VKS (Vokalno-kustoski sindrom)

A collective from Serbia that was part of the Pickle Bar programme in Novi Sad

FINISSAGE 26.02.2022

There is no such thing as a free lunch by VKS (Vokalno-kustoski sindrom)
Curated by Teodora Jeremić

VKS (Vokalno-kustoski sindrom) is a post-curatorial formation comprising Senka Latinović and Vladimir Bjeličić. With its strategy focusing on active criticism, VKS strives to rethink curatorial practice by viewing it through a lens of class and gender while accounting for ethical and aesthetic principles within both a local and a global context. Deploying the performative methods of appropriation, manipulation and humour, the duo works to present different forms of social behaviour that are in a constant state of flux, expressing the absurdity of everyday life.

Their performance There is no such thing as a free lunch was shown as part of the Pickle Bar installation created by the artists’ collective Slavs and Tatars within the framework of the EVROVIZION project in Novi Sad. In a manner all their own, VKS employed a performative culinary tutorial that drew on the fermentation process to highlight the repetitiveness, banality, and humorously bizarre character of bureaucracy and everyday life in regions that are themselves in a state of permanent transformation. VKS issued the following invitation to its audience: “We will integrate your wishes, implement your thought processes, open up new clusters, and draw out the most important aspects from your subconscious. We will juxtapose the principles of acidification and pH-neutralisation so that we can arrive at the best solution for our purposes. Where do you feel better: in a pickle jar or in a white cabbage salad? Let us find out together!”

In addition to the Pickle Bar, the EVROVIZION project is also implementing Slavs and Tatars’ Residency-Mentorship Programme. Both of the artists’ collective’s initiatives offer a communication platform for the broader public that goes beyond the institutional framework of contemporary art. The Residency-Mentorship Programme studios and the Pickle Bar were created in Berlin's multicultural Moabit district, and they reflect both the diversity and the heterogeneity of this district. The integration of Pickle Bar into the EVROVIZION project creates a space for local dialogue at every venue of this travelling exhibition. Before each exhibition opens, young local artists in each country visited by the exhibition will be chosen to participate in the Residency-Mentorship Programme in Berlin. They will then have two months in which to pursue projects that will be presented as part of EVROVIZION. In Serbia, Slavs and Tatars joined with ifa to select Teodora Jeremić, a young curator and art historian from Belgrade.

During her two-month stay in Berlin from November to December 2021, Teodora Jeremić curated the performance LESSONS FROM THE YEAST: LEARNING FROM BREAD. She also served as the co-curator of the performative event There is no such thing as a free lunch in Novi Sad. Although Jeremić addresses a variety of topics that she considers to be important at any given time, her curatorial work is generally focused on an exploration of the interstices between decolonial practice, feminist resistance and ecological ideas. She is interested in power relations along the axes of gender, ethnic origin and geography. After all, she too comes from a border region, from ‘the other’ Europe where Balkan myths are found side by side with post-Yugoslavian trauma and nostalgia, as well as dreams of the EU.