IMAGINE, Maja Hodošček

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February 4-10 ,2020

Belgrade Youth Center Gallery, Belgrade, Serbia

Maja Hodošćek, Training.

Curator: Mirjana Dragosavljević

A large number of media and marketing messages reach our eyes and minds daily, persuading us that our fate is in our hands, that there is no alternative to the existing system and state of affairs and that everything is in our heads. Instead of dealing with the structural and systemic causes of stress and mental illness, an entire industry has been formed that tells us that success and happiness are a state of mind and that the key to achieving them lies within ourselves. Mystification and spectacularization of love, as well as misuse of different ranges of emotions, occupy a special place in the happiness industry, as evidenced by numerous blockbusters, music hits and even short suggestive messages printed on the mass-produced wardrobe of the world’s leading brands.

The widely adopted do-what-you-love mantra, especially characteristic of creative and intellectual work, on the one hand brushes away repetitive tasks that are done out of need and dehumanizes workers who do this type of work (which is a large majority of the world’s population). On the other, it conceals the exploitation and the equally precarious position that stands behind the doing-what-you-love principle for those who are in a situation to swallow the bait. The pressure to find and keep a job is increasing, the list of tasks to be carried out by one person for as little pay as possible gets longer by the day, and along with the increase in competitiveness grows stronger the demand to focus on ourselves, our skills, abilities, capacities, and play roles assigned to us in the job market. The same goes for love.

In Maja Hodošček’s exhibition, the IMAGINE concept has a double function: on the one hand, it represents a demand to be as creative and innovative as possible in order to offer as much as we can to the labor market, while on the other, it is an invitation to imagine a different system, to oppose the generally accepted non-alternative and to form an affirmative view into the future. Good enough and See me ask what happens when emotions and affect are used as a substance of work. Both videos present a constructed situation in which the camera is placed in front of the actors without any instructions, indicating a constant presence of the camera to which we are exposed daily on the street, at work, in the corridors and lifts of residential buildings, companies, public institutions, public transport, mobile phones, computers, Google Earth, etc. What happens to emotions under constant control and surveillance, what is suppressed, and what comes out?

Videos Community and Training were created as a result of Maja Hodošček’s many years of pedagogical work with high school students in Celje. In the Community, young people try to find a way to build what has been destroyed in the society by creating diagrams in the school library, beyond their compulsory teaching.  In the video Training audio recordings of a training for professors, in which the dominant narrative is that everything depends on the individual, overlaps with video of students  attending physical education class, who follow the instructions of the coach tiredly and disinterestedly, refusing to accommodate to such imposed rhythm.

Can we imagine a situation in which the imposed perfectionism and the market and social demand to be the best gets replaced with more free time, more contemplation, for simply being good enough without bearing the existential consequences?

The exhibition is organized by Belgrade Youth Center Gallery, Belgrade, Serbia.

Co-production: BRINA.

Program editor: Jelena Pavićević

Gallery Council: Katarina Kostandinović, Ivana Ivković, Jelena Mijić

Translation: Iskra Krstić