NEW ISSUE OF WALL NEWSPAPER: A Carnival amidst Ruins. Copyright: KURS CollectiveThis year marks the 6th anniversary of KURS, participating artist collective of ACTOPOLIS BELGRADE. We took this occasion to chat with KURS members Mirjana Radovanović and Miloš Miletić about their benchmark project ‘Wall Newspaper’.
So far, the format of newspaper spreads was developed through ten issues designed to be displayed in the spaces of organizations, institutions and others willing to lend their walls. Each issue features a different researcher, writer and/or activist who then work together with the editing duo on their topic of choice. KURS, specifically for the ACTOPOLIS BELGRADE project, has developed and published a new wallpaper issue.

How did the idea of ‘Wall Newspaper’ come about?
In 2013, we started thinking about formats other than murals through which we wanted to act. At that point, it was particularly important for us to choose a format which will be affordable and not too demanding in terms of production. One other criterion was the possibility to easily distribute the content in Serbia to begin with, in order to make the content visible also outside of Belgrade. The actual format of a wall newspaper was something we found rather interesting; it was the kind of form often used in Soviet Russia, partisan and working movements, as a rather economic and effective medium. From the very beginning we saw Wall Newspaper as an opportunity and means for cooperation with other organisations and individuals, which do not necessarily come from the cultural field. The first two issues were done in cooperating with Kontekst Collective responding to a call from the umbrella organisation Independent Cultural Scene of Serbia to participate in the ‘Culture protesting’ initiative. Since then, the issues have been produced and made possible through various other projects.

What does the process of creating one issue look like?
Before the process even starts, we venture out to find financial support. In most cases, we plan the topic and possible collaborators in advance, but given that funds dictate a lot, the original plans often tend to change. The production of each issue usually takes up to two or three months. It happens that most people want to say more than the format allows, so we work together with authors on shortening the first draft and focusing on priorities. When we are all satisfied with the developed text, we then start to illustrate the issue in order to supplement and/or amplify the text. The process of illustration is equally important for us. We invest additional effort in researching the topic and historical references from archives and other sources. We believe that illustrations should not be mere decoration of text, but provide a different and clearer perspective, and make an integral part of the concept. We try to make topics not only relevant in the current debate, but to open space for different readings in the future. We invite authors on the basis of their previous work and research of the given topic. The aim is to provide authors with space to use the ‘Wall Newspaper’ format to further examine and develop their area of work.

What is the topic of the issue that was developed and published as part of the ACTOPOLIS BELGRADE project, and why?
For the issue of “Wall Newspaper” we produced as part of the ACTOPOLIS BELGRADE project, we invited Iskra Krstić, Architect and PhD candidate of the Studies of Culture and Media at the Faculty of Political Sciences. Iskra researched how cultural production, in particular creative industries, backed-up by international foundations, serve the aim of privatisation of culture. The topic is broad; we trust that many processes are universal and could be related to other cities in which ACTOPOLIS takes place.

The issue is available at the ACTOPOLIS apartment (Bulevar despota Stefana 36) and other public spaces in Belgrade.

Previous issues of ‘Wall Newspaper’:

Issue #1
PRECARIOUS WORK: What do we know about working conditions of artists?

Text authors: Kontekst Collective (Marko Miletić and Vida Knežević)
Description: The issue provides an overview of key issues related to precarious work in the field of culture.

Issue #2
COLLABORATION AND STRUGGLE: What do we know about economic position of artists?
Text authors: Kontekst Collective (Marko Miletić and Vida Knežević)
Description: The position of cultural workers from the 30s onwards. Relates to cases of artist struggles through history; the protest against exhibition in Cvijeta Zuzorić and Mirko Kujačić’s manifest.

Issue #3

Text author: Milan Radanović, Historian
Description: The issue deals with the topic of the “Belgrade Offensive - the liberation plan” and examines the current trends of historical revisionism.

Issue #4

Text authors: Mirjana Dragosavljević and Jovanka Vojinović, Art Historians
Description: The issue examines collective work in art, through the “Situationist International” as a historical reference, and as a space for collective work today.

Issue #5

Text author: Ana Vilenica, Activist and Cultural Worker
Description: The issue provides insight into housing policies in former Yugoslavia, and the way neo-liberal politics changed and influenced the housing system of today.

Issue #6

Text author: Vanessa Vasić Janeković, Journalist and Artist
Description: The issue focuses on workers’ protests in Yugoslavia since 1921; from the times of workers´ struggle in the context of a political fight against fascism, to workers´ protests for nationalism, and to more recent examples of Jugomedija workers´ protest against the privatization of state institutions/companies

Issue #7

Text author: Isidora Ilić, member of Doppelganger duo
Description: The issue focuses on the role and scope of film, as a medium requiring collective work, in alternative artistic means of social struggle.

Issue #8
LESSONS IN DEFENSE: With quill and gun and paintbrush and bomb

Text author: Miloš Miletić and Mirjana Radovanović, KURS members
Description: This issue analyses the role of artists and cultural workers during the “Republic of Užice” which gathered artists from all around Yugoslavia.

Issue #9

Text author: Davor Konjikušić, Photographer and Journalist
Description: An issue on migration and the role of European institutions in controlling it.

Issue #10
Link still unavailable
Text author: Svebor Midžić, Theoreticians
Description: The author of issue #10 maps out crucial symptoms of the artistic scene(s) in the area of former Yugoslavia as well as symbols which lost their original meaning in the process and became cultural products.

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