Corruption in art is nothing new in history. The well known artists during the Italian Renaissance such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinciwere sponsored by the leading merchant families of Florence and Venice. By the 20th Century, art fell under the control of leading corporate players such as John D. Rockefeller. The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York was created by Rockefeller in order to tame art and exclude radical critical art from the mainstream viewing public. Today, MOMA is still owned and controlled by the Rockefeller family.
Over the past 15 years, the penetration of multinational corporations over all forms of art from visual to the performing arts has resulted with the control of corporate monopolies. Within the past 15 years, the world has entered into an era of Totalitarian Capitalism. In the words of the American New Wave band Devo, we are living under a “Corporate Feudal State.” The contemporary Serbian philosopher Duci Simonovic writes that capitalism today is totalitarian in so much as it seeks to bring all spheres of life be it social, political and cultural under total control in order “to bring the masses into the spiritual orbit of capitalism.”
Mikser 2010 was not simply the latest in the banal line of corporate sponsored festivals. Billed mostly as a design expo showcasing Serbian designers, it was in fact an exposition of totalitarian corporate fascism. Mikser was actually a geo-political experiment to reveal the political reality of Western hegemony in order to see how the public would react. In one neat and complete package, Mikser revealed conclusively that we live under a global totalitarian corporate fascist military dictatorship.
Mikser 2010 was held in the Dor?ol district of Belgrade at an old flour factory along the banks of the Danube River. A couple of years ago, the cabal of Western educated Serbs who comprise the Belgrade Art Mafia cased out the old factory to determine if it was suitable for the use of art and cultural events. Most Belgrade youth attended Mikser mostly to see the musical acts which were billed to play during the evenings. Many attendees weren’t aware of the display of totalitarianism which surrounded them.
We approached the festival the first time by foot during the middle of the evening. As one walked closer to the site, a projection of images were shown against the 30 story high silos. The projections were mostly of digital art and other forms of new media. The images were quite hypnotic and it was difficult to resist staring at them as one walked towards the expo. At the entrance were private security guards who conducted body and bag searches to prevent visitors from bringing in outside drinks. That was the first entrance into the totalitarian site. One was compelled to buy and drink only what was offered within the Expo. Though admission was free, the second line of guards handed out yellow bracelets with the words Mikser 2010 in black lettering. The guards took a look at us and decided not to offer us the bracelets.
Since we had close to one hour before the band we came to see was to play, we thought we would take a look around and see the art on display. Between the silos and the six story administrative building was a plastic and tape installation sculpture which appeared designed as a tubular spider’s web. The design intricately copied the method and shape spiders use to build funnel webs. Children were allowed to walk through and play inside the plastic funnel. Right next to the spiders web funnel stood a giant screen where independent films were presented with about fifty folding chairs set up in rows.
Moving towards the administrative building was Mikser Square. There was a DJ playing monotonous trance music to which no one was dancing to. Next to the DJ booth was a tattoo parlour where visitors could pay to get tattooed. Walking further we came upon the Educational Expo. It was here when we came upon the first sign of Corporate domination over the festival.
Hanging quite prominently was the banner of the DuPont corporation. The surprise of seeing DuPont at an alternative arts festival was quite high. I went to ask two young women who were in charge what DuPont had to do with their exhibition. The two young women only gave their first names, Tamara and Gabriella. They were two art students studying in Belgrade. They were giving a workshop on tableware. When asked about the DuPont connection, they replied that DuPont had provided them with the chemical substance Corian for free. When asked if DuPont had given any money directly, the students were embarrassed by the question. They replied that DuPont had not given them any money, only Corian.
