Croatian magazine Život umjetnosti launched its 96th issue

Zivot Umjetnosti

Philosopher Michel Foucault once noticed that the essence of governing is always focused on a man. However, not on a man as an individual but rather on the skills required to manipulate the power relations between individuals and their environment. The environment, according to Foucault, is reflected in wealth, resources, and territory with all its qualities – climate, irrigation, fertility, but also habits, customs and behaviours attached to it. One may say that the ‘destiny’ of a specific site therefore results from territorial layers, their interaction and the vectors of exchange in a given moment.

Relying on this understanding, the concept of the 96th issue of Život umjetnosti is based on a thematic juxtaposition of maps and texts organized in ten pairs. These pairs work as territorial layers of the magazine: geopolitical, memorial, poetic, planetary, ecological, migrant, legal, infrastructural, technological and public.

The tactical interweaving of concepts, sites, and approaches unfolds the magazine into a multi-layered, trans-national and trans-historical territory. The perpetual movement within this space blurs the geographical and epistemological boundaries, merging the mapping and reading into a single process. If a map reflects an ideological organization of space, then the operation of re-mapping stimulates the continuous clash between various ideological positions. In this way, the magazine refuses to serve the exclusive interests of a representative subject (a place, person, or structure), which is characteristic of most of the established historical narratives and projections of the future. Instead of focusing on the subject, it shifts to the links and exchanges between the subjects collected in the ten thematic layers.

In reality, these layers are inseparable; they create the territorial texture of our reality, making painfully obvious phenomena such as the lifeless bodies of immigrants floating in the Mediterranean, unfinished houses on the island of Vir preserved by legal absurdities, or the antifascist monuments, abandoned in the wild landscape of collective oblivion. The movement from a representative site to the territory is therefore not defined only by the theme or the content of this issue. It is also a theoretical and methodological movement that deconstructs the established historical narratives and repositions the subaltern ones in order to open up the space for alternative scenarios of the future.

Nikola Bojić (excerpt from Introduction)