press release

Galerija Miroslav Kraljevic is proud to present The Renaming Machine - the ongoing, two-year project by cutaroress Suzana Milevska, whose Zagreb edition is curated in collaboration with Ivana Bago and Antonia Majača. The Renaming Machine looks at the complex entanglements involved in the political and cultural processes of renaming. Its main concept reflects the crucial need to question the way these processes have influenced the construction and destabilization of the memory of national, cultural and personal identities in the former Yugoslavia and South-Eastern Europe over the past two decades. The project examines various artistic and cultural phenomena and strategies associated with the notion of 'renaming' in order to determine the extent to which renaming affects visual culture and shapes the cultural identities and cultural politics in the region and elsewhere.

The Renaming Machine underscores the arbitrary and contingent nature of names. Alongside the philosophical and theoretical implications of the 'mystic writing pad' of historic renaming, the project examines clandestine ideological patterns of the 'desiring renaming machine' at work behind the dominant and visible social machines. As a region overburdened with changes in its state borders, the Balkans, for example, possess a history that abounds with the politics of renaming. With the break-up of Yugoslavia, the renaming 'apparatus' erased and overwrote most traces from the Tito era, including the Yugoslav leader's own name, which had been attached to many places in the former country. The region itself has been called by different names: the Balkans, the Western Balkans, SouthEastern Europe, etc., depending on the geopolitical interests and attitudes regarding its integrity or dismemberment. The 'renaming machine' has also important implications for gender politics in the way the patriarchal marriage contract has traditionally dictated that a woman assumes her husband's family name, thus overwriting her premarital identity.

Changes in the names of institutions, people, ethnicities, languages, toponyms and even states are usually viewed as the first step in the process of appropriation, or erasure, of national, cultural, and personal identities, as well as a way to protect long-term political interests and ensure the domination over a territory. For example, the on-going conceptual 'war of names' between Greece and Macedonia (that in 1993 was forced by UNO to start using the description 'The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia') resulted in an international outwitting game that is the best example of ideology of renaming: how the endlessly postponed event of renaming can enable a 'state of exception' whereby the power of the 'renaming machine' is either underappreciated or overrated.

The Renaming Machine is imagined as a two-year umbrella project comprising a series of events: conferences, exhibitions, debates, video programmes, bloggers' posts, etc. that take place in Ljubljana, Skopje, Prishtina, Zagreb and Vienna. A comprehensive publication edited by the Skopje-based curator and theorist Prof. Dr. Suzana Milevska and published by the P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Institute is planned as the culminating segment of the project to be launched in autumn 2009.

The Zagreb exhibition includes new commissions by: Albert Heta, Sanja Ivekovic, Tanja Ostojic/David Rych, Tadej Pogacar, Dejan Spasovik and Alexander Vaindorf

Curated by: SUZANA MILEVSKA in collaboration with: Ivana Bago & Antonia Majaca

Participants: Ivana Bago/Antonia Majaca, Magnus Bartas | Zdenko Buzek | Liljana Gjuzelova | Igor Grubic | Dejan Habicht/Tanja Lazetic | Kalle Hamm | Albert Heta | Sasha Huber | IRWIN | Hristina Ivanoska | Sanja Ivekovic | Suzana Milevska | MONUMENT Group | Oliver Musovik | Tanja Ostojic/David Rych | Dan Perjovschi | Lia Perjovschi | Tadej Pogacar | Georg Schollhammer | Dejan Spasovik | Saso Stanojkovik | Mladen Stilinovic, Alexander Vaindorf, Zaneta Vangeli

only in german

The Renaming Machine - exhibition, conference and video archive
Kuratoren: Suzana Milevska mit Ivana Bago & Antonia Majaca

Künstler: Ivana Bago / Antonia Majaca, Magnus Bartas, Zdenko Buzek, Liljana Gjuzelova, Igor Grubic, Dejan Habicht / Tanja Lazetic, Kalle Hamm, Albert Heta, Sasha Huber, Irwin , Hristina Ivanoska, Sanja Ivekovic, Suzana Milevska, Monument Group , Oliver Musovik, Tanja Ostojic / David Rych, Dan Perjovschi / Lia Perjovschi, Tadej Pogacar & P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E., Georg Schöllhammer, Dejan Spasovik, Saso Stanojkovik, Mladen Stilinovic, Alexander Vaindorf, Zaneta Vangeli