The history of DuPont needs to be elaborated upon. DuPont is the United States’ oldest and largest chemical corporation. It’s the second largest chemical manufacturing corporation in the world after the German conglomerate BASF. DuPont is the oldest corporation of the military industrial complex in the US. In the 19th Century it was the world’s largest producer and supplier of gunpowder. Indeed, DuPont had a monopoly contract with the Union Army during the US Civil War (1861-1865). By the turn of the 20th Century, DuPont was the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of dynamite. By the 20th Century, DuPont had invented the bullet proof jacket and vest which is today worn by nearly all the armies and police forces of the world. DuPont played a leading and key role in The Manhattan Project which developed the first Atomic Bomb. Moreover, DuPont is the leading air polluter in the United States. Its environmental record is abysmal. DuPont is also responsible for most of America’s water pollution. The DuPont family is one of the leading families which rule the United States. The State of Delaware is mostly the private property of the DuPont family and nearly half of Chesapeake Bay falls within the commercial and private property domain of DuPont. DuPont is one of the leading criminal corporations in the world leading to the death and ill-health of billions of species of animals and at least hundreds of millions of human lives. DuPont is the leading corporation which is killing our planet.
Opposite from the DuPont exhibition on the loading dock of the administrative building stood a banal piece of post-modernist art. It was a blue cube with circles cut out from four sides. In the middle from the top was a shower facet with water gushing out non-stop. As it stood opposite from DuPont, I associated it with Zyklon-B and the gas chambers at Auschwitz.
Inside the administrative building on the ground floor, one was exposed to more corporate dominance. At a huge counter which was more suited for that of a hotel front desk stood a pretty woman. Behind her on the wall the words Philip Morris were prominently displayed. Once again, if one wanted to buy cigarettes, one was forced to buy from Philip Morris. Should a smoker prefer another brand, particularly a Serbian domestic brand, they were shit out of luck. Only corporate cigarettes would be allowed. Opposite from the Philip Morris stand was the lounge.
The lounge itself was straight out of a post-modern art textbook. On the side wall were words which were to remind the visitor of just how hip Mikser was. The words “Style” and “Cool” were displayed predominately in the color red. The red carpet leading past it was to give the visitor a sense of importance. The visitor was supposed to feel they were cool and stylish just to be present. The red carpet, which is usually laid out for dignitaries and celebrities, in this context was to give the visitor the feeling that they were part of the fashion and cultural elite. The real intended purpose was to lure the visitor into the open embrace of totalitarian capitalism. Everyone was cordially welcomed to submit to the domination of corporate fascism.
On the door leading up to the upper floors was another corporate ad for Bluetooth. On the upper floors of the administrative building were occupied by various Belgrade based small design studios, furniture shops, and other various forms of internal decorations. It had the feel of petit-bourgeois convention which is hardly surprising considering that the petit-bourgeoisie is the class of Fascism.
Moving back towards the silos, one is greeted with a huge banner announcing Serbian artists sponsored by Norwegian IT corporation Telenor. Inside Silo 1, one is first confronted with first rate mediocre art. Indeed, for all the exhibitions in each of the four silos, the most interesting aspects aesthetically speaking were the old tanks and pipes of the factory itself. Had any of the art exhibited been displayed in a normal art gallery, they would have failed completely. This factor made the art cheaper than it was originally. The artists used the aesthetics of the silos to make their art appear more interesting than they actually were. The silos themselves are prime examples of industrial design and aesthetics. The silos alone could have been touched unmolested and would have provided more artistic impressions than the art which was attached to it. Indeed, this is the exact essence of Post-Modernism, in particular post-modernist art. Post-Modernism is artistic recycling at best and outright theft at worst. Post-Modernist art specifically removes content for aestheticism. However, post-modernism is unique for its lack of original aesthetics. Instead, post-modernism borrows from modernism but without any creative or intellectual input. In simpler terms, Post-Modernism is the conquest of style over substance. The substance of the silo exhibitions were the physical apparatus of the silos themselves. The artwork was just a type of an unknown abstract style over the silos.
