle

The Boyar’s life is a miracle

20.09.2012

ArtLeaks | en

The handover of power after the 2012 Serbian elections meant a shift in the country’s geopolitical alignment as well as its system of government. The effect on the cultural economy is beginning to show the paths its future development might take. This case-study examines ethno-centric cultural real estate projects as symptoms of a possible regression to feudal relations.

The rise of the “ethno-city” in Serbia and Serbian-held parts of Bosnia between 2003- 2012 represents a new stage in the retroactive “improvement” of national history, especially of the ethnic-cleansed areas. The “ethno-city”, is a form of sprawling tourist resort in which visitors gain education – that is the acceptable interpretation of the national narrative. Unlike most ordinary “ethno-villages”, which just try to turn profit and survive, the larger, “ethno-cities” are typically built in areas where the population has been cleansed by war or economy. These “ethno-cities” are sanctified and protected by their “ethno” status, which also means they are in a way, state & church-run enterprises under private ownership. If the ethnified villages are the kitchy continuation of their own existence and the regular village tourism, the “cities” seem more like descendants of earlier machines for improving a sense of history, philosophy and spirituality – the baroque “folly”, and the theme park. The latter day Serbian follies have been known to grow into modest hamlets of wooden mountain houses, castles, cinemas, swimming pools, multiple restaurants of national cuisine, clubs, gyms, libraries, kindergarden, saunas, skiing resorts, hotels, and the obligatory Russian-esque wooden village church. The cities, just as the castles of yesteryear with their follies, are built to cater to all the needs of their owners and their guests. Sometimes, they include minor, yet stylish distractions as well – a national hero or a celebrity statue, a monastery, a vintage car or horse buggy, afilm or classical music festival, a business school, organic juice factory, and so on… The local park rangers are at hand to police the grounds, guarding the tranquility of the “estate.”

The description above fits both Nemanja (Emir) Kusturica’s sprawling real-estate and cultural fiefdom, as well as the quaintly massive ethno-village “Stanišići” near Bijeljina. As Kusturica’s first such venture “Drvengrad” is branching out, growing into a fully developed resort, the old story of “a couple of houses with chickens running in the yard” is expediently being forgotten. As if it could have fooled anyone. The project started two years ago, when the director spotted a “beautifully lit” mountaintop across from his film-set. Soon, the designation of the area as a “state national park” was postponed, giving Kusturica time to build, while effecting a ban on construction for the local villagers, over whose pastures the complex now sprawls. That gave way to the next stage, a “minor” expansion in the form of a fully equipped resort. The economy of the expansion is what is of public interest here. Not only were public lands usurped and villagers’ lives and economy damaged, but the expansion has been necessary to justify investment in further regional ambitions: “Andrićgrad”, nearing completion next to Mehmed Pasha’s bridge in Serb-ruled and ethnically cleansed Višegrad, in Bosnia, and just festively announced, “Kraljevograd” next to the Maglič medieval fortress, a heritage site in the Ibar river valley, between Studenica and Žiča monasteries, inside Serbia proper.

The crimes of the local Serbs and the genocide in Višegrad (and Bijeljina) were the subject of several trials in the International tribunal for war crimes, Milan Lukić’s trial being one of the most highly profiled. The “Andrićgrad” project represents a key final stage in successive waves of cultural normalization. As soon as the peace accords rewarded the aggression, Serb director Srdjan Dragojević began filming his fiction over the locations of the recent genocide. With the arrival of Kusturica’s project aiming for the cultural solidification of national gains, an indelible imprint on the political landscape of the region is being made: by literally re-reading the history narrated by architectural occupation. The method of altering reality through retroactive “improvements of medieval infrastructure”1 is carefully shaped so as to be seen as desirable and to be well-received by the Serbian public. There are no negative associations with the nostalgic world of medieval knights; and the lost Serbian kingdom is a bedrock not only of nationalist system of values, but is being branded as the base for a national consensus that has persistently promoted the value of land over life.

