Even if the prefix “geo-” appears today as too simplistic to comprehend the contemporary locus of politics, there is an urgent need to re-address the geographies of power in a period in which frontiers and territorial dispossession and exploitation intensify their violence. The crisis of hegemonic views of globalisation and the quick dissemination of new vocabularies of antagonism and resistance coming from local struggles provide a new scenario for geopolitics.


The seminar is going to address issues about the impact artists and the art system have on economic and political situations around the world, and vice versa. How to critically position oneself towards the subordination of the art system to the ideological, epistemological and capital positions of power, while at the same time emphasising that art and ideas about various cultural spaces are not distributed equally in different parts of the world.


Curated by Zdenka Badovinac (MG+MSUM, Ljubljana, Slovenia), Bojana Piškur (MG+MSUM, Ljubljana, Slovenia). 


Participating narrators: Boris Buden (CRO/DE), Mabel Tapia (AR/FR), Tzortzis Rallis (GR/UK), Manray Hsu (TW), Darij Zadnikar (SI), Galit Eilat (IL), Anthony Gardner (AU/UK), Anders Krueger and Bart De Baere (M HKA, BE), Nick Aickens (Van Abbemuseum, NL), Marianna Hovhannisyan (SALT Research, TR), Zdenka Badovinac and Bojana Piškur (MG+MSUM, SI), Chema Gonzáles (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, MNCARS, SP)



Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (+MSUM), Maistrova 3, Ljubljana, Slovenia

date 16 to 18 September 2015

panel discussion | The Geopolitics of Migration

title the geopolitics of migration
lecturer Boris Buden, Djordje Balmazović (Škart collective), Ela Meh, Tzortzis Rallis and Darij Zadnikar | moderated by Anej Korsika
venue Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (+MSUM), Maistrova 3, Ljubljana, Slovenia
date 17 September 2015, at 4 p.m.


The panel is organised as part of the third Glossary of Common Knowledge – Geopolitics seminar, to look at the refugee issue also from artistic, activist, and theoretical perspectives.


The participating theorists, artists and activist will present their views on the current refugee crisis in Europe primarily from the Balkan perspective. Their short presentations will be followed by a discussion.


Over the last two years, Europe has faced a growing wave of refugees coming mainly from regions of armed conflict or war: in the first place Syria, then Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kurdistan and parts of Africa. 220,000 migrants came to Europe last year, this year the number has risen to 250,000. There are several routes: the African, Mediterranean, and the Balkan. None of them are easy: 3000 people died trying to cross the Mediterranean. Over the last year, there has been a marked increase in the number of people opting for the Balkan route: Syria-Turkey-Greece-Macedonia-Serbia-Hungary, and from there onward to Germany or Sweden or Austria. At least 2000 asylum seekers thus enter Serbia every day. EU countries are ill prepared for such great numbers of asylum seekers and, with rare exceptions, have no pertinent policies in place. All countries are reluctant to accept asylum seekers to the point that they are openly driven away (Hungary), some countries are building fences against them (Hungary, Bulgaria and Great Britain and France), while some countries (Serbia) nonetheless try to give them, at least, minimum protection and care for the time the asylum seekers spend on their territory. The mass media play an important role in this: some portray asylum seekers as victims, some as potential terrorists, some with racial prejudice; few among them are capable of presenting a broader view of the situation. Oftentimes it is only art and theory which are capable of rising above a simplified humanist approach and point out the complex relations between local spaces and global forces. A further question is how such humanitarian crises, which the media depict as having epic dimensions, impact our language, culture, and thought.


The panel will present concrete experiences with, and reflections on, the issue of migrations (in Slovenia, Serbia, Greece and Great Britain). What do the generic descriptions of refugee, migrant, asylum seeker mean and who are the people standing behind them, what is their potential to change our collective consciousness and the current geopolitics. And, what can we do, how can we connect the existing initiatives, and what are the possibilities of building a common solidarity network. 

public lecture | Boris Buden | The West: A Failed Translation


The West: A Failed Translation



Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (+MSUM), Maistrova 3, Ljubljana, Slovenia


16 September 2015 at 6 p.m.


The so-called post-history has never been understood as a time of total idleness and immobility in which all the movements have come to a standstill. It also implied a one-way historical move of the so-called western values to the non-western world. The war in Ukraine and today’s refugee crisis are only the last proofs that the post-historical translation of the West into “the rest” has finally failed. What went wrong?