What was most striking about most of the art was the laziness and utter lack of effort put in by the artists. One got the feeling that the artists were bored. The feeling that the artists were restless one day and decided to do the equivalent of doodling or that of a writer suffering from writer’s block who jots down words in a journal just to do something. In the second silo was an exhibit of graffiti art. At first sight, the visitor saw the laziness of the attempt. The artist must’ve realised that he had to do something before the opening. So he arrived 5 hours before the opening to sketch 4 graphics on the walls. Overall, the art on display showed an amazing lack of talent. This visitor has seen better sketches in the drawing books of 15 year old teenagers not even halfway through high school. The photographer who accompanied me, an artist herself, noted that the art was obviously depressing that it reminded her of works she has observed made by patients of mental hospitals employing art therapy.
In Silo 1, the visitor was confronted with two provocative exhibitions. The first was the result of the most extreme expression of cynicism.
“Home Sweet Home” by Milan Jani?. This attempt at social consciousness is nothing less than contemptuous. The concept of Home Sweet Home was supposedly to raise awareness of homelessness. Next to the O3one Magazine sign is a promotional photograph of the artist lying in a cardboard box shaped like a house in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Underneath is the text: “Because no one shouldn’t won’t can’t live in a cardboard box.” Then hanging by strings in rows are simple cardboard boxes shaped into homes. One immediately recalls the house and hotel pieces used in the board game Monopoly. Jani? takes cynicism to new heights by adding a coin slot on the roofs of the cardboard boxes so people can deposit coins to give towards homeless charity.
The reactionary intent behind this exhibit is revolting and must be explored in depth. First, by attempting to deal with the subject of homelessness the artist leaves out the most important thing: the homeless people themselves. There is nothing which reveals the reality of homelessness. There is nothing at all which presents any human face to a global socio-economic epidemic. The artist in the photograph himself isn’t homeless. This attempt at raising social consciousness utterly fails. Second, the exhibition tells nothing about the social and economic conditions of homelessness. Why are there so many homeless people in the richest countries of the world? There is no explanation of the economic forces which are forcing tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of people out of their homes and on to the streets. There isn’t any attempt at understanding or explaining homelessness as a sociological phenomenon. Instead, homelessness is simply reduced to a cardboard box for the sake of art. The reality of course is that if someone who was really homeless in Paris attempted to set up their cardboard box home in front of the Eiffel Tower would be quickly removed by the police and subject to arrest and beatings. Yet, reality has nothing to do with the exhibit. Third, this isn’t art at all. Instead it is advertising and public relations campaign for a charity organisation. “Home Sweet Home” suggests the name of a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) than it suggests the name of an art exhibit. The coin slits reveal that the cardboard houses are meant to be given to volunteers, particularly children volunteers to walk about town during he holiday season begging shoppers to drop small coins up to One Euro in the box. In my review of David Byrne’s book “The New Sins”, “Charity” is listed as a New Sin. As Byrne puts it: “The rich trample on the poor with their acts of kindness.” Indeed, the history of charities goes back to the Catholic Church which used it as a way to keep the poor and indigent under its control and to prevent the poor peasants and masses from rising up against their oppressors. More recently, charities were set up by American Robber Barons. Rockefeller, DuPont, Bill and Melinda Gates have all set up charities invariably to help the poor and needy. Charity is a means by which capitalism covers up its tracks of exploitation. It is exactly the actions of neo-liberal totalitarian capitalism which has created today’s unprecedented social misery and crisis. This exhibition is part of the crime. This exhibition aids and abets the cover up of the economic and social causes of homelessness. Moreover, it keeps people ignorant to the true nature of homelessness. Finally, it serves totalitarian capitalism by preventing the visitor with any critical reasoning and understanding of the capitalist forces which drive homelessness. It reduces the solution to homelessness as simply individual acts of charity. It renders the individual helpless in the face of totalitarian capitalism. To be more concrete, it literally boxes in the individual within the prison cell of totalitarian corporate fascism.
