Counter-Monument: Artivism Against Official Memory Practices

  • Milena Dragićević Šešić University of Arts, Belgrade


This paper will explore ways of dissent regarding policies of memorialization of Yugoslavia, its common past and recent wars. It will show the difficulties for the development of official memory policies that are not resulting in coherent practices of remembrance in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These questions are not debated in public and an explicit memory policy does not exist anywhere in the Balkans due to changing ideologies during transition and numerous old and new taboos around the negative past. There is no social consensus on any of the crucial issues of remembrance (while temporary social consensus during the war years was based only on fear and hatred toward the other). The key theme of this paper is linked to counter-monuments and anti-monuments as bottom-up expressions of the feelings of dissent toward official (implicit and explicit) memory and monument policies. Social oppositional counter movements have often inspired different attempts by artists and civil society (that often go together) to react and offer their visions and options of memory and commemorative politics, particularly regarding taboos and the negative past.. Exploring the work of Jochen Gerz in Europe, its impact in the region as well as regional counter-monument projects and initiatives, this paper will try to respond to the following question: have alternative socio-cultural movements produced a platform for genuine counter-monument practices?

Author Biography

Milena Dragićević Šešić, University of Arts, Belgrade

Milena Dragićević Šešić was rector of the Belgrade University of Arts and is professor for Cultural Management, Cultural Studies and Media Studies at the School of Drama Arts at the Belgrade University of Arts. She graduated and made a D.E.A. in Socio-Culture in 1977 at the University of Paris VIII Vincennes. She received her M.A. at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts and her Ph.D. at the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Belgrade. Alongside her academic career she was director of the Institute for Theatre, Film, Radio and Television of the School of Drama Arts and President of the Belgrade Summer Festival Board. She is head of UNESCO Chair in Interculturalism, Art Management and Mediation. Milena Dragićević Šešić has been board member of the Soros Foundation Yugoslavia, the European Network of Cultural Administration Training Centers, the Yugoslav Drama Theater and the Institute for Cultural Development. She is and has been a member of several national and international institutions and organisations such as: the Yugoslav Sociological Association, Association Internationale des sociologues de langue francaise, the International Association for Cultural Economics, the Yugoslav Association for Performing Arts and the Yustat (board vice-president). She is the editor, author and publisher of several publications, books and articles on Sociology, Socio-Culture, Cultural Studies, Cultural Management and Drama Arts Studies.


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How to Cite
DRAGIĆEVIĆ ŠEŠIĆ, Milena. Counter-Monument: Artivism Against Official Memory Practices. Култура/Culture, [S.l.], v. 6, n. 13, p. 7-19, nov. 2016. ISSN 1857-7725. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 15 june 2021.
English Articles