Odliv Scene - The Drain of the Scene

A project by Ksenija Cockova, Ida Farkas, and Hannah Marquardt

Host organization: Per.Art

This project, developed with Saša Asentić and Per.Art, and carried out in cooperation with Lokomotiva Skopje, the Goethe-Institut Belgrade, and the liaison office in Skopje, investigated the impact of mobility and “brain drain” on the Serbian and Macedonian independent performing arts scenes.

Mobility as an imperative? Cross-border mobility is understood as a condition for contemporary artistic practice. This fashionable idea conceals various forms of and conditions for movement - which is influenced by disparate local and international cultural policies, infrastructures, and power structures of the global market.

Mobility can be enforced or be desired, can built bridges or break them down - the idealized form of free movement in the European cultural space is only a conditional reality for actors in the Western Balkans. The exodus of the Serbian independent performing arts scene was the starting point for this regional project between Novi Sad and Skopje. Serbian actors from the performing arts scene feel compelled to leave Serbia because of unreasonable local conditions for production, and their work is created, shown, and recognized almost exclusively in Western Europe. This causes the former scene to collapse. Actors from the Macedonian scene acclimate to this nomadic existence and in recent years they have built a small, stable local infrastructure. At two international symposia in Novi Sad and Skopje, actors presented their work and discussed conditions for production, local cultural policy, the globalized market, and power hierarchies.

The symposia offered a starting point for a critical debate on the issue and its goal was to stimulate cooperation between artists working in Serbia or Macedonia and expatriate artists and to promote constant exchange and long-term, stable channels of mobility: creating a two-way street.

Some artists of the group were presenting their work in Serbia for the first time, and they discussed solutions and approaches with experts, critics, journalists, students, activists, cultural managers, and representatives of cultural institutions and NGOs.

With support from: Lokomotiva Skopje, Goethe-Institut Belgrad, Goethe-Institut liaison office Skopje, Robert Bosch Stiftung