The product of all this is, as always, both political and economic. Political, as segregation of desirable culture into gated, commercial theme parks, the historic and architectural mask over the missing middle and new age in Serbian culture, the “ethno-cities” serve as militant cultural bases for the projection of the re-constructed Serbian sovereign continuity spanning the period from feudalism to newer models of social organization. The attraction of medieval period is also grounded in the economic reasoning for the creation of new, openly rightist cultural paradigm, based on the cultural erasure of the consequences of war and genocide from the land itself. I tend to see this stage as a political and cultural necessity, without which the ethnic cleansing would make no sense at all. This is the stage that affirms the continuity of the Serbian nationalist project and traces the agenda for the war crimes right back to the original (recent) group who fought to “improve history” – Serbian security apparatus, politicians and academia of the 1987 vintage, seeking to escape impending democratization by dividing the Yugoslav state into feudal, personal fiefdoms.

The feudal model of running things is actually, an efficient one in centralized environments where the ruler creates the economic model based usually on a single dominant industry that can be run efficiently in a centralized way, just as oil, gas and mining are used in post-democratic Russia. The disregard for the values of law, ecology, human rights and fiscal impunityare added to the levers of economic control by the ruler. This economic model spawns the new boyar, the director/tycoon whose loyalty is awarded large swaths of land, people and history to manage and exploit in name of the church and state. Unlike the capitalist who thrives on competition, or the intermediary stage of the “oligarch”, boyar’s economic standing is primarily the consequence of an entitlement based on professed and proven political loyalty. Serbia’s signs of return to the feudal rule are based on distributed sovereignty, riding on the coattails of increased dominance of oligarchs during the 12 years of democrats rule. This shift is obvious in the diplomatic, political and cultural moves announced by the SNS (The Serbian Progressive Party) during its first 50 days in office.

Obtaining a credit line from Russia on favorable terms, as well as attempting to do the same with China, shows a fiscally bankrupt state opening to front their interests in the Balkans, and willing to accept dependency in favor of fiscal and political responsibility required by the EU. This loan, earmarked for budgetary spending is approved as the political stabilization of the new SNS-SPS (Socialist Party of Seribia) government is about to be finalized; though the announced arms purchases and pending gas bills will ensure Serbia’s long-term dependence on constant handouts. The economic and political price will be fully realized much later, at a stage when robust civil society will have to re-emerge. But for now, the intensity of diplomatic activity, distribution of positions, lands and funds to Putinist loyalists in Serbia is showing the willingness of the SNS to try not only to redistribute, but outsource at least some Serbian sovereignty. After all, in an empire this large, with an emperor so far away, a boyar ready to project constant readiness to serve will be awarded a long and stable rule.

The second, economic aspect differentiating “ethno-cities” from the “ethno-villages” is the neo-feudal model of extendable “concession”, paid for mainly in public property as well as money, diverting it into private construction projects. This type of conversion is frequent in cases of corruption, as awarding contracts and construction projects is far more lucrative than running actual cultural programs, even nationalist ones. In such model, the profit is the state’s participation in the venture, which sole purpose is to get approved and paid. Any actual building (if and at all), serves to justify the follow-on investment, just as making the “ethno-city” seem like a profitably run business. This explains why remoteness of a location or actual profit generation are immaterial to the “success” of the venture.

The ascending scale of publicly admitted costs places Drvengrad at a few million euro, mainly donated privately, (before hotel and ski resort phase), Andrićgrad is advancing through it’s teens, adding publicly admitted infusions from Republika Srpska’s budget amounting to 6.5 mil. marks to the original projection of 10-12 mil. marks2, plus the undervalued land (30000sqm for 50000 conv. marks). Kraljevgrad was just announced by the new SNS government, weighing in at either 103 or 50 mil/eur2 over 5 years, depending on the source. That excludes the value of land, as well as cost-overruns, additional infrastructure, (extended narrow-track railway, roads, parking lots, water, sewage, power, etc…), environmental impact, damage to the private and public property and economy. All that, before Kusturica decides to make another film, or present any of his lavish, 100.000 Euro “Andrić literary awards”. (for slavic literature, taking the name of the original Andrić prize). The conservative estimates are placing the cumulative cost of “raising Kusturica” at anywhere between 30 – 70 mil/eur during the first full SNS mandate in Serbia.

His brand being so closely tied-in to the that of Serbian nationalism, it is less compatible with the usual brand-managed career of an internationally successful director. Kusturica has always shown remarkable loyalty to the state, and it’s budget, returning to graze regularly, rather than depending on the western competitive model of studio production4. However, with the re-evaluation of previous government’s contracts through the emerging nickel prospecting scandal, Kusturica was propelled to rightfully and pre-emptively defend the ecological purity of his geographic domain, between Mokra Gora and Višegrad; unveiling his true status over the lands straddling the pre-war border between Serbia and Bosnia.

