Azra Akšamija – Tržnica Arizona, 2009.
Skalamerija (2009.) je projekt Azre Akšamije, sarajevske umjetnice i povjesničarke arhitekture. Njezini projekti bave se istraživanjem moći umjetnosti i arhitekture da olakša proces pretvorbenog posredovanja sukoba kroz kulturnu pedagogiju te tako pružaju okvir za analiziranje i zadiranje u osporene društveno-političke realitete. Skalamerija je naprava kojoj je cilj deformalizirati sadašnji iznimno uređeni prostorni raspored tržnice Arizona, koji je doveo do tržišne recesije. Tržnica Arizona pojavila se devedesetih godina u kantonu Brčko na sjeveru BiH. Otkako je regulirana 2002. godine, trgovina i urbani razvoj tržnice Arizona su u padu, a upitan je i njezin opstanak. Iako trenutno ne postoje planovi održivog razvoja, budućnost tržnice Arizona i njezina konačna preobrazba u mjesto trgovine i stanovanja ovisit će o smanjenju fokusa na jeftinu uvoznu robu u korist alternativnih ekonomskih programa. Skalamerija koristi lokalno dostupne materijale, izvore i vještine kako bi pokrenula proizvodnju domaćih i lokalnih prehrambenih proizvoda i rukotvorina. Naprava je, dakle, infrastruktura za kuhanje, roštiljanje, dimljeno meso, pečenu janjetinu, šivanje, glačanje i tkanje sagova.
Project examine the Arizona Market, which used to be one of the largest black markets in the Balkans. The market got its name from the socalled “Arizona Road“, the military term given to Bosnia-Herzegovina’s main north-south transit route.
Emerging in 1996 in an unstable border-zone, the Arizona Market developed alongside the highway
“Arizona Road“ at an unbelievable rate. It flourished so rapidly because it was the only regional
shopping and service center at the time, and because no one was paying taxes. At its peak state of
development in 2001, the market consisted of 2 200 businesses, sixty-five cafes, and seven
nightclubs. It was situated about fifteen kilometers southwest of the border-town of Brčko. 30 000
people made a living from it and its daily turnover was estimated at 0.5 million Euros, which doubled
on weekends. Smuggled articles, copies of designer brands, women – everything could be bought and paid for in any currency.
Skalamerija (2009) is a follow up project of the Arizona Road project (2002). Skalamerija is a
contraption aimed at a de-formalizing the Arizona Market’s current highly regulated spatial order,
which has led to the market’s recession. Ever since its regulation in 2002, the trade and urban
development of the Arizona Market has been decreasing, thus threatening it very existence in the
future. While no sustainable development is planned at this point, the future of the Arizona Market and its eventual transformation into a place of both trade and living will depend on its becoming less
oriented on sales of cheap imported goods in favor of alternative economic programs. Skalamerija
capitalizes on locally available materials, resources and skills in order to initiate production of homemade and locally specific food and handicraft products. The contraption thus provides infrastructure for cooking, barbecuing, smoking meat, roasting lamb, sewing, ironing, and carpet weaving.
Azra Akšamija – Skalamerija, 2009.
Photo by Robert Sošić
The study will focus on the perceptions of smuggling in different historical, socio-political, economic and cultural contexts in the 20th century through personal narrations and experiences of Idrija residents. The emphasis will be on individual memories – and not collective as they are commonly registered in official historiography and local traditions, on subjective experiences of everyday life – and not experiences of significant social and political figures, and on people’s life stories from particular, i.e. fixed territory which had always been at least to a certain extent a borderland due to various historical, social, political, economic and cultural contexts. Therefore specific human practices occured on such places and smuggling was one of them. The purpose of this study will be detecting the continuity of smuggling (similarities and differences: motives, forms, strategies, destinations, gender dichotomy of actors involved etc.) from the perspective of one person (if possible) within three different historical periods and contexts: 1. between the two World Wars, when Idrija within the Primorska region was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy according to the Treaty of Rapallo, 2. during the second World War, and 3. in the period of the socialist Yugoslavia. Methodologically the study will be based on the qualitative research approach and the narrative method (or method of oral history) in particular. The latter is rather frequently represented in cultural studies, anthropology, ethnology, and sociology. With the use of narrative method we will try to represent selected narrators’ identities (between 6 and 8) on the one hand, and on the basis of acquired autobiographical narrations we will be able to understand the phenomenon of smuggling on the other hand.
Smuggling did not receive serous conceptual consideration before modern political theories declined classical model of political theory, which was based on the institution of law. These theories mostly strongly rejected conceptual sketches of classical economic thought of nineteenth century, especially of Marxism. However, it seems that neither modern political theory nor (neo)classical economy can explain the economical function of different forms of contemporary smuggling (human traffic, internet piracy etc.) and the specifically contemporary demonization of smugglers (the decline of hero-smuggler in pop culture, glorification of police control, the control from below etc.). In my paper, I shall locate historical and conceptual reasons for the deficiency of both approaches in question, point out several consequently false conclusions, and suggest several starting-points for conceptualisation of smuggled object, based on (and differed from) the concept of commodity.
