Accepted Paper:

The poet on the bridge in the "biblical land": art, ideology and borders in the Republic of Macedonia  

Author:

Rozita Dimova (Ghent University)

Paper short abstract:

By following Adorno’s (1970) argument that art is always contingent and rooted in the social conditions of the system where it emerges, this paper foregrounds the art’s critical role in producing and disseminating the ideologies of “multiculturalism” and “national archaism” in contemporary Macedonia. While arguing that these are mutually constitutive processes, I examine the two most important art festivals in the country: the Ohrid Summer Festival and the Struga Poetry Evenings.

Paper long abstract:

By following Adorno's (1970) argument that art is always contingent and rooted in the social conditions of the system where it emerges, this paper foregrounds the art's critical role in producing and disseminating the ideologies of "multiculturalism" and "national archaism" in contemporary Macedonia. While arguing that these are mutually constitutive processes, I examine the two most important art festivals in the country: the Ohrid Summer Festival and the Struga Poetry Evenings. Staged for the first time in 1961, the Ohrid Summer Festival has become one of the most prominent high art festivals featuring best artists from the world. This year's 46th edition of the Ohrid Summer Festival stressed the "biblical" and the Christian character of Ohrid and Macedonia by drawing primarily on its Christian legacy representing it as "a town of 365 churches," thus silencing the presence of Islam in the town and the country. The Struga Poetry Festival (considered as one of the most important poetry festivals in the world recognized by UNESCO) in 2007 was marked by a visible presence of Albanian politicians who stressed the numerical dominance of Albanians in Struga by opening the festival first in Albanian language. By analyzing these two festivals, I maintain that art is not only rooted in the social conditions but it becomes the battleground where the ideologies of inclusion and exclusion are produced and disseminated in the wider political and popular discourses of the Macedonia.

Panel W047
The new Europe: the politics of recognition, inclusion and exclusion