The most shocking exhibit of Mikser is adjacent to Home Sweet Home. The exhibition is entitled “Tattoo Room” by Serbian artist Dragan Vojvodic and was also sponsored by O3one Magazine. According to the official Mikser 2010 Program, Tattoo Room was supposed to showcase tattoos using examples of “extreme political ideologies.” This is criminally misleading. The exhibition is nothing less than a glorification of Neo-Nazi skinhead culture and the artist made no attempt to conceal or hide it. Any Neo-Nazi skinhead would know it as well. Even worse, every Anti-Nazi activist would have known it too and had this been presented in Vienna, Berlin or London, scandals and riots would have resulted. The description in the program is misleading. By using ”examples of extremist political ideologies” one would have assumed there would be Nazi, Stalinist, Fascist, Nationalist examples which would be compared and contrasted with one another. No, it was a pure shrine to Neo-Nazi ideology. When the visitor first enters the Tattoo Room, one is confronted by a replica drawing of an eagle with the letters SS written. On the floor leading from the insignia is a carpet with the SS Skull and Crossbones insignia with two snakes forming the double S. The text “Victim In Pain and Death” are written at the bottom. On the other wall are seven photographs lifted off the Internet and framed by the artist. All seven photos are of Neo-Nazi skinheads posing and showing off their tattoos. (Click on the image to enlarge the details.)
There are scores of problems with this exhibit but only the most salient will be dissected. First, this isn’t art. It isn’t even close to art. It is propaganda. Worse, it uses post-modernist technique of borrowing (one might rightly say stealing) from someone else and passing it off as one’s own art. All this artist did was to put frames around the pictures and arrange the order. Vojvodic serves as a curator for Nazi propaganda. The images are freely and widely available from the Internet by doing a simple Google image search of Nazi Skinheads. The photographs are not even given credit to their original photographers. Second, despite the misleading explanation in the official program, there is no contextual explanation. At the exhibit there is only the name of the artist and nothing more. This leads to a breakdown of any possible defense to exhibit this trash propaganda. The artist might defend himself by saying he was simply trying to show examples of Nazi tattoos and to give guidance to the viewer as what to look for and how to identify Neo-Nazi skinheads. Were that the case, there would have been a more thorough explanation in the program or on the exhibit itself. Then perhaps, the artist would defend himself by claiming he was merely trying to show examples of Nazi art. In other words, that he was simply documenting forms of Nazi tattoo art. This would be a lie. Neither the program nor the exhibit explains that. The visitor who is aware of Neo-Nazi culture and extremism would have no other choice but to believe this was simply a shrine to Nazis. Third, if the artist wanted to show “examples of extreme political ideologies, why did he neglect to include Anarchist or Marxist tattoos. Lots of young Anarchists sport tattoos. Certainly, Vojvodic would have found just as many examples of Anarchist tattoo art off the Internet as he found of Nazi tattoos. There are many people who sport tattoos of the hammer and sickle, the red star as well of images of Che Guevara. One can only conclude that the artist wanted to only show Nazi examples because he either likes the Nazi aesthetic or because he’s a Nazi himself. Let us give him the benefit of doubt. Let us suppose that he really just wanted to showcase Nazi tattoo art because he thought it would be interesting to the public. If this is the case, then he is the most ignorant political idiot in the world who claims to be an artist. Does he not know 20th Century history? Is he unaware how Nazism brought about the greatest catastrophe in human history? Is he unaware that more than 500,000 Serbs were murdered by the Nazis during World War 2? Has he not heard of the Nazi Holocaust? Is he unaware of thousands of racially motivated assaults and murders which occur each year in Europe at the hands of Neo-Nazis? I refuse to believe that a 45 year old artist who was born and raised during the peak of Josip Broz Tito’s reign to be ignorant of Nazism (Vojvodic was born in 1965 according to the official program.). If this assessment is incorrect, then Vojvodic has no business calling himself an artist. He cannot even call himself educated.
