Legend says that the Serb idiom “‘ladim jaja” (lit.: “keeping my testicles cool”) has its etymology derived from the system of small trenches carved into Roman Senate seats to run fresh water through them for the purpose of, by cooling participants’ private parts, keeping the political discussion vigorous, but not heated. Serbs’ popular conception of the ancient Roman political system involves an interconnected pool of bidets where representatives were supposed to get comfortable. Serbs’ popular conception of the contemporary local political system is radically different than our western pra-con-continentals.
|Novi Sad – Serbia|
This is a story of my experiential short excerpts of life between pre-electoral campaigns in a country run by a person who has a hard time keeping their position with a full mandate.
Think not. Over the past 20 years Serbia has been one of the countries with the highest number of early elections in this millennium. Maybe we will end up in the Guinness Book of World Records. There’s a sense of urgency heating up the Politics of the Motherland’s System (PMS) in a country of highly racist,1 highly2 particularistic3 compatriots at the western side of “Middle East meets West” (central = Greece; eastern = Turkey; western = Italy) and no outdated coolin’ water trench system, whatsoever. Let us not dig deeper into the clogs deposited in the pelvic area of our politicians’ lymphatic system. And let us take time to lament unattended drainage systems in farming areas that are so clogged with weeds and unwittingly deposited garbage that every snow-melting season, no matter how mild the snow was, it produces massive tragic flooding in suburban and small town areas. And, of course, calls to campaign for crowdfunding to help out. And then there is the normalization of lingering on the receiving end of humanitarian aid while obtaining expensive loans for luxurious projects – that is also one huge part of the Current Political Climate.
|Belgrade, Serbia – Celebration|
Ever since I learned Boris Buden’s4 view on Yugoslavia being part of the avant-guard in the EU5 (with respect to the rise of the alt-right), I feel like a weather-lady reporting worst-case forecasts, while in my face I’m as wet as one of Bowie’s News Guys.6 Tears for the Balkanization7 Affect Fears.
Sooooo, what else became normal in the dominant cultural identity8 of the neo-traditional, post-truth political climate of our PMS?
|Belgrade, Serbia – On the bench|
While worldwide investments in institutional scientific research shrink and accessibility metrics slowly slide into their own perversion,9 our politicians in power keep purchasing high academic titles from not-so-certified academic institutions. Then they proceed through public life, firmly convinced that relevant knowledge10 is automatically implemented in their minds.11 Unlike the old-school PhD’s, a great many of whom can’t stop sharing their enthusiasm about research and scientific exploration, our new traditionally uncertainty-lacking members of higher levels of the academic community as well as holders of high government positions – they keep firmly shut up about the science behind their degrees. A kind of self-sufficient node in a self-absorbed niche of the global academic network and international politics. The philosophy behind their political moves, executed in utmost certainty, is very тићу у кафићу (hush-hush)
|Belgrade, Serbia – Retired|
Even though Наташа Кандић* is shortlisted for the next Nobel Peace Prize, she’s not our new Madiba. And it is not just because she has straight hair, white skin and blue eyes, but also because she’s free to wander around the world while her thirsty-for-uncertainty compatriots, from prisons of their convictions, firmly hold that her project of finding peace and reconciling with the truth of Kosovo12 is about some Albanian Pride Street Party now regularly held around the Belgrade LGBT Pride13 or during the opposite equinox. With no dilemma, doubt, fright or worry, they firmly hold to the conviction that the RECONCILIATION is NOT about finding peace with one’s OWN SELF regarding the fact that:
|Belgrade, Serbia – Zombie walk|
Despite all the rivers of vocalized hatred for Albanians as such, Serbs know nothing of current life in Albania, but know everything about Kim Kardashian and Soraya.14 There’s no media outlet that would report from Albanian communities and be accessible in central and northern parts of Serbia.** That’s one15 disregarded fact, and the lacking uncertainty around its (ir)relevance is decidedly never examined. Again, not because official faith forbids or recognizes such a thought entertainment/experiment in any negative manner.
