Regime Change » Katarina ŠEVIĆ, visual artist, 1979
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Katarina ŠEVIĆ, visual artist, 1979

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What role did the regime change play in your professional career?

As I was only 10 years old in 1989-90, my career as an artist could only be influenced by the period that followed the regime change. I was born and raised in Yugoslavia. In the ’90s a new state was established and we became Serbian citizens.
I have been living in Budapest since 2000. I have only really encountered the concept of regime change since living in Hungary. In Serbia, we referred to this “moment in time” differently – it was the beginning of a longer process that entailed the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the beginning of the civil war, the Milosević dictatorship, etc.

The socialist system took a different shape in Yugoslavia than was the case in Hungary. Its collapse brought with it another historical phenomenon (the war of nations).

In the Serbian context, there was another event that can be thought of as regime change (be we can also refer to it as a coup or revolution). On 5 October 2000, during a massive protest, the people accepted the parliament. Milosević was forced to accept that he had lost the elections, in which cheated, and the Democratic Party took control. (video recording of the protest)

Something else happened in 2003 that could be viewed as a change in regime. On 13 March 2003, Prime Minister Zoran Djindjić (2001-2003) was assassinated, which the country experienced as an irreversible political and moral tragedy. The system didn’t change, but the progressive development represented by Djindjić came to a halt. These events all affected me, my private life, my work, and my career as an artist.


What cornerstone events or publications in art / politics / public life / the professional sphere do you remember, and which of these influenced you, directly or indirectly? Through what channels and from what sources have you received your knowledge about this period?

As it evidently follows from the above, this is a rather complex question for me. If we are talking about 1989-90, as a child, I followed the changes mainly on the visual level (the appearance of new, national symbols, etc.). From then on, also taking into account my experiences in Hungary, I can only recall a cacophony, with occasional consonance.

I have acquired – and continue to acquire – information and understanding about these “changes in regime” in my life from various media: the works of Croatian writer Dubravka Ugrešić (I was especially moved by her essays and novels towards the late ‘90s), loud readings of the daily papers at family lunches, and, later, exhibitions and works of art.

 

Has your picture of the regime change and its ideas been altered – if yes, in what way, and as a result of what – in the past 10 / 5 / 1 year(s)?

No, it hasn’t. It is difficult for me to answer this question more elaborately. In Serbia, it was only in 2000 that the change in regime brought with it a kind of optimism, but not to the extent that it was experienced here, in Hungary. In any case, it is obvious that if a massive change is accompanied by positive energy and optimism, mostly because it is “in the air,” the impetus is short lived. Real change takes a lot more energy, work, dialogue, and shared intentions.


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