Our Democracy, video, 2' 40", 2013

In the 90's, post-yugoslav societies witnessed the creation of a new type of platform for collective action: activist choirs. These choirs represent an inventive contemporary form of expressing protest against and disapproval with local political conditions. Searching for a way for expressing their opinion through songs, humor, poetry and various multimedia experiments, the choirs have created rich new forms of public performances. An important characteristic of these performances is the use of public space, which confronts (involuntary) audiences with opinionated messages and artistic acts - thus stirring up conventional ideas and formats of choir singing. These modified choir practices can be seen as a way of responding to the crises of contemporary post-yugoslav politics - collective public singing as a conscious, political act. (Svetlana Slapsak)   

The author started working with choirs in 2013, and has had previous practical experience as a performer in an activist choir in Skopje . “Our democracy...” is a video work produced in collaboration with the Belgrade-based choir PROBA. In his recent choir collaborations the artist is creating a stage where he could speak up about different political issues and social conditions by orchestrating different artistic elements - lyrics, music, singing, choreography- into one artwork. “Our democracy...” reflects the position of the younger generation in the region and their position in society, e.g. their struggles with a corrupt political systems or their demands for civil society and human dignity. The lyrics in the song are describing the everyday life of this transitional generation, their expectations and disappointments, and their battle and hope for a better society. Choir singing is used as a way of commenting as a collective, representing the ability of a society of multiple voices to still aim towards a common goal.


Elena Veljanovska