Igor Bošnjak: EUtopia – a self-contained continent /
Incoming residency organized by MSUV, Novi Sad /
pop up exhibition

09 – 11.5. 2019 
ACAX / Glassyard gallery, Paulay Ede u. 25-27, Budapest


More on: www.glassyard.hu_aktulis-killits

EUtopia _ a self-contained continent

EUtopia – a self-contained continent is the next chapter of a series of pop up exhibitions and events by Bosnian artist Igor Bošnjak who are traveling throughout Europe as part of a residency program on behalf of Risk Change! project. In his wall drawings, installations and video projections he explores the relation between the cartographic representation of the geopolitical terrain and it’s arbitrary distorted and deformed visions overloaded by cultural, historical and ideological predetermination and illusion. The familiar contours of our continent turns into an elusive, completely isolated island and the drone aerial view on a heroic remnant of the communist past, the utopian concrete construction of a war memorial monument seems like a computer-generated image from the vocabulary of the visual pop culture.

This public program has been organized as part of Risk Change project.
Risk Change is co-financed by the Creative Europe program of the European Union.

„I made a big, huge painting of Europe, well not Europe but something similar. In fact it is European map, but very strange and awkward. It is relief map, size about 3,7 x 5 meters, where Europe is represent as an island completely isolated. Later, above that map I shoot a movie. It is me about how Europe nowadays becoming something else… This video shows Europe as a self-sufficient form of existence, as an EUtopia island which will soon become self-containment region in psychological way. Something is very disturbing, about how we perceive Europe today. This video is my projection of idea of Europe. In text below I use a lot of Slavoj Zizek thoughts on Europe nowadays. The 20th century is over. A totalitarian regime is incapable of surviving in the long run. If we want to maintain the image of ourselves we have in the West, then we have to revisit the immense questions relating to the expansion of democratic freedoms and to the process of self-emancipation. It is here where Europe is most threatened. But I am convinced that we need Europe more than ever. Just imagine a world without Europe. You would only have two poles left – the USA, with its brutal neoliberalism, and so-called Asian capitalism, with its authoritarian political structures. You would lose the most valuable part of the European legacy, where democracy and freedom entail a collective action without which equality and fairness would not be possible. We feel too guilty in Europe – our multi-cultural tolerance is the event of a bad conscience, of a guilt complex that could cause Europe to perish.

The greatest threat to Europe is its inertia, its retreat into a culture of apathy and general relativism. But are the refugees entering Europe not also offering themselves to become cheap precarious workforce, in many cases at the expense of local workers, who react to this threat by joining anti-immigrant political parties?

For most of the refugees, this will be the reality of their dream realized. The refugees are not just escaping from their war-torn homelands; they are also possessed by a certain dream. We can see again and again on our screens. Refugees in southern Italy make it clear that they don’t want to stay there – they mostly want to live in Scandinavian countries. And what about thousands camping around Calais who are not satisfied with France but are ready to risk their lives to enter the United Kingdom? And what about tens of thousands of refugees in Balkan countries who want to reach Germany at least? They declare this dream as their unconditional right, and demand from European authorities not only proper food and medical care but also the transportation to the place of their choice. There is something enigmatically utopian in this impossible demand: as if it is the duty of Europe to realize their dream, a dream which, incidentally, is out of reach to most of Europeans. How many South and East Europeans would also not prefer to live in Norway? One can observe here the paradox of utopia: precisely when people find themselves in poverty, distress and danger, and one would expect that they would be satisfied by a minimum of safety and well-being, the absolute utopia explodes. The hard lesson for the refugees is that “there is no Norway,” even in Norway. They will have to learn to censor their dreams: Instead of chasing them in reality, they should focus on changing reality. One must thus broaden the perspective: Refugees are the price of global economy. In our global world, commodities circulate freely, but not people: new forms of apartheid are emerging…”

Igor Bošnjak