Media: Video installation
Duration: 10' 45''
Five people are filmed standing on a stage while making the Christian-Orthodox sign of the cross, repetitively, following the techno music beat. What is in fact striking in Nikolic’s powerful video work Rhythm from 2001 is that it brings its viewers back to one of the first ideological formulas, which was written in the 18th Century by Blaise Pascal: “Kneel down, move your lips in prayer, and you will believe”. Ideology is in material practices, it resides in bodies and their rituals, and Nikolic renders these rituals redundant.
/ From the New Moment Magazin No.20, special edition – East Art Map - A (Re)Construction of the History of Art in Eastern Europe /
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Title: Death Anniversary
Did you ever talk, but no one was listening? Felt like you were talking to a deaf person? In basic terms – Death Anniversary is a performance in which one is trying to communicate with a person who cannot hear him. I had that experience almost every time I was showing my work internationally.
'Death Anniversary' is a way of showing what it looks like to be an artist with geopolitical burden. This is the situation in which you cannot walk on the international art scene as a free man/artist – because you are always wearing this heavy load of your origin. This should be quite inappropriate and illogical for the international art scene – but unfortunately this is something a certain kind of artists cannot avoid. I guess we could say that it is not given to us to be seen as artists, but rather as cultural phenomena from a certain part of the world – an exotic and peripheral part at that...
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Title: The First Murder
Media: Double channel video installation
*For preview purpose two channels are joint together in one.*
The idea of the first murder in Christian religion is the story of Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve, wherein Cain forcibly took the life of his brother.
Whether this really happened depends on what one believes in. In a media society, as they say, that which has not been recorded by a camera has never occurred. That is to say, for an event to have the status of a real one, we require an image of it.
If we cross these two ideas, we arrive at the question: what is the first murder, the first real murder recorded by camera – that is, which particular murder has the status of “ur-murder” in our media society? This question has an archaeological status in the context of mass media, for images of violent deaths are distributed and consumed in the form of product in contemporary societies.
The murder of King Aleksandar I Karađorđević on October 9th 1934 in Marseille was recorded by a camera and, thus, represents the first real “media” murder. There does exist older film footage showing the moment of someone’s death, usually mass scenes from the battlefields of World War One. The footage recorded in Marseille records the death of a person whose identity is known, and it happened in front of the eyes of media, which is why it has a historical significance in the domain of “newsreels”. This recording, which is part of the famous collection of the Yugoslav Film Museum, was shown throughout the world at the time it was made. Its American version, produced by Universal Newsreels, was shown along with the comment: “You are about to see the most amasing pictures ever made!”
The work The First Murder is actually a reconstruction of “the most amasing pictures ever made” until 1934. It does not deal with the actual event, very significant for the history of Europe before World War Two, but only with the images of that event.
The manner in which the reconstruction of this film was carried out contains elements of the work of forensic experts. The only way of producing identical footage was to establish the exact spots in the street where the cameraman stood, recording the event with a hand-held camera on October 9th 1934. This would not have been possible had the place where the assassination occurred not remained almost the same as it was back in 1934. The original film was decomposed into individual frames, from which the first and the last one were taken out. Then the content of these images was compared to the satellite photograph of the assassination site. Whatever is contained within the frame of a particular shot was marked on a map, and the position of the cameraman at the given moment was determined by drawing vectors. After a complete map of all the camera positions was produced, it was possible to repeat those shots from the same positions today.
Of course, there is no murder in the reconstructed images, for the content of those images was not a priority, partly because the original film, owing to its importance, competes with the actual event that it shows, and partly because in the current media culture images often carry a greater value than the events they show.
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Duration: 11' 11''
Most of my doubts about contemporary art are stated in this work. At the end of it, the arguments of the opposed parties reaches the end, so the next work Painting comes as a logical conclusion.
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Duration: 10' 23''