So we get truly emotional about the tone with which one buzzword or another, googled out in cyr/lat, resonates. It is as if Pavlov’s dog vocalized its saliva and printed it to circulate nationally. As the most recent winner16 of Serbia’s most respectable book prize would say, the corporal archiving17 manner reflectingly depicts the holder of official truth.***
|Zrenjanin, Vojvodina, Serbia – Through the fence|
Then, there’s comforting uncertainty also present in our current PMS phase. The most obvious example can be seen in political statements by public personas discussing left-wing politics. Even though they claim to be totally atheist, they talk of “new people who will come and build a better system for all of us.” Those new people18 (according to the politicians and intelligentsia in the national political opposition) will have unstained but rich professional resumes and be competent, experienced and relevant – despite the fact that one can either work for our crumbling system and have a rich professional resume or be new. The uncertainty of why those left-wing atheist so firmly believe in a sort of collective Second Coming is never seriously examined. Instead, this particular uncertainty is cherished as fuel for their self-righteousness and as grounds for their relevance. The certainty is that, although they don’t know much about the New People, they are absolutely convinced and uncertainty-lacking that it’s not them personally. Nor them, personally, are the people who should try to push beyond their denigrating diagnosis of our PMS, and, instead of ridiculing the dominant political option, try devising a way to heal and reconcile. Maybe even open some space for building a functional system.
|Borca, Serbia – Shepherdess|
Obedience in hatred and in ridicule, no matter how uniform and massively present the uncertainty-lacking conviction is in our society, it is a conviction that officially doesn’t have its place in state-recognized religion, nor in philosophies which self-perceive as liberal and progressive. It’s just our PMS phase.
Why open up space for solidarity and learn better political solutions if we can just sit and wait for someone to have the system of our liking served to us?
In Belgrade, early equinox 2018
Vuka [Vuka kao reka]
*Googling Natasa Kandic in Cyrillic and in Latin returns with two completely different sets of emotional charge in the resulting findings.
**Nevertheless, different sets of emotional charges feed Google search results for шиптар and hits for Albanian citizen.
*** “[Zoological, botanic, anatomic, anthropological] collections and stories within and about them can sometimes serve to propose a question on the structure/architecture of knowledge, along with space to examine structures of truths represented through given knowledge. For what shapes the content adopted as truthful is the manner in which the knowledge is being distributed/mapped/located within certain space and time. Yet we’re all aware that there’s always some issue about it, and the truth always ends up depending on the allocation of the facts.” – Dejan Atanacković, NIN Magazine, Jan 18, 2018
1. Kitsantonis, Niki. “9 Charged in Fatal Beating of American in Greece.” New York Times. July, 12, 2017: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/world/europe/beating-death-of-american-bakari-henderson-in-greece.html
2. Sanšajn 1991. https://youtu.be/jRlHzQSMLzE
3. Mirsad’s treatise on the history of Serbian particularism is to be published late April in the Turkey-based philosophical hebdomadaire. Until then, my translation to SrbCro is on ice.