This exhibit, more than anything else, revealed the true nature of the organisers behind Mikser 2010. Silo 1, where this particular exhibit was displayed was sponsored by Telenor. Indeed, Cel-Marten Jonsen, the General Director of Telenor writes a paragraph long comment in the program right next to the explanation of Vojvodic’s exhibit. Jonsen certainly can’t be ignorant of Nazism. What about O3one magazine which was the sub-sponsor of Silo 1 and the main sponsor of the Nazi exhibition? What does that comment about their judgment of art and the caliber of artists which they specially select? Worse still, what about the other artists exhibiting in the same Silo? Certainly, at least one of them must be aware of Nazism! Did not any of them lodge a protest or demand an explanation? Did not any one of the other artists think about the implications of their association with Nazi propaganda? Did no one care? Or did it simply come down to either indifference or tacit support to Nazi propaganda? If they were indifferent, that’s the worse crime than tacit support.
Next door in Silo 2 did not prove to be any better and actually revealed the depth of the maliciousness cynicism of the organisers of Mikser 2010. Silo 2 was the showcase of “real Alternative art”. The evidence of conscious planning on the part of the organisers came from the exhibit by Spaniard artist Manuel Ocampo .
One gets the nagging suspicion that the organisers were aware that staging a Nazi exhibit needed to be counter posed by Anarchist art. Ocampo’s exhibit only reinforces that suspicion. According to the official program Ocampo was born the same year as Vojvodic in 1965. Coincidence or conspiracy? In the picture to the left, Ocampo has the anarchist symbol hovering above two Stars of David. Pay attention to the middle of the photo. On the Star of David rests an axe with the blade etched into it. Underneath the Star of David reveals a penis shaft. At the bottom rests two testicles. A visitor with social and political consciousness cannot help but see anything else except a sadistic expression of Anti-Semitism. The cross next to it on the right evokes the most demagogic ideology of Anti-Semitism, namely that the Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus. This piece squarely sums up the conclusion made in the 3rd part of the series Left for Dead written for The Age of Nepotism in which the writer reached the conclusion that Anarchism is the other side of the same coin to Nazism.
On another part of the same mural, Ocampo reveals a tendency for sado-masochist Nazi pornography with Anarchist Post-Modernist ideology thrown into the mix. Observe the image to the right. On the left shows an executioner with a head axe leading a woman bound to the chopping block. The mask of the executioner closely resembles the hood and masks worn by the Ku Klux Klan. The woman bound and being led to the chopping block has her breasts and nipples exposed. There isn’t any further example of fascist pornography than this part of the mural. It is the most extreme form of violent oppression against women. There are hardly any more examples of sexism in the true sense that can be found. Like the Nazi exhibition this is not art. This belongs in the basement racks sado-masochistic pornography books found on the seedy side streets of Amsterdam. It’s art insofar as that Ocampo, unlike Vojvodic, actually created his own exhibition. Yes, Ocampo is an illustrator but what he illustrates is misogynistic fascism. Aware of the reactionary provocation of his mural he writes: “Artistic Laws Demand Their Own Destruction!” Underneath he writes the following text upside down: “Comprehension Only.”
This necessitates a few comments. The text reveals the ideological marriage between Anarchism and Post-Modernism. The Anarchistic philosophy is that there are no rules in art. Therefore any rules which apply to art must be destroyed. This is in line with the anti-authority underpinnings of Anarchism. The text taken on its own context appears reasonable. After all, is there anything else more absurd than rules of art? This sounds like a declaration of war against the Medieval and early Renaissance periods when art could only express devotion to God and the Church or only to portray portraits of their sponsors in the most favourable light. However, like Vojvodic, Ocampo uses this as an excuse to display violent misogyny, sexually violent anti-Semitism and thinly veiled fascism. “Comprehension Only” is an authoritarian imperative statement. In English grammar, it’s called a command statement. Here Ocampo shows his hand and moreover shows that he was playing with the card deck of Post-Modernism. By commanding the viewer to only comprehend, he wants the viewer to be fully aware of the images employed. The technique of having the command written upside down in a cheap ploy used by Postmodernists. Philosophically, he engages in what Theodore Adorno called “The Jargon of Authenticity”. Adorno used this term as his main weapon in his polemics against the Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger. It’s no mistake that Heidegger is the intellectual father of Post-Modernist philosophy. Adorno’s attack against Heidegger can be used against the Post-modernists and by extension the entire concept of Mikser: “But the triviality of the simple is not, as Heidegger would like it to be, attributable to the value-blindness of thought that has lost being. Such triviality comes from thinking that is supposedly in tune with being and reveals itself as something supremely noble. Such triviality is the sign of that classifying thought, even in the simplest word, from which Heidegger pretends that he has escaped: namely, abstraction.” In other words Vojvodic and Ocampo employ triviality to their art subjects. Vojvodic trivializes Nazism as Ocampo trivializes misogyny and anti-Semitism. Mikser attempts to trivialize art. Under the guise of abstract art, Vojvodic, Ocampo and the organisers of Mikser promote violence, racism and misogyny.
