by Marina Gržinić
I will discuss a series of performance activities by women artists in the territory of ex-Yugoslavia, more precisely in Slovenia from the 1980s to the present. My aim is also to articulate the broader implication of feminism and postfeminist theories, staged sexuality and masquerade tactics of perversion and violence in relation to video, rock’n’roll and punk music and their performative politics. It is a question of history as well, or better to say, of genealogies of women’s activities in worlds outside the capitalist First World, and the way in which these genealogies are included in the big story about female consequences for radical art and theory. This history is not reconsidered seriously in Ljubljana, Slovenia, either; it is only from time to time retold within the insiders’ circles of the underground movement of the 1980s in former Yugoslavia.
I would like to propose a thesis that the feminist experience in the 1970s laid the foundations for the avant-garde production in art and culture in Belgrade and Zagreb in a manner similar to the way Lacanian psychoanalytic discourse rearticulated the theoretical and art framework of the late 1970s and 1980s in Slovenia. As opposed to the strong feminist movement in the West – which in the 1970s in the entire East European territory came really powerfully politically to life only in Belgrade and Zagreb – Slovenia had to wait for its feminist – better to say queer, drag and king – coming out until the 1980s, in a time of strong subcultural and rock’n’roll movements in Ljubljana, and in a time when the gay population publicly declared its homosexuality. This coming out was marked primarily by gay men, who were very active presenting their art and cultural work within the Studentski kulturni center or SKUC (Student Culture Center) in Ljubljana. A process of a public coming out for women’s rights and lesbianism took place slightly later.