A lab, a performative dialogue and public talk
October Salon

Monday, October 18, 18-20 h
Milica Tomic and Saskia Holmkvist in dialogue with invited Serbian rooted thinkers, activists and artists.
Friday, October 22, 18-20 h
Milica Tomic and Saskia Holmkvist in a performative dialogue and a public talk on definitions of keywords as democracy, citizenship, civic engagement and the role of art.

Art and Politics  focuses on the artist’s capacity of provoking critical thinking and questioning social and political facts, which often are the inspirational point for artistic work in the Balkans. The need of taking a political position as an artist has been a de facto action for artistic expression in the Balkans and this was mirrored by the position of the invited Swedish artist. To present the relation between a Swedish and a Balkan artist is a way to expose contradictions or assumptions about democracy.


The project’s core was a laboratory setting inviting the Swedish artist Saskia Holmkvist to meet the Serbian artist Milica Tomic for five days. The relation between the two artists was stimulated through a process of critical discussions based on their work, questioning the political and their position towards what makes an artwork political.

Photos from the work of Milica Tomic and Saskia Holmkvist

Performative Dialogue

The 20 minutes performative dialogue brought up the notion of transparency and the conditions of production within the culture sector.

Saskia Holmkvist and Milica Tomic chose for their pursuit, texts published by Swedish Institute (funder of the project) on their website, formulating their mission internationally, texts published by Intercult (executive producer of the project) formulating their mission as an organization, and correspondence between the artists and Corina Oprea, the curator of the project.

Through the performative dialogue, the artists actively responded to the question of a politically engaged work by referring to the context that allows artistic projects to take place, understanding and making visible the mechanisms of production and the power structures.

Public talk

The performative dialogue was followed by a round table with invited Serbian rooted thinkers, activists and artists: Borka Pavicevic (Centre for Culture Decontamination), Vladan Jeremic and Rena Raedle (Biro Beograd), Natasa Lambic – Women in Black.

Some of the issues discussed were:

  • The role of art venues as a platform for political debate including unheard voices.
  • That “politics” means to react immediately, to act now. Examples were given of projects realized by Women in Black and Center for Culture Decontamination.
  • The distinction between “Art that is about the political and art that enters and functions within the realm of the political” Suzana Milevska, Macedonian art historian and curator
  • The challenge of the institutionalization of critique was identified by Borka Pavicevic. Leading institutions for art and culture include in their programs “critical art”, “socially engaged art“ etc. In this way, the system appropriates the critique.


Milica Tomic – visual artist, Belgrade
Milica Tomic works and lives in Belgrade, with video, film, photography, performance, action, light and sound installation, web
projects, discussions etc. Tomic’s work focuses on issues of political violence, nationality and identity, with particular attention to the tensions between personal experience and media constructed images.
Saskia Holmkvist– visual artist, Stockholm
Saskia Holmkvist is engaged in an art practice that moves between video, performance and site specific projects–in an ongoing artistic investigation into the relations of the politics of the authentic and credible. In the process she explores the negotiation of undertaking roles in life and how stuctures within language affect the politics of these positions. Holmkvist’s interest lies in what is behind the apparent dialogue or culture such as manipulations, strategies, missunderstandings, translations and more.


In collaboration with the Culture Center of Belgrade and October Salon, Belgrade.