4. “Buden gost Filozofskog teatra.” Abeceda Nezavisne Kulture. May 29, 2017: http://www.seecult.org/vest/buden-gost-filozofskog-teatra
5. Van Norden, Bryan W. “Western philosophy is racist.” Aeon. https://aeon.co/essays/why-the-western-philosophical-canon-is-xenophobic-and-racist
6. Bowie, David. “Five Years”: https://youtu.be/yYwpnG-rkHI
7. Tears for Fears. “Shout”: https://youtu.be/aI9lo5BRJmg
8. Jorgačević, Jelena. “Direktan presnos silovanja.” Vreme: http://www.vreme.com/cms/view.php?id=1480713
9. Roy, Siddhartha. “Science is broken.” Aeon. March 9, 2017: https://aeon.co/essays/science-is-a-public-good-in-peril-heres-how-to-fix-it
10. “Na zahtev opoziciji da izađe sa svojim predlozima pred građane, opozicioni političari bi mogli da odgovore jednostavnim pitanjem – a gde da izađemo? Na stranu što nema garancija da njihove ideje neće biti pokradene.” https://pescanik.net/u-susret-parlamentarnim-izborima/
11. Among Serb public personae, seeking consultation on mental vitality equals social suicide because mental medical records are easily accessible for sensationalist media outlets, and through them, gladly exploited as object of ridicule that is proven to sell well. “Insajder: Neko iz MUP dao medijima medicinski karton Kornica” Insajder. December 8, 2017: http://rs.n1info.com/a347867/Vesti/Vesti/Insajder-Neko-iz-MUP-dao-medijima-medicinski-karton-Kornica.html
12. “Šta je REKOM” Peŝčanik. October 28, 2008: https://pescanik.net/sta-je-rekom/
13. Vrela krv: https://youtu.be/jki8Hsw4GS4, around timecode 14:14
14. “Bez Gaćica: Ovako Soraja tverkuje u minijaturnoj haljini ispod koje nema ništa!” Kurir. January 28, 2018: https://www.kurir.rs/stars/2984333/video-bez-gacica-ovako-soraja-tverkuje-u-minijaturnoj-haljini-ispod-koje-nema-nista
15. Sing4All 2: https://youtu.be/7h7gTHSX5
16. Atanackovic, Dejan. http://www.dejanatanackovic.com/Site/Home.html
17. Cook, John. “Muammar Gaddafi’s Body Is in a Meat Locker Right Now.” Gawker. October 21, 2011: http://gawker.com/5852183/muammar-gaddafis-body-is-in-a-meat-locker-right-now
18. A typical one comes from a political science researcher: “One of the possibilities is actually promoting a team of new people with unstained CVs, among whom the frontman would take position of the first among equals.“ (“Jedna od mogućnosti je upravo promovisanje tima novih ljudi neukaljanih biografija, među kojima bi frontmen bio prvi među jednakima.”) “Javni prostor zasićen Vučićem.” Danas: https://www.danas.rs/dijalog/licni-stavovi/javni-prostor-zasicen-vucicem/
Photo 1: Kamena Gora, Serbia – In the fields – Ollirg
Photo 2: Novi Sad – Serbia – gringox
Photo 3: Belgrade, Serbia – Celebration – BalkansCat
Photo 4: Belgrade, Serbia – On the bench – BalkansCat
Photo 5: Belgrade, Serbia – Retired – Bora
Photo 6: Belgrade, Serbia – Zombie walk – td.joric
Photo 7: Zrenjanin, Vojvodina, Serbia – Through the fence – Roman Photography
Photo 8: Borca, Serbia – Shepherdess – BalkansCat
Real: Postcard emblems in The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed and The Anthology of Global Instability Transposed on display at 1080
Social: Cinemblem (cine emblem) at www.facebook.com/Perypatetik
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed
Castañeda, Martha Corzo. Worried Workers – Peru. February 2018.
Cooleridge, Tweeney. Uncertainty in the Abstract – Slovakia. March 2018.
Cordido, Veronica. The Crib of Uncertainty – Venezuela. January 2018.
Dastan, S.A. Uncertain Waters – Turkey. March 2019.
Electra P. Aβεβαιότητα: The Enemy of Romantic Relationships – Greece. February 2018
Escandell, Andrea da Silva. Compromise – Uruguay. March 2018
Goumiri, Abdennour. Uncertainty Is All There Is – France. February 2018.
Guerrero, Marilin. Crossing the Uncertain Path of Life – Cuba. February 2018.
Konbaz, Rahaf. So You Say You Want A Revolution – Syria. March 2018.
Lozano, Gabriela. El cuchillo de la incertidumbre : Piercing Uncertainty – México. January 2018.
Romano, Mavi. An Uncertain Democracy – Spain. April 2018
Ranaldo, Mary. Incerto or Flexible: Italia and UK. March 2018.
Samir, Ahmed. Uncertainty in Personal Life. January 2018.
Quintero, Jonay. The Fear of Not Knowing – España. January 2018.
Translators and writers from Romania, Russia, Paraguay, Argentina, Indonesia, Macedonia, Germany, Spain, America, Britain, and more…