Under the slogan “Sustainable utopia” Mikser festival took place in Savamala quarter from the 5th until the 8th of June. This year’s festival presented Mikser talks (Conference), art exhibitions, gastronomy, art performances, fashion, Mikser bazaar, artist talks, workshops, design stores, cinema and music program with  humanitarian  character, entire profit from the tickets is directed to the victims of floods around Serbia.  

mural mikser

        New mural titled Imitation of life appeared  in Savamala, photo credits@Mikser

Mikser is a free of charge festival that takes place annually in Belgrade. On of the goals of this multifunctional event is revival of  once neglected Savamala area, now known as the “Creative district” of Belgrade. Main program was focused on  Mikser talks that happened in Mikser house, there you could catch lectures focused on the topics as urban spaces and architecture as Smarter cities Vol.1 (Common Ground Kosovo-Mapping of abounded urban spaces by Italian guests Isabella Inti,Fillipo Romano & Giulia Cantaluppi, Urban Cooks Platform Belgrade: Public space creation by Ivan Kucina Serbian architect, City visions Belong to everyone by Manul Polanco and Alberto Nanclares, Basurama from Spain and similar), second day lectures were oriented towards creative industries and their impact on tourism, Creating cultural and creative capital (The impact of creative industries on tourism development by Idea Works Design & Strategy from India and two panel discussions by Exit fest organisation, Aja Jung from Belgrade Dance Festival, Belgrade Tourist Organisation, Cinama city festival, Nisville Jazz festival etc) and the final day was reserved for Smarter cities Vol. 2 (Community design-how to revival abounded spaces  by Rochester Institute of Technology from USA, The Interior, the artist, his advocate and the urbanist by Giullia Maci from Italy and other….)

Mikser offered Ghost project in Crnogorska street that featured selected works from international design contest, many workshops in Štab gallery, Contemporary Balkan Cuisine workshops in hotel Bristol, Urban incubator project in Španska kuca, Artist talks in Gallery 12 Media Hub and Street baazar Travnička street where visitors could by  jewelry, handbags, soaps, clothes from locals designers and manufactures and more….

For me personally best segments of this year’s Mikser were creation of murals in public spaces, graffiti jam, performances of artists Elena Katz and Shelbatra Jashari and the awesome project Bodies in urban spaces invented by choreograph Willi Dorner.  Bodies in urban spaces is a temporarily intervention in diversified urban architectonical environment. The intention of Bodies in urban spaces is to point out the urban functional structure and to uncover the restricted movement possibilities and behavior as well as rules and limitations. By placing the bodies in selected spots the interventions provoke a thinking process and produce irritation. Passers by, residents and audience are motivated and prompted to reflect their urban surrounding and their own movement behavior and habits. Bodies in urban spaces invites the residents to walk their own city thus establishing a stronger relationship to their neighborhood, district and town. The interventions are temporarily without leaving any traces behind, but imprints in the eye-witnesses` memory.

bodies in urban spaces

                 Bodies in urban spaces, photo credits@Mikser

Shelbatra Jashari performed the “Act of writing” where viewers had a chance to intervene and write  a message on her legs. I must say that people weren’t shy. Not to forget, Berlin-based artists from America, Elena Katz performed Blue Holing in G12 New Media Hub gallery with duration of almost 2 hours, 3 times in 3 days.

cin pisanja                                               Act of writing, photo credits@Mikser                        

Blue Holding contemplates the classical, in its objects, gestures, and its repetitive and predictable 3-performance structure. It fundamentally re-arranges, yet simultaneously subscribes to the classical, thus provoking a questioning of classic aesthetics, objects, and actions. Through a process that renders a (classical) musical instrument forever obsolete, the dress and body of the artist become a blank canvas for the receipt of fluid. The violin here references the lifeless and, in its passivity, the artist’s body both contrasts and aligns.

The traces of the performance to be exhibited aim to foster a consciousness of the presence of absence for the public, calling into question the strength of performance art in the absence of the performer. The topic of absence is currently a focus in Katz’s work, particularly given the extensive project Spaced Memory which she has been pursuing in the Balkans since 2011. This parallel work concerns itself with the disappearance of Jewish populations in Eastern Europe, and examines post-memory at sites of historical erasure. References to pain, corporeal and more, in Blue Holding, can be seen, in part, as a reflection of the anguish related to this history, and present day circumstances, in the work’s immediate surroundings.

elena katz                                         Elena Katz performing Blue Holding in G12 Hub

Music program was also fine, mostly focused on local music scene. In the space of Mikser house and Depo magacin visitors had a chance to listen to most popular local bands as Plejboj, Kanda Kodza i Nebojša, Obojeni program, Jarboli and djs as MKDSL, Marko Nastic, Flip, etc….

In a few words Mikser had nice and positive atmosphere, educational, inspirational and arty character and most of all this edition was actually fun!