Stop smoking, 3’08”, color & sound, Belgrade 2009


link to the video

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Video work “Stop smoking” is the news about social performance on the main square Trg Republike in Belgrade made in July 2009.
It represents simultaneously two actions performed on the main square. On one side artist is taking cigarettes from hands and mouths of people sitting in cafes and on the other side the group of people is protesting in front of the Stop NATO Fascism words; the protest that could be considered as the echo of protesting on streets of Belgrade, traumatically present during ’90 by millions of people protesting on streets against Socialists regime. Those new social situations of few people standing in front of the STOP NATO FASCISM words for 395 days, could open rethinking of the recent political past. What is the meaning of that? In this work it is ironically underlined by the artist’s action of dragging the cigarettes from hands and mouths of people sitting relaxed in cafes at the very centre of the city, which is ideologically so far but close to the simultaneous social performance of people who are protesting in front of the STOP NATO FASCISM words; even the both situations are happening at the same time and space. The action of dragging the cigarettes, unexpected action of taking the cigarettes from hands of people is surrealistic as the action of protesting in front of the STOP NATO FASCISM words on Trg Republike in Belgrade. It is opening of philosophical, metaphysical, ontological, existential, and ironical question of the society in transition as well as oppression now. It represents a recreation of the real/virtual world experience and the absurdity of history.
The “stage” where the action takes place is the main square Trg Republike, which is the picture of the urban landscape. The monument, equestrian statue of Knez Mihajlo, in the centre of the square, then the National Museum behind the monument with the big advertisement, billboard on the building, which is announcing the exhibition of the well known artists, the national painter of Serbia Paja Jovanovic (1859-1957). In the first plan of this urban landscape are people standing in front of the words Stop Nato Fascism (one of the actual question in political life of Serbia in 2010, the question of entering, integrating into NATO) which is the situation of everyday life in the public space.