The rest of the art exhibits in Silos 3-4 were, for the most part, banal in the extreme. They were all more or less variations of post-modernism. Some were honest attempts but most were sloppy in the extreme. The exhibit by Belgrade based comic book publishers “Greed” (image above) inadvertently expressed the true face of Mikser. There was only one artist who seemed to be aware of what he was getting into and his was the best exhibit in the entire wretched event. Andrija Marinovic presented the most sarcastic and most insightful exhibit: iBelieve (the image at the top of this article). In the official program, Marinovic expresses his hatred for the Belgrade art scene. He states that he hates going to galleries and exhibitions. He further writes that they are a waste of time. He didn’t want to even be a part of Mikser but was begged by one of the organisers Mia David to participate. iBelieve is one of the most socially and politically critical art of today. Marinovic plays on the Apple Corporation recent line of products such as iTunes, iPod and iPhone. Marinovic has more political awareness than the entire lot of artists who were selected for Mikser. The cross symbolizes how neo-liberalism and consumerism is the official religion of the world today. Though he put very little physical effort into his exhibit, he displayed an extraordinary depth of intellectual capacity and political awareness. Marinovic was the only artist and probably one of the people in Belgrade aware of the totalitarian corporate fascist agenda of Mikser 2010. It speaks volumes that the best exhibit was presented by an artist who wanted nothing to do with it in the first place. His cynicism, compared to that of Jani?’s Home Sweet Home, was progressive. He wanted to illuminate the facade of totalitarian capitalism masquerading as alternative art. He wanted to engage the public critically. Sadly, he probably rightly guessed that his work would be too subtle for most of the Serbian audience. Still, iBelieve was the perfect cap which salvaged an otherwise savage exposition.
Upon leaving the Silo heading back towards the exit one is confronted once again by the motion pictures projected against the high silo towers. Towards the end of the 30 minute loop which is rather mesmerizing come two images of a military tank advancing towards the viewer. The first tank comes from the right side of the screen. The second tank arrives from the left side. The militarization of Mikser is complete. The journey of Mikser travels from Corporatism via Nazism and Fascism and concludes with militarism. In one full swoop Mikser reveals itself to be a totalitarian exercise masquerading as art.
There is one last bit of evidence which needs to be presented. Another corporate sponsor of Mikser 2010 was the automobile corporation Peugeot. Peugeot sponsored a design competition with the slogan translated into English as: “Invitation to Inspiration.” Peugeot participated in Mikser to lure young aspiring Serbian engineering designers to submit designs for the next model(s) of cars. The flyer which describes the competition reveals little on paper. It’s what it doesn’t say that’s of importance. The flyer doesn’t give any incentive for designers to submit their proposals for. It doesn’t state whether they would receive a prize award in cash nor does it offer a contract to work as a designer for Peugeot. Nor does it even hint that the winning designer will even receive credit or recognition. No. Peugeot simply wants young Serbians to submit designs so that Peugeot will not have to pay them. In France, automotive engineers are unionised and must be paid handsomely for their work. Peugeot sponsored Mikser to find free designers from Serbia whom are neither unionised nor would have to be paid. After all, what legal recourse does a Serb have against Peugeot? Peugeot can’t be sued in a Serbian court. Moreover, a typical young Serb lacks the financial resources to pay for Western lawyers and court fees. This is the ultimate form of the exploitation of neo-liberal colonialism.