Creative industries are a contested zone in the making. While policy draws on a set of presuppositions around the borderless nature of cultural and economic flows, situated creativity is anything but global. Concepts are always contextual.
Creative industries discourse is about who is in and who is out. The process of accession is the process of shifting some real and mythical borders, but also of hardwiring some new concepts and ideas into infrastructure – where local ideas lead to regional policies, urban developments, work conditions and flows of economic investment. But how will art largely created on the premises of intangible or grey economies fit into this landscape? What if you do not fit into the statistical regime of governance that determines productivity and conformity to policy within the creative industries? Even if you do fit in, are you aware what it means?
How does art produced within the realm of standardised research-based policies differ from art that works against, or in spite of, official policies, based on invisible economy and on adapting or stealing of ideas and methodologies? How will the current economic and social shift affect creative models in Croatia and neighbouring Serbia following the expectations of Croatia’s accession to the EU? How will it redefine freedoms, value, desire, representation and creativity in the region?
If ‘value’ is no longer determined by grey markets and their accompanying institutions such as think tanks, charities, bank secrecy jurisdictions and protectorates, as well as various mechanisms of laundering, cross-border smuggling, gambling, procuring, embezzlement, blackmail, forgery, and other unauthorised, unofficial, illegal and semi-legal actions – how will it be determined, and who will determine it?
If creativity has a choice of being an integral part of the creative industry or becoming invisible, how will it affect art production in the region? Does culture mapping represent visibility or self-surveillance? And what are the differences between the (neoliberal) self-surveillance and (socialist) self-criticism? Are we looking at a potential hybrid model, where the remnants of the previous systems are grafted onto ‘new’ institutions of governance? Is it possible to qualitatively evaluate the difference between (artistic and human) freedoms – the freedom that is individually negotiated on the grey side of governance, versus the regulated freedom within the neoliberal capitalist production chain? Which of these models carries more freedom for the artist?
This interdisciplinary seminar is based on research stemming from these questions, and on interviews with the artists, critics, sociologists and theoreticians from the region who are interested in this phenomenon and address it in their work. The seminar consists of powerpoint presentation in English language, and accompanying visual and film material.
Can Sungu – Replaying Home, 2013.
Photo by Robert Sošić
Oponašanje doma (2013.) bavi se krijumčarenjem iz Njemačke u Tursku, uglavnom posredstvom turskih „gostujućih radnika“ (gastarbajetera) koji žive u Njemačkoj. Brojni „prvi“ predmeti stigli su iz Njemačke u Tursku u prtljažnicima: kozmetika, elektronika, kvalitetna tekstilna roba itd. Videorekorderi i videovrpce, najznačajniji među tim prokrijumčarenim proizvodima, izrodili su novu kulturu videa u Turskoj. Videorekorderi uglavnom su se pridruživali televizorima u boji i smještali u omiljeni kutak dnevne sobe. Uključivali su se samo za uobičajene „video večeri“, svojevrsna društvena događanja na kojima su sudjelovali susjedi i rodbina. Videoteke gdje su se posuđivale videovrpce bile su prilično česte. Novo tržište videa širilo se u Turskoj, no doimalo se pomalo improvizirano ili „poluzakonito“, a na njemu su vladale umnožene ili prokrijumčarene videovrpce. Ova video instalacija dočarava „video kutak“ anonimne turske obitelji te donosi found footage video s odabranim prizorima s tih videovrpca, kao što su turski filmovi iz sedamdesetih i osamdesetih snimani u Njemačkoj, niskobudžetne video produkcije, prezentacijski filmovi turskih video studija u Njemačkoj, TV reklame, filmski foršpani i naslovne animacije.
Before the invention of cheap flights, cars were the most important means of long distance travel for Turkish “guest workers” (Gastarbeiter) living in Germany. Many “first” items were carried from Germany to Turkey in the trunk: Cosmetics, electronics, high quality textiles etc. Video recorders and videotapes, the most significant of these smuggled products, gave way to a new video culture in Turkey. The video recorders were mostly combined with colour TV’s and placed into the favourite corner of the living room. They were just turned on for regular “video nights” which were a sort of social events including the neighbours and the family. Video clubs where videotapes were rented for favourable prices were very commonplace. The new video market rapidly grew in Turkey, but it was a bit improvised or “semi-legal” and mainly dominated by duplicated and smuggled videotapes.
The video installation, Replaying Home, recreates a “video corner” of an anonymous Turkish family and presents a found footage video includes selected cuts from some of these videotapes such as the Turkish movies from the 70’s and 80’s shot in Germany, low budget video productions, presentation films of Germany-based Turkish video studios, TV commercials, movie trailers and title animations.
Replaying Home offers a journey to a transit space where the memories meet up with the universe of videotapes. It is eclectic, but fragmented and even sometimes disrupted.
Screenshots from the movie Replaying Home