SKC in ŠKUC:
The Case of Students' Cultural Centre in the 1970s
SKC in ŠKUC: The Case of SKC in the 1970s — the exhibition of research materials: documents, images, texts, films, testimonies, researchers' notes. This exhibition, in a form of “a notebook in the space”, offers an insight into the present stage of one part of the ongoing collective research project — Political Practices of (Post-)Yugoslav Art, initiated by WHW (Zagreb), kuda.org (Novi Sad), SCCA/pro.ba (Sarajevo) and Prelom kolektiv (Belgrade), in 2006. The project traces, problematizes and articulates the interrelationships of visual arts, intellectual production and socio-political practices in the ex-Yugoslav space. It tries to give back the political voice to the art which has been taken from it, both actively (through the domination of “cultural industries” approach) and retroactively (through the way it is historicized).
The “case” of Students’ Cultural Centre (SKC) in Belgrade reveals important traits of a general constellation of the art and politics in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It is the characteristic of strategies after 1968. to contain, pacify and institutionalise student or youth culture as an “organized alternative”. Like many other students’ cultural centres throughout SFRY, the SKC was an official state-constituted cultural institution offering young artists and cultural workers “roof over their heads”. At the same time, it was a place of avant-garde experimentation – the introduction of new technologies, new expressions, new forms of political activism and self-organization.
In the present cultural-political situation, the SKC is being both fetishized and marginalized. On the one hand, it is seen as a space of unlimited freedom and individual creative expression in the midst of oppressive, totalitarian state. This romantic and nostalgic view is usually followed by reactionary fascination with the formalist re-turn of language and symbolism of the (neo-)avant-garde, characteristic of our post-socialist condition. On the other hand, inside the new conservative trend of re-constitution of national cultures, its historical contributions remain excluded from the contemporary system of evaluation. The symptomatic non-existence of the experience of the SKC’s artist, activist and organizational practices shows the erasure of potentially still viable strategies for contemporary regional cultural institutions. The research of The Case of Students' Cultural Centre in the 1970s aims to extricate the concrete relationships and transactions between artists and the institution in order to reveal the political genealogy of contemporary art practices.
Our goal, therefore, is not to “discover” and historicize what is nowadays seen as the underground art practices of some “brave” individuals in the face of a totalitarian system. It is rather a call for re-examination, that could point to the possibilities of reviving progressive and critical experiences, existed on the cultural, artistic and intellectual scene in former Yugoslavia from the contemporary standpoint of post-Yugoslav situation in artistic and cultural production within the neo-liberal constellation.
SKC in ŠKUC
The Case of Student's Cultural Centre in the 1970s
Curators: Prelom Kolektiv
Collaborators: Vladimir Jerić Vlidi and Una Popović
Organization: Prelom Kolektiv and Škuc Gallery
Curators would like to thank to: Documentation Deparment of Museum of Contemporary Art - Belgrade, Center for Archiving and Documentation of SKC, Dunja Blazević, Miško Šuvaković, Ješa Denegri, Biljana Tomić, Goran Djordjević, Dragica Vukadinović, Branislav Dimitrijević, Milos Gojković and all the others who supported or participated in the realization of the project.
Publishers: Prelom Kolektiv and Škuc Gallery
Editors: Prelom Kolektiv
Translation and Proofreading: Jelena Vesić, Novica Petković, Dušan Grlja and Dragana Kitanović
Design: Vojislav Ilić
The project is suppotred by: European Cultural Foundation [Balkan Incentive Fund], Ministry of Culture of Republic of Serbia and Secretariat for Culture of City of Belgrade.