The performance act by Kontekst Collective was developed as part of the project Oktobar XXX: Exhibition–Symposium–Performance by curator and author Jelena Vesić.

Oktobar XXX was conceptualized as processual re-enactment – involving critical reading, interpretation and actualization – of questions initiated and contemplated within experimental counter-exhibition Oktobar 75 that took place in the Student Cultural Center (SKC) Belgrade. In October in 1975, various cultural workers active in SKC – critics, gallerists, curators and artists – decided to publish their critical statements on the concept of self-managed art in relation to the workers self-management as the official program of Yugoslav socialist state politics. For Oktobar XXX various actors of independent and left-oriented intellectual, artistic and activist scene were invited to speak about art and society from their different, and sometimes opposed, positions.

Kontekst Collective based the arguments presented in the performance on the theses that are an outcome of 2 years work on the project Kontekst, struggle for autonomous space. The manifest itself and the performance represent a paraphrase of a gesture made by the artist Mirko Kujačić in 1932 that happened in a political context that represents an important reference point for their research and a possibility of deliberation of alternatives to the contemporary capitalist system.

Kontekst, struggle for autonomous space, represents in fact a condition we found ourselves in, initiated by a concrete situation – the closing of Kontekst Gallery that we ran at The Cultural Center “Stari Grad”. The conflict with the new managementof this institution, that bases its cultural policy on the principle of neoliberal cultural policy, leads us to different experiments and attempts at finding a new actual space for our intervention in concrete reality. Thus we enter different negotiations and actions – from participation in initiating and problematizing the squat “Inex Film” through signing and after termination of contract with the Municipality of New Belgrade on the use of a community space to an attempt to restructure the relations with the city institutions at Magacin space. At the same time, the situation we found ourselves in additionally provokes us to engage in concrete socio-political-economical context in which we work and live, the work and production conditions, as well as the place of a worker in the cultural sector within the economy.



Kontekst collective is an autonomous organization whose work represents the process of interconnecting critical theory and practice, the field of arts and culture with a wider social action. In our practice, we are interested in research that we conduct together with artists, and other actors, conceptualize exhibitions, conceptualize works of art and realize them in collaborative processes. As we find the divisions between professions extremely problematic as they are maintaining division of labor as we know it, we are trying to blur these borders, to hybridize the space through engaging in different kind of activities. Furthermore, for us, it is important that our political position is clear enough to be understandable to broader audience and not only to those „proper educated“ and thus capable of reading it. Through our critical approach to the social reality, direct intervention and persistence to initiate discussion on topics that are rarely discussed we are trying to destabilize most retrograde and conservative social – economic and political – processes.