Interview for “Art On Distance”, project by O3one Artspace

Natalija Simeonović

Link for interview in Serbian on O3one artspace : intervju

“Isolation can transform, we look at things and ourselves differently, so some changed habits or views can have a positive outcome.

1.What drives you?

At the moment radio Bukalanga  from Zimbabwe;)
But here’s a little more serious answer. A combination of change and continuity. So, on  one hand,the constant change, struggle, adaptation but also influence on change. On the other hand, I perceive continuity as a kind of care / cultivation – like when you patiently commit to something, even if it is just a plant in the garden and you look forward to its development.

2. What else do you do?

In addition to art, most of my time  is occupied with professorship. It may be more accurate to say that in addition to being a professor, I also do art. For two decades I have been working on the art education of future designers of various profiles in Belgrade Polytechnic.

3. What traits and skills should an artist possess,?

It is difficult to generalize, what is for someone an advantage for another can be  fatal to their development . Again, it is difficult not to mention the usual clichés, which is that the artist must possess talent, perseverance, imagination, critical consciousness, patience, etc. The artist should not forget why he/she started everything in the first place and  should have some luck also.


5. Critic? Who and what can influence your work? Placement of work..

These three questions somehow forge in many directions. I cannot say that criticism does not exist in our country, but it is too politicized. In terms of influence: books, other artists and their art, conversations with friends, colleagues. Placement of work – pretty much ” into your own devices”…well  like everybody else I suppose – through social networks, personal site, exhibitions, competitions, collaboration with curators and other.

6. Who is your superhero? Who are today’s superheroes?

My whole generation more and more resembles  a tragic-comic super hero.
But somehow I prefer role models to super heroes. Because when the moments of adrenaline and “movie plots” pass, role models i.e. people who represent guidelines and persistence in the long run will mean more for long-term action and for getting out of difficult situations and times ahead. One of my role models is Judith Butler.


7. What is isolation for you?

The inability to choose when imposed. But even then it does not necessarily have to be bad. Isolation can transform, we see things and ourselves differently, so some changed habits or views can have a positive outcome.


8. What good can come out of this situation?

On a personal level – selection of priorities. Globally, I don’t expect anything particularly good – on the contrary. However, I hope that people may start to change their way of life, especially those who have degrading, dehumanized jobs that hardly provide for them and their families . I hope they start to return to the country, and start working more for themselves and not for others. This could result in some micro-changes and associations at the local level, and from the local level, there should be pressure on changes of the law that would stimulate such choices, not oppose them. On the other hand, urban online businesses should be allowed to develop individual online businesses (this includes the creative industry) and not impose taxes and levies that stifle them. Many young people will additionally leave the country because of such measures introduced some time ago. The same goes for artists. We need to find ways to organize ourselves in the fight to change the law that would stimulate artistic production and market development, not to reduce the cultural scene to the state’s “charity” by non-transparent competitions, that mostly end up in the same pockets. The situation now is that even if you sell the work (especially abroad), what is left to you after all the expenses and taxes is really sad. This must be opposed. So I hope this situation will force people to change the society on their own.

9. Do you have TV in the house?

Yes, but I use the computer and the internet much more, especially now.


10. Do you listen to radio?

 Yes, though mostly foreign musical radio stations, and from local stations  regularly Radio Belgrade 2 and 3. I consider it to be one of the few remaining oases of critical thought and a source of quality cultural and artistic content.

11. Bicycle or sand?

Sand, and that of the desert. If there is previous life, then I was a Bedouin for sure.

12. Are you vegan or vegetarian?

I’m not a vegetarian, but as time passes, I eat less and less meat because it suits me . I think we should reduce or almost eliminate eating meat both for animals and for us.

13. Beer or wine?

Definitely, wine. Red wine.

14. Do you recycle?

I separate the plastic bottles and glass packaging and leave them next to the container. This is far from  serious recycling, but it is difficult to do more given the general disorganization of this matter in our country. I collect the plugs for the Čep za hendikep as they are one of the few that have shown consistency and perseverance in the blend of environmental and humanitarian work. I also mainly use home chemistry which is less polluting for the environment.

15. Book/movie

 I recommend the book by the well- known French writer Sidney Gabriel Colette – “Break of Day”,  and then the book by Julia Kristeva – “Colette” (the third part of the Women Genius trilogy), and of theoretical books   Rossi Braidoti – “Post humane”.
If someone has not yet watched the “Tomorrow” documentary, here is the right and time you might also get some constructive ideas;)

16. And music?

I listen to various music, but most of all, and especially these couple of  weeks – classical music. I love baroque music and works by composers are called impressionists. I recommend the Baroque Venetian composer Barbara Strozzi, whom I “discovered” thanks to the earlier mentioned Belgrade 2 radio. It pleased me that the Mezzo music channel was “unlocked” recently since I don’t have it, so the TV is mostly on that channel now (when it is on).

17. Recommend a site/ portal/ application…

Recently on  Facebook I also recommended the Radio Garden site – where radio stations from all over the world are available to you in a very interesting and inventive way.
From local sites, I recommend the excellent Korzo portal for urban culture and heritage www.korzoportal.com

Comic book lovers free new releases on: https://imagecomics.com/comics/read-first-issues
Apps- Instagram, this “vanity fair” is still a great tool for me to explore and follow the art scene around the world


www.natalijasimeonovic.com
Instagram:@drum_simeon