Yugoslavia: other modernities, other histories
ABSTRACT The Non-Aligned Movement was a transnational political project, a coalition of small and middle-sized states, mostly former colonies and developing countries, from the global south or the Third World. It was formed in 1961 in Yugoslavia at the Belgrade summit. The NAM represented the first major disruption in the Cold World map, a quest for alternative political alliances, for “alternative mundialization.” Culture was accorded particular importance in the NAM, despite the fact that it never took center-stage at summits and conferences. However, NAM’s cultural politics strongly condemned cultural imperialism and epistemic colonialism. Western (European) cultural heritage was to be understood in terms of “juxtaposition”; this heritage would be interwoven with and into the living culture of the colonized, and would not simply be repeated under new (political) circumstances. Consequently art and culture in the NAM were largely about politics and history, or to put it differently, they were a way of staking a claim to history. It seems the movement was somehow aware of the fact that this was the only way it could enter the world’s (cultural) space on an equal footing. There existed a heterogeneous artistic production, a variety of cultural politics and extensive cultural networks which enriched the cultural landscape of the NAM and enabled discussions about the meaning of art outside the Western canon.
KEYWORDS: Yugoslavia; Non-Aligned Movement; Third World; colonialism; cultural production; cultural networks
Notes on contributor
Bojana Piškur, born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, then Yugoslavia. She received her Ph.D. at the Institute for Art History at the Charles University in Prague, the Czech Republic. She works as a senior curator in the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana. Her focus of professional interest is on political issues as they relate to or are manifested in the field of art, with special emphasis on the region of Yugoslavia. She has written for numerous publications and lectured in many parts of the world on the topics such as post avant-gardes in Yugoslavia, cultural politics in self-management and the Non-Aligned Movement, always in relation to the wider social and political environment.