Iva Kontic

Na Današnji Dan (ili 25. maj & ja) is a site-specific video installation which deals with the relationship between the history and the individual experience through the context of 25 May, or the Youth Day.

The Youth Day was a national holiday in the former Yugoslavia, as well as the official birthday of its former president Josip Broz Tito. Introduced by Tito in 1957 and celebrated until 1987 (7 years after his death) it would start each year with carrying of the National Relay all around the Yugoslavian territory and its former republics, and it was accompanied by various manifestations organized in each town and city. The central celebration though was held on 25 May, when the Relay would arrive in Belgrade to the stadium of Yugoslavian National Army (now Partizan Stadium). This is where the final and biggest manifestation called „Slet“ would take place, and Tito would receive the Relay. The whole Slet spectacle, which included massive gymnastic exercises and music repertoire would have been filmed and transmitted directly on the national television.

Composed of two simultaneous videos, the work investigates the personal everyday memory in relation to 25 May through a mixed collage of the extracts from the interviews presented in a TV monitor, revolving around a dozen of people – all former citizens of Yugoslavia and direct testimonies (and actors) that historical moment. The «trigger» for this quasi documentary reconstruction of the memory was the generational gap which divides myself as the author from the historical period that the Youth Day belonged to. As all of those born after Tito’s death, my first memories formed in the final phase of the Yugoslavian era and of the Youth Day are defined mostly by the private and family sphere, unaware of the broader collective context. My experience present mostly a construct of the „posthumous“ historical interpretations and mostly is borrowed from the family stories, albums, postcards and personal objects. That is where my „artistic survey“ - from my close surrounding, my family members, relatives, neighbours and friends - as a sort of selected circle of my personal historic figures.

The interview "compilation" is accompanied by a video projection showing the Partizan Stadium in Belgrade. While imitating in style the TV reportages of Slet manifestations, it shows the stadium in its current state, which lacks almost completely the marks of its history, and in its everyday light – far away from the lights of reflectors and the festive atmosphere of the former national spectacle. The only element which alludes on its historical background is my performance in the centre of the stadium, while reinacting the parts of Slet choreography. The performance amplifies the biographical aspect of this artistic investigation into the phenomenon of 25 May, but it is also an ironical commentary that wishes to stress the mission-impossible character of the work’s «goal» itself – to find and transmit a direct individual experience and the «truthful» in the collective experience defined (and therefore limited, condemned) by the dimension of past and historisation.

Na današnji dan (ili 25 maj & ja)
Today in History (or 25 May & I)


video installation

2 videos played simultaneously:
video screened on TV (DVPAL 16:9, colour-sound,
language: Serbian, subtitles: English);
video projection (HD 16:9, colour-sound)
31 min

dan-tv dan-proj

view video installation (split-screen version)

dan-tv dan-proj

view video stills from video in TV monitor
view video stills from video-projection