The Choir, 2014
Three-channel video installation based on 62 archive photographs, sound, 8’24”
Courtesy of the artist
The Choir is an installation centering on a totalitarian regime, its ideology, personality cult and the role of children within this system. It is also a work concerning photography and its utilization to create images that claim to depict a successful socialist reality. The multi-channel video projection uses images found in the photo albums the Yugoslav President for Life, Josip Broz Tito. He received these albums, for several decades on May 25th – his official birthday – as gifts from schools and Pioneer organizations around the country. Today the Museum of Yugoslav History in Belgrade preserves most of these albums. They are important documents that testify which images the people of Yugoslavia produced of themselves in order to address their uncontested leader.
Most of the albums share a similar dramaturgy. Photo albums given to the president by schools, for instance, invariably start with a dedication in the form of a birthday card; followed by an exterior shot of the school building; a series of photographs of the interior; group portraits of the students; their classes and various activities. Each album also features a series of images from ceremonies, local mass games, meetings, traditional events, shows, recitals, and, unavoidably, choirs. There is at least one photograph of a choir in almost every album Tito received from the children of Yugoslavia.
By exclusively using images of schools and children’s choirs, The Choir focuses on the performative characteristics of the photographic medium and its role within the society of (socialist) spectacle. At the same time, the work investigates the role archives play in today’s societies, and more specifically in the nation states newly established after violent historical ruptures. It questions the possibility of a collective memory of a country that no longer exists.
The Choir is part of a long-term research project on the representative image of childhood in socialist Yugoslavia.
Ana Adamović (1974, Belgrade, Serbia) deals with issues of identity and memory, both personal and collective. Since 1999 her work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Serbia and abroad, most recently in the Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka, and the Museum of Photography in Braunschweig. She graduated from the department for World Literature at Belgrade University and studied photography at the Art Institute Boston. Currently she is a PhD in Practice candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.