Tatjana Magcic | Amsterdam, NetherlandsJun 13, 2022
Hi, my name is Tatjana Macic (Ma-tci-tj).
I am an artist and writer from former Yugoslavia, now Serbia, living and working in Amsterdam.
Essentially, I am from a country that does not exist anymore. My grandparents became communists to fight against Fascism during the Second World War. This legacy challenges me profoundly to take an active role in society and be critical of dominant narratives. I do this by observing and posing questions.
Found unbaked ceramic jugs, alien poetry, videotapes from over-the-top Balkan weddings – they all find their place in my projects. These include spatial installations, artistic archives, films, digital art, poetry, ephemeral speculations and performances.
The Intergalactic Pollinators was recently shown in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. It responds to the museum’s policy for collecting and presenting art, in relation to growing cultural diversity in Dutch society. For this work, I immersed myself in the museum’s history, feminism and theories of the rhizome and the society of the spectacle, which exposed me to folklore, absurdism and botany.
When twelve aliens wake up from time travel in the museum, they communicate to us through performance. They interpret the collection of the museum as a garden and an ‘ecosystem’ of art and traditions. Smiling and gently embracing you, they take you on a journey: to escalators, entrance halls, staircases and exhibition spaces. They whisper intergalactic art manifestos in your ears. In these short manifestos I address topics and issues connected to the museum collection. They vary from aesthetic and ecological themes to urgent social issues relating to class and labour – for example, how museum policy affects refugees and minorities living in Amsterdam.
The work was performed by twelve of my students from the Royal Academy of Art, where I teach artistic research. For the next version of this performance I am preparing a publication, and making costumes and drawings.
I am also working on a project under the working title The Lely Community in the the Lely, a historic building and a former school in Amsterdam, where my studio is situated.
The main topic of this project is collectivity and community in precarious social and economic conditions. What constitutes a community and how do we in the western world – which is very much geared towards individuality – relate to communities?
The work includes performance, sound, objects and spoken word. It takes place on the monumental staircase which connects the four floors of the building. On each floor, I focus on a particular part of the history of the building: its life as a school, a refugee centre and an art community. I am interested in how we keep histories and communities relevant. For example, the history of refugees in the building is now completely rendered invisible and the art community is somewhat dysfunctional.
On the last floor, everything comes together and culminates in an immersive performance, whilst the visitor can look outside through the glass walls and the view stretches for miles into the city.