Mikser 2010 raises many more questions. First, the festival costs were much higher than the list of sponsors would be willing to pay for collectively. There are lists of official sponsors on the program plus the other sponsors highlighted in this article. The financing for a festival of this size along with the ideological propaganda must have come from sources not officially revealed. Second, for a festival of its size, it wasn’t geared for an international audience. There were a couple of Western artists such as Ocampo from Spain but it was exclusively a Serbian affair. None of the official programs were in any language other than Serbian. As the festival billed itself on the same league as the Venice Biennial and the London Tate Modern, the international public was conspicuous by its absence.
Mikser 2010 would not have been possible in a Western city. In Vienna, there would have been a scandal particularly due to the Nazi exhibition by Vojvodic. Had Orange Radio, Vienna’s equivalent to B-92 sponsored the festival and discovered the reactionary art on display; they would have withdrawn their support. Der Falter, Vienna’s leading weekly alternative newspaper would have followed suit. There would have been severe recriminations. All of the other artists involved would have pulled out in protest, also because no serious artist in Austria wants to be associated with Nazism. The Feuilleton pages of the mainstream newspapers such as Der Standard and Die Presse would have been filled with nasty and vicious jokes making fun of the amateurish caliber of the art on exhibit. Austria’s national news magazine Profil would have turned it into a front page feature. The organisers would be subjected to aggressive questioning. Indeed, if one wants to ruin one’s reputation as an artist and intellectual in Austria, then Mikser will work like a charm.
In Berlin, the reaction would have been much sharper. The curators and organisers of the festival would have expelled Vojvodic immediately. If by some extraordinary lapse it would have escaped noticed on the part of the organisers, word would’ve spread that there was Nazi art and the Anti-Fa would have been all over Mikser like white on rice. The exhibit would have been ripped down and trashed. The outrage provoked by the nakedly totalitarian corporate fascist nature of the festival would have led to the total destruction of the entire complex. Fires would have been set. The entire Berlin and Brandenburg State police riot squads would have been called in. Mikser would have been transformed into a war zone. By the time the dust would have settled, the compound would be in ruins with smoke still emitting from burning embers. It would have turned into a national incident.
Mikser 2010 was an intentional exercise to promote totalitarian corporate fascist dictatorship. Why Belgrade? They picked Belgrade because the organisers were acutely aware that most Serbs would not have understood what was taking place before their very eyes. This demands elaborating upon. The Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia was the most advanced and progressive form of communism in Europe. In the Socialist Republic of Serbia, people were well educated about the horrors of Nazism. The break up of Yugoslavia, which was instigated by Germany, led to Serbia’s political and social isolation for nearly 20 years. Today, most of the youth under 30 do not remember when Communist Yugoslavia was a flourishing state. Before most of them had reached the age of 10, civil war had broken out. Due to sanctions, most Serbian youth were not allowed to leave the country except those who were very wealthy. It has only been in the past 5 years of less since Neo-Liberal totalitarian capitalism has arrived in Serbia. Most Serbs are ignorant about the mass social movements in the West since the Battle of Seattle in 1999. They have no idea about the death of Carlo Giuliani during the G8 Summit protests in Genoa of 2001. They have no clue about the mass social movement of 2002-03 to prevent the Iraq War. Serbs have not had the chance to understand the dynamics of neo-liberal capitalism. The youth do not know what Spanish Fascism entailed. They have not had any access to the various movements against racism, sexism and human rights. For most of the youth under 30, their political awakening occurred due to the excesses of Slobodan Milosevic. After the overthrow of Milosevic, the youth returned to political sleep. They also have a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of fascism or Nazism. Many of them believe that Milosevic was a fascist or Nazi. This is incorrect. Others believe that the Radical Party and the nationalist extremist groupOBRAZ are Nazi or Fascist groups. This assessment is also incorrect. These factors led to Serbian youth attending Mikser not knowing what they were experiencing.
