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Igor Štiks: Activist aesthetics

Igor Štiks will present cases of activist aesthetics in the artistic acts, practices and works related to contemporary political and social activism of progressive and left-wing movements and groups in the post-Yugoslav region.

In order to understand the variety of activist aesthetics, as well as the specific influence of Yugoslav socialist heritage, Štiks builds upon Hans-Thies Lehmann’s distinction between the aesthetics of resistance and the aesthetics of rebellion. The aesthetics of resistance is characteristic of the works exploring the actuality of past resistances, their memories and their (realised and non-realised) potentialities. The aesthetics of rebellion, on the other hand, remains in service of the movements and their actions in the context of the contemporary post-socialist crisis. In addition, he will show what happens when two aesthetics are combined and how engaged artistic practices influence the acts of activist citizenship we can observe over the last decade in occupations, protests and new social movements in the Balkans.

Igor Stiks is a writer and scholar. Earning his PhD at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris and Northwestern University, he worked for years at the University of Edinburgh. He is currently a professor of politics at the Faculty of Media and Communications in Belgrade. His recent publications include Nations and Citizens in Yugoslavia and the Post-Yugoslav States: One Hundred Years of Citizenship (Bloomsbury) and, together with Srećko Horvat, Welcome to the Desert of Post-Socialism (Verso). His award-winning novels The Judgment of Richard Richter and A Castle in Romagna have been translated into 15 languages.


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