• Nebojša Milikić: Interviews with Kosovo Serbs
Nebojša Milikić: Interviews with Kosovo Serb

Nebojša Milikić: Interviews with Kosovo Serbs
Curatorial by Albert Heta

17 May 2014 – 21 June 2014

Broadcasting schedule
Saturdays from 12:00 at on:
Radio Urban FM (Prishtina)103.5 FM and online at www.radiourbanfm.com
Radio KIM (Čaglavica) 93,9 MHz and online at www.radiokim.net
Radio Kontakt Plus (Mitrovica) 101.9 MHz and online at www.radiokontaktplus.org

Five years after the (re)declaration of Independence, the mainstream social and political context in Kosovo is still missing the presence and the voice of the citizens of the Serbian constitutive part in the Kosovar project for a state. The majority of our society is still unable to have access, listen, have a dialogue, address or understand the reality and concerns of the citizens, geographically located in the northern parts of Kosovo, now placed in the position of a minority, and vice versa.

‘Interviews with Kosovo Serbs’ by Nebojša Milikić, is part of the project ‘Identity Restoration Reloaded’, and is an attempt to re-enact the initial structure of the project (‘Identity Restoration’ (2007)), that resulted in the missing participation in the first conference of the voice of the Serbian constitutive part in the project for a state, which is constructed beyond the dominating (one) nation state models.

‘Interviews with Kosovo Serbs’ aims to engage with this specific and challenging context and make public the other side of Kosovo; advocate for necessity for strengthening platforms and channels for communication that can create mechanisms that can foster progressive developments in Kosovo and countries in the region.

‘Identity Restoration Reloaded’, is based on the re-enactment of the conference ‘Identity Restoration’, expanded in perspective with new elements, placed in a new social and political context, for the relevance of the past event for the current situation, aiming to reflect on the practices of today and events that led to a challenging journey and a complicated process of re-creating a social consensus for an international project for a state - a contemporary political identity.

In the given time context, since the start of the project ‘Identity Restoration Reloaded’, has functioned as a critical intervention, necessary for the time when it has appeared in public, starting from November 2012 - the time when two-state engineered events were organized in Albania and Kosovo, designed to celebrate the 100 anniversary of the independence of Albania.

In 2007, Kosovo had to enter a process of clarifying its political future, in a dialog with Serbia, with the mediation of the United Nations.

How did the political process reflect on the political and cultural landscape? What would be the symbolic identifying marks of the new projected reality and the state and how were the power structures using artistic expression to define, or generate a specific set of cultural characteristics for Kosova, were among questions that were posed publicly only by few in 2007.
Popular euphoria and political naivety, a poorly managed political process, including the creation of new state symbols and not only this process, proved to function as an additional ‘restoring’ mechanism for the Albanian national identity and the Albanian national re-unification project, now with a new political dimension. In the past century, the Albanian identity of Kosovar Albanians was also a coin for generating awareness, solidarity and political togetherness in the struggle against extreme levels of imperial colonialism, oppression or occupation.

In the political reality that surfaced after the year 2008, identity politics replaced real politics and are becoming the vehicle that can carry political projects.

The discourse of politicians, media, artists and thinkers from Serbia and Albania, following the declaration of independence of Kosova, had a role in creating this political reality that narrates the ‘salvation’ discourse that only a (larger) nation state has the capacity of generating happiness for its citizens.

In 2007, Oliver Ivanović, then a prominent voice of Kosovo Serbs and the member of the Parliament of Kosova (23.11.2004 - 12.12.2007) was invited to be part of the panel of the conference ‘Identity Restoration’. In 2007, in the last days before the conference Oliver Ivanovic cancelled his participation in the conference.

‘Interviews with Kosovo Serbs’, is based on the project ‘Fifteen questions to workers of Bor’ (2003, collaborative project with Branimir Stojanović, Vladimir Marković and Dragoljub Janeš). Inquiry into the political awareness of workers in the then collapsing Bor's copper industry. It was realized through interviews with 60 workers at their working places in the mining and industrial complex. The project as well as the given fifteen questions were conceived after the methodology of the French sociologist Sylvain Lazarus who interviewed workers in the similar situations in Brasil, Algeria and France. The aim of his inquiries was to better articulate and define the position and attitude of workers in the situation of a threat of loosing a job and provide for the new understanding of the related political and ideological momentum. The CD was issued with all audio recordings and transcripts of interviews and four accompanying texts. Results were presented at International conference on ''Immaterial labour'' that was held in Cambridge in April 2006.

In the year 2005 the series of interviews with Kosovo Serbs was initiated with the aim of challenging various communicative barriers at stake. The initiative tended to provide the channel for a direct exchange of political views and standpoints - out of then existing media sphere and related standards. Few interviews were planned for the first round as a sort of self-propelled pilot project. They were realized in the late spring of 2005 in Prishtina, Gracanica and Preoci, at locations were interviewees lived or worked. Debate that rose through interviewing offered the release from the censorship and ignorance that characterized the overall attitude of an average inhabitant of Serbia towards the situation in Kosovo. On the other hand the debate offered interviewees the insight into the variety of political considerations and interpretations of their past and present condition. By ignoring the then prevailing methodologies of ideological interpellation and media representation of Kosovo Serbs and the most of related power relations, the exchange tended to establish a two-way maieutical service.

In 2012, Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina invited Nebojša Milikić to continue the project, as a continuation of our quest, conceptually linked to the missing participation of Oliver Ivanović in the first conference and the missing presence of the Kosovo Serbs living in the northern Kosovo in political life in the Republic of Kosovo.

‘Interviews with Kosovo Serbs’, will be broadcasted through selected radio stations in Kosovo (Urban FM 103.5 FM, Radio KIM 93,9 MHz and Radio Kontakt Plus 101.9 MHz) and through the online platform of these radio stations and the radio platform on the website of Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina.

‘Interviews with Kosovo Serbs’ was supported by The Office of the EU Special Representative in Kosovo, Youth Initiative for Human Rights - Kosovo, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of the Republic of Kosovo, Directorate for Culture, Youth and Sports of the Municipality of Prishtina, X-print and DZG.