But the organisers did. The list of organisers and many of the artists reveal very interesting biographies. Almost all of them had studied and/or lived in the West. The fact that they had been able to do so during the 1990s and 2000s during the sanctions period reveals that they came from the upper classes of Serbian society. The key organisers over the age of 40 certainly remember Communist Yugoslavia and the anti-Nazi education they had received. In fact, many of them were the children of the leading members of the Yugoslav politburo. In other words, many of them were former Communists or belong to families of high ranking communist party members. While the vast majority of the Serb masses suffered under the harsh privations of war during the 1990s, they had managed to escape to the comfortable safety of Vienna, Berlin, London and New York. When things settled down, they returned to Serbia and have created an oligarchy of artists. No artist, meaning painters, media artists, etc can be given an exhibition without being personally friends of this cabal or to fall within their good graces. Any serious independent minded and serious artist who has any creative individuality and that refuses to worship the cult of post-modernism are persona non-grata. Mikser was an exhibition of all the same artists who exhibit year after year after year. Oftentimes, these artists show the same works year in and year out without ever showing any change, variation or evolution in their creative endeavors. Mikser was nothing but artistic charlatanry pure and simple.
This critique goes beyond the obvious flaws of fake superficiality. In that regard, Mikser wasn’t anything special. Indeed, it follows obediently like a dog on the leash of Post-Modernism. There is no shortage of artistic pretenders and posers in the mainstream art world today. What made Mikser particularly noxious was its deliberate propaganda exercise promoting corporate fascism under the guise of alternative art. They knew very well that they could get away with it only if they had a purely Serbian public. Worst, they used and manipulated Serbian artists and musicians who wanted nothing to do with totalitarian fascism and were unaware of what was happening.
There isn’t conclusive evidence or proof to substantiate the final conclusion. Nonetheless, it’s not a stretch to think that Mikser received financial backing of the European Union, NATO, USAID and a host of other Western imperialist agencies. The question that still remains is why? Mikser was a pre-emptive attack against the youth of Serbia in order to keep them blind to the real imperialist designs being planned against them. The youth all across Europe and North America are awake and conscious. Two weeks ago, students clashed with riot police in Ljubiana in the largest student protest in Slovenia since 1968. Last autumn Germany and Austria experienced their largest student strikes and protests ever. The Greek youth have led the rebellion against neo-liberalism. The youth in Serbia are quiet. Mikser was promoted not only to keep them tame and passive but for more sinister motives. It was to get the Serbian youth to accept and embrace Totalitarian Corporate Military Fascism. No one present at Mikser were even remotely aware of what was being perpetrated upon them. Mikser was the open declaration that the world is living under a totalitarian corporate fascist military dictatorship. This conclusion was spellt out in no uncertain terms!
The city of Belgrade and the youth of Serbia have been victims of one of the greatest psychological warfare operations ever conducted in human history. The corporatising of culture and public space has been occurring in the West for the past 25 years but it has yet to reach the level of obvious openness as it has just been done this past week. For 15 years, I have written extensively about the creeping totalitarian capitalism which has strangled the world. Millions of people in North America and Europe see it as well but never was it so openly revealed in such a perfect package as Mikser.
A final note. The intention of this article is not to blast the entire festival as fascist. The best part of the festival was the live musical acts. The musicians were invited to play and were unaware of the larger agenda. There were some artists, even those mediocre, not at fault. Ola Horhe, who in the opinion of this writer is one of the best musical acts in Serbia, was certainly not a party to this fraud. There were scores of innocent victims from this charade and it’s imperative that they be made aware of what had happened. If Mikser is able to get away with this and try it again next year, then the cultural, economic, political and social future of Serbia is doomed.
Special thanks to Eli Novak who took the photographs and helped with their graphic design. The author is also grateful for the translation and additional background information she provided.