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Comic Strip Project

anonymous said:
September – December 2013

Organiser and producer of the project: organisation “Anonymous said:”
Partners: Museum of Applied Art, daily newspaper "Danas"
The project is financially supported by the Open Society Foundation, Serbia.
Project duration: September – December 2013

In the period from mid-September until the end of December, the organisation “Anonymous said:”, in cooperation with The Museum of Applied Art and the daily newspaper “Danas”, with the financial support of The Open Society Foundation, Serbia, organises the project “Defence of Utopia”, based on the treatment of the social phenomena related to the question of social justice and fight for a fairer and better society. The project is to be realised in the form of production and presentation of seven comic strips (works by different authors) in the weekend editions of the daily newspaper “Danas”, followed by a successively created exhibition and the organisation of panel discussions in The Museum of Applied Art Gallery, conforming to the dynamics of comic strips’ publishing, and further followed by the release of the publication in English that will unite all these comic works.

The topic of the defence of the idea of a just society, utopia and social imagination, represents a response to the socio-orientational, economic, developmental, ideological and psychological collapse of Serbian society. In fact, at the time of falsely imposed social issues, convulsive struggle for bare existence, elimination of higher cultural values by abolishing cultural institutions and generally marginalizing the issues of moral and social values, the question of social justice and creation of a just society is systematically exhausted and degraded. The proponents of these issues, related to building a more just society, are facing a great challenge due to their advocacy being perceived as anachronistic, due to their inability to keep up with the intensity of economic and social neoliberal changes and requirements, their intellectual weakness, and irrational disorientation in the processes of transition.

The project is created on the basis of considering the dominant social processes that deny and negate any form of action directed towards a just society as economically and socially illegitimate, deviant and as a threat to the still fragile democracies in the so-called countries in transition. Since, despite the ruling, primarily spiritual and ideological crisis and overall disorientation, the idea of a just society must not disappear.

Guided by this principle, the organisers have suggested the topics that problematise the mentioned social and existential issues – patterns of social inequality, solidarity, historical revisionism in the anti-fascist struggle, class of productive workers, education, participation in the emancipatory vision of Europeanness and civil liability.

These issues are approached by seven renowned comic strip authors: Zoran Janjetov, Željko Pahek, Rajko Milošević Gera, Aleksandar Zograf, Ivica Stevanović, Lazar Bodroža and Boris Stanić, who belong to different generations, have different artistic sensibilities and action strategies.

Comic strip art in Serbia gives a special value to the Serbian visual arts scene, which is characterised by a respectable tradition and quality achievements. Taking this into consideration, and in cooperation with Zoran Nikolić and Miroljub Stanković, the team of architects and designers at Kontra Studio from Niš, who are also designing the material for the entire project, the exhibition will successively be conceptualised and realised, in order to emphasise the multi-faceted quality of a comic strip as the contemporary visual art media, through a distinctive setting of the exhibition which is being created and supplemented, (and which follows the creation, expansion and multiplication of increasingly louder voices raised to address the aforementioned issues).

Zlatko Paković, a theatre director and critic, writer and columnist for the daily newspaper “Danas”, will moderate seven panel discussions in the exhibiting area of the project. The discussions, involving a wide range of participants from various social fields, and at different positions, will approach the mentioned topics, following the publication of the comic strips in the daily newspaper “Danas”.

The first comic strip, dedicated to the subject of solidarity, by the author Ivica Stevanović, will be published in the weekend edition of the daily newspaper “Danas” of September 14/15, whereas the discussion dedicated to this topic will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 19, at the Gallery “Žad”, The Museum of Applied Art, and then the exhibition segment dedicated to this work will be opened, too.

Museum of Applied Art, Belgrade