[28th of February, 2023]
[Interview by Una Miletic from danas.rs with Relja Pekic from Krov]
The joint collectives of the Community center Krov (Roof) were celebrating its third birthday and, for the occasion, were organizing the "Krovdjendan showcase” from February 28th to March 7th of 2023, in their space in Kraljice Marije 47.
As part of the birthday program in the attic near Vuk’s monument, one could expected anthropological lectures, a listening sessions, the ETNA1 television, a Preložur2, Slivodram, Krov Olympics, a series of ethnological and ethnographic ﬁlms, and other, bringing 13 events in eight days.
On the occasion of the celebration, Relja Pekić, a member of the collective Vizantrop and a visual anthropologist, said that every day was dedicated to researches, educational and game program run by Krov collectives and community.
1> ETNA refers to non-formal collective based on research on ethnographic surrealisms
2> Combination of prelo and party. Prelo is one of the forms of mostly women’s gatherings (mostly held at night) and a custom of mutual assistance within a village that was widely practiced in the Balkan people’s past. They simultaneously represented a form of rural community; a special kind of evening meetings for village women, kids and elders with the purpose of mutual help in work, as specific village tasks were performed during these gatherings (spinning, weaving, feather cleaning, corn shelling, wool combing, stringing tobacco leaves). Since prelo also served a social and entertaining function, it was popular everywhere, in both rural areas and towns. During prelo, work was done, songs were sung, people enjoyed themselves, danced, and older individuals shared their experiences and funny events from the people’s history [.] source wikipedia
As joint collectives, we also feel a new energy that we create not only at events but also in ethnographic ﬁelds, which always bring new stories/ﬁlms and certainly ideas for reﬂection. I somehow feel like we are at the beginning of the struggle we agreed upon at the start – for ethnographic ﬁlm and anthropology to be recognized as a socio-humanistic science through engaged art work.
Belgrade needs autonomous spaces where people can freely share their knowledge and develop critical thinking - says Relja in an interview for Danas, adding - Krov has become a sustainable independent community space in Belgrade, and we hope to have more time to develop programs we love.
Prelozur // Photo: fb page DC Krov
Let’s reminisce about the initial idea of the creation of Krov, romantically – for a birthday - how did it all start?
On several different but related ﬁelds, collectives of anthropologists, visual anthropologists, ﬁlm and theater directors, ethnomusicologists and [from now group of enthusiasts gathered around the idea of decentralization and knowledge sharing] came up with the idea of creating an open common space for the development of an audiovisual archive for ethnographic ﬁlms, multimedia exhibitions, ethnomusicological works and open technology3. Three (now four ) years ago, we started looking for a space that could offer a cinema hall and multiple rooms for editing, sound processing, a library… After a long search, we entered the attic in Kraljice Marije, which some of our guests liken to Amsterdam’s community centers.
3> One year ago, on a stormy winter night, a collective of computer enthusiasts, gathered around the idea of technology decentralization and knowledge sharing, joined the Krov community.
The ﬁrst lecture at Krov about Haitian Voodoo was supposed to be given by visual anthropologist Petar Veljačić from Brussels on March 13th 2020, but we had to reschedule due to the announcement that the entire city would be closed. We survived the pandemic fortunately with some research projects, both online and at the ﬁeld, and waited to reactivate anthropological and engaged programs in our center. Sometimes we nostalgically read announcements from the time of COVID, – and there’s that dystopian addition that “the number of guests is limited to 10 due to virus prevention measures.”
Haitian Voodoo 2nd take // Photo: fb page DC Krov
Our programs are focused on teamwork of young researchers, as well as older ones interested in engaging in ethnographic and documentary ﬁlm, photography, audiovisual and body performance, music and visual art. One of the educational programs in which more and more members participate as lecturers or mentors is the School of Visual Anthropology, which involves a two-month workshop learning visual anthropological methods in ﬁlm. At the engaged ethnographic festival Vizantrop we organized domestic and international photography workshops by Igor Čoko.
Music started with Slivnik, created by our residents for the Krov community, and now we’re developing Krovodram – drum’n’bass nights, and also #ducducduc electronic performance, who combine acoustic and digital sounds.
Many artists come to Krov to exhibit4 their works or visit exhibitions of other authors, and a year ago, we launched the art residency program, which had its exhibition in the Ostavinska Gallery run by Cultural center Magacin collective. We collaborate with other collectives and create events in other places in Serbia and the region.
personal archives - krovdjendan preparation meeting
4> Notes for p4tch to finally complete activity archives, currently on fb is 428 past events.
I think that would be the ﬁrst collaborative action with the Irish Ed Godsell and Visual Anthropology Center – VAC, which organized a multimedia exhibition. It was then that the idea for the screenings of Goran Marković’s ﬁlms ‘Poludeli ljudi/Belgrade Foolies’ (1997) arose when we had zoom conversations with him about the ﬁlm archive of social movements in Belgrade, which I think should continue in some form as a tool of activism in experimenting with audiovisual (auto)ethnographic forms. That laid the foundation for our activities at Krov, when our members went out together to the ﬁeld with various audiovisual devices, recording chaotic events on the streets of Belgrade during the July protests.
Slivnik // Photo: fb page DC Krov
In addition to presenting and promoting art, anthropology, visual anthropology, ethnomusicology and open technology to a wider audience, our idea is that creative and educational programs should emerge jointly and on self sustainable grounds.
Also, our members should have the opportunity to shoot their first film or participate in the development of research projects that involve traveling to Serbia or the region. The film community, as well as the creation of informal research groups, are among the goals of our collective. We are confident that people will join us in creating a new strategy for the community centers, not only for our space but also for new joint autonomous spaces.
radio Krov // Photo: fb page DC Krov
One of the projects we dream of is continuous radio podcasts and an online radio Krov, [mission accomplished] that offer anthropological shows, radio dramas, DJ sets by independent artists, and various sound experimental forms. There is also a desire to launch various residencies, both ﬁlm and art, which would contribute to cooperation with related research centers in Europe and abroad. Our idea is for Krov to be a new base for developing experimental forms in #ethnographic ﬁlm, #docuﬁction, and various #subversive art, science and community forms.