These posters/diagrams/images and texts by Marina Gržinić and Aina Šmid are works that emphasize topics as colonialism, class, racialization, anti-heteronormativity, violent structure of power and subjugation, ghettoization. The visuals are not used as propagandist tools but try to capture the crudeness of social structures and power. The art works’ intonation is placed on the viewers’ role in creating the space of meaning, inviting them to explore the spaces between representation and reality and to become producers of meaning rather than consumers of culture. The references in the works are used almost semi-clandestinely. This methodology refers directly to the aesthetic and political cinematic features of what is known Third Cinema in the 1970s in Latin America.
Marina Gržinić and Aina Šmid started to work with video and media art in relation to history and the present in Ljubljana, Slovenia or better former Yugoslavia in 1982. At that point the work was connected with the alternative or subcultural spaces and productions within socialism in the former Yugoslavia. The subculture of the 1980s was a movement that sought to overtly politicize socialism but without rejecting it. Today, due to the hyper-neoliberal commercialization of art and culture, our attempts are to expose contradictions by asking: “what is political art vis-à-vis violent racializations, and erased counter-cultural histories?”
This also means that while reflecting political topics, art has to construct its own new conceptual genealogy, reflecting a different experimental history. This has become necessary today because of changes in production and critical art-historical vocabularies. We ask questions such as what it means to perform class struggle, or to expose processes of racialization or conditions of ultimate deprivation. Our interest is in visualizing and conceptualizing the social antagonism that cuts through our art and connects us to a wider social and political context. Finally, we want to document the poverty of life in relation to contemporary conditions of production.
Marina Gržinić is a philosopher, critic, curator and video artist. She is currently a research advisor at the Institute of Philosophy at the Scientific and Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Art in Ljubljana and a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Aina Šmid is art historian and free-lance journalist.