All of this opens the question of Kusturica’s real status and role in not only this, but nearly all recent Serbian governments. A friend of Nikita Mihalkov and with access to Putin himself, there is little room left for doubt over his place in the boyar hierarchy. In my opinion, Kusturica is, and has been for some time now the real minister of culture of a unified Serbian state. And yet, his role hasn’t been without heroic, willing sacrifice. A man capable of grand gestures, by acquiring and revitalizing part of Višegrad, he has symbolically accepted the role of managing the imposed and unwanted national guilt, relieving the bourgeois citizens of the Serbian feudal state of any need for responsibility or remembrance. It all belongs to him now – past, present and future.

Text by Nikola Radić Lucati

 

——————————

1The earlier, greener model of the Serbian “katun” mountain dwellings is abandoned in Andrićgrad for the conscious mimicry of the new, into faux Ottoman and Austrian city square. His cladding of buildings in scavenged stone has been well documented, and the civil unrest it sparked in Trebinje and elsewhere serves as the reminder not to take the supporting public lightly.
http://www.blic.rs/Kultura/Vesti/328526/Kusturica-rusi-tvrdjavu-u-Trebinju-kako-bi-kamen-iskoristio-za-Andricgrad

2http://www.slobodnaevropa.org/content/vlada-rs-pomaze-andricgrad-preko-dzepova-gradjana/24632822.html
 http://www.blic.rs/Kultura/Vesti/261366/Grad-inspirisan—Ivom-Andricem

“izgradnja Kamengrada koštaće između 10 i 12 miliona evra. Grad će se prostirati na 2,5 hektara, a izgradiće se 17.500 kvadrata. Gradnja počinje 28. juna, a za četiri godine trebalo bi da bude potpuno završen. Radiće se  fazno, iz tri dela od po 6.000 kvadrata.”

3 http://www.kraljevo.org/Vesti-Pregled_lat

4To be fair, various scales of fiscal and political impunity are the only economic model nearly all our film directors have ever worked in successfully, most of their movies being paid for by the people. They are evenly distributed across the vestiges of the party system: (Dragojević – SPS, Paskaljević – URS, G17+, Kusturica – curently above partisan political level).

ArtLeaks in DIVUS LONDON





Kommentar

Der Artikel ist bisher nicht kommentiert worden

Neuen Kommentar einfügen

Empfohlene Artikel

Magda Tóthová Magda Tóthová
Mit Anleihen aus Märchen, Fabeln und Science-Fiction drehen sich die Arbeiten von Magda Tóthová um moderne Utopien, Gesellschaftsentwürfe und deren Scheitern. Persönliche und gesellschaftliche Fragen, Privates und Politisches werden behandelt. Die Personifizierung ist das zentrale Stilmittel für die in den Arbeiten stets mitschwingende Gesellschaftskritik und das Verhandeln von Begriffen, auf…
Terminator vs Avatar: Anmerkungen zum Akzelerationismus Terminator vs Avatar: Anmerkungen zum Akzelerationismus
Warum beugt ihr, die politischen Intellektuellen, euch zum Proletariat herab? Aus Mitleid womit? Ich verstehe, dass man euch hasst, wenn man Proletarier ist. Es gibt keinen Grund, euch zu hassen, weil ihr Bürger, Privilegierte mit zarten Händen seid, sondern weil ihr das einzig Wichtige nicht zu sagen wagt: Man kann auch Lust empfinden, wenn man die Ausdünstungen des Kapitals, die Urstoffe des…
Contents 2016/1 Contents 2016/1
Contents of the new issue.
Le Dernier Cri und das Schwarze Glied von Marseille Le Dernier Cri und das Schwarze Glied von Marseille
Alle Tage hört man, dass jemand mit einem etwas zusammen machen möchte, etwas organisieren und auf die Beine stellen will, aber dass … tja, was denn eigentlich ...? Uns gefällt wirklich gut, was ihr macht, aber hier könnte es einige Leute aufregen. Zwar stimmt es, dass ab und zu jemand aus einer Institution oder einem Institut entlassen wurde, weil er mit uns von Divus etwas veranstaltet hat –…
ArtLeaks
27.07.2014 19:39
Wohin weiter?
albania
Red, Yellow and Blue in the Middle of Nowhere
Red, Yellow and Blue in the Middle of Nowhere
Jiří Ptáček
IIn the vestibule of a large hotel in Tirana where, in the end, we did not stay, I noticed a poster on a tourist board with the attractive slogan “Albania: The Last Secret.” It accosted us because we had no desire to see the sights of a country that had weathered the ravages of Enver Hoxha. We were here to find out what was happening at Tirana’s second biennale. The patron of the first biennale…
Weiterlesen …
symposium
Grave Diggers´ Laboratory
Grave Diggers´ Laboratory
Jiří Surůvka
Weiterlesen …
reportáž
Under the Shadow of Heroes
Under the Shadow of Heroes
Alena Boika
Weiterlesen …
muscles
Adventures in Musculature
Adventures in Musculature
Jan Suk
“Instead of interpreting art, we must love art.” Susan SontagTwo years ago I saw a work by a Balkan artist, whose name I eventually forgot, a recording of his performance in a gallery where he lifted and pulled weights as a professional for a body-building session. The confrontation of him toning up his overly developed muscles in the space of the intellectually charged gallery made me think…
Weiterlesen …
Bücher und Medien, die Sie interessieren könnten Zum e-shop
Format 30x23 cm. 224 pages on fine art paper, 144 in color and 250 images.
Mehr Informationen ...
25 EUR
29 USD
24 x 16 x 1,5 cm | 112 pages on fine heavyweight art paper | duotone print | text by Alexei Monroe | illustrations and...
Mehr Informationen ...
25 EUR
29 USD
This second part of the four-part publication project by the most playful Czech artist is dedicated to his companions in the...
Mehr Informationen ...
8 EUR
9 USD
15 x 23 x 3 cm | 280 pages on fine heavyweight art paper | edited by Vadimir Mattioni | text, design and graphics by Autopsia |...
Mehr Informationen ...
35 EUR
41 USD

Studio

Divus and its services

Studio Divus designs and develops your ideas for projects, presentations or entire PR packages using all sorts of visual means and media. We offer our clients complete solutions as well as all the individual steps along the way. In our work we bring together the most up-to-date and classic technologies, enabling us to produce a wide range of products. But we do more than just prints and digital projects, ad materials, posters, catalogues, books, the production of screen and space presentations in interiors or exteriors, digital work and image publication on the internet; we also produce digital films—including the editing, sound and 3-D effects—and we use this technology for web pages and for company presentations. We specialize in ...
 

Zitat des Tages Der Herausgeber haftet nicht für psychische und physische Zustände, die nach Lesen des Zitats auftreten können.

Die Begierde hält niemals ihre Versprechen.
KONTAKTE UND INFORMATIONEN FÜR DIE BESUCHER Kontakte Redaktion

DIVUS PERLA
Former papermill area
Nádražní 101
252 46 Vrané nad Vltavou

 

news@divus.cz, +420 602 269 888

 

Open from Wednesday to Sunday between 11am to 6pm.
From 15.12. to 15.1. only on appointment.

 

 

Divus Perla
Gábina Náhlíková
gabina@divus.cz, +420 604 254 994


Divus Verlag
Ivan Mečl
ivan@divus.cz, +420 602 269 888

Lucie Palečková
shop@divus.cz, +420 606 606 425


Studio Divus
studio@divus.cz

Magazine Umělec
Palo Fabuš
umelec@divus.cz

DIVUS LONDON
Arch 8, Resolution Way, Deptford
London SE8 4NT, United Kingdom

news@divus.org.uk, +44 (0) 7526 902 082

 

Open Wednesday to Saturday 12 – 6 pm.

 

DIVUS BERLIN
Potsdamer Str. 161, 10783 Berlin, Deutschland
berlin@divus.cz, +49 (0)151 2908 8150

 

Open Wednesday to Sunday between 1 pm and 7 pm

 

DIVUS WIEN
wien@divus.cz

DIVUS MEXICO CITY
mexico@divus.cz

DIVUS BARCELONA
barcelona@divus.cz
DIVUS MOSCOW & MINSK
alena@divus.cz

 

DIVUS NEWSPAPER IN DIE E-MAIL
Divus We Are Rising National Gallery For You! Go to Vrané nad Vltavou, Nádražní 101.