Program COMMON LIBRARY was conceived as further continuation of LANGUAGES AND NATIONALISMS project which dealt with the important question of language misuse for political purposes in the region of former Yugoslavia and was finalized by the development of the DECLARATION ON THE COMMON LANGUAGE. The idea behind COMMON LIBRARY, however, takes into consideration literature and essay rather than linguistic science in order to find the best means to apply pressure on political authorities in all four countries of the region (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia) and thus influence changing of the legislative when it comes to recognition of the fact that the 4 “political” languages spoken in the region are actually nothing but equal variants of the one and the same yet unnamed polycentric language. This would effectively bring to an end educational, cultural and consequently political segregation in the region based on the false premise of identity politics that each nation/ethnic group has the right (or even obligation) to its’ own language disregarding the integrative linguistic reality or even plain common sense.
The aim of COMMON LIBRARY is to create space for writers and thinkers from the four countries of the region to express and confront their views on the subject through series of debates. Wider public is also included in this open language debate, in order to reach new conclusions and offer proposals on the most important linguistic, literary and cultural questions.
Project is supported by the CCFD-Terre Solidaire. June edition of the debates was realised under the project CSO activism for regional reconsiliation in the former Yugoslavia – In Support of RECOM, supported by the European Union.
COMMON LIBRARY #1
February 1st 2019, KROKODIL’s Centre for Contemporary Literature participants: Igor Štiks and Vladimir Arsenijević essay: Evropa danas (Europe today) by Miroslav Krleža, 1935
The first event within Common library served as an opening debate and presentation of the project. Vladimir Arsenijević and Igor Štiks, the editors of the project, discussed the seminal essay of Miroslav Krleža, defining and redefining the notion of Europe from 1935 until today.
COMMON LIBRARY #2
March 19th 2019, KROKODIL’s Centre for Contemporary Literature participants: Biljana Đorđević, Igor Štiks essay: Jugoslavenstvo danas, Predrag Matvejević, 1982 The second event dealt with the problem of Yugoslav identity in the past, present and future, Yugoslavia and post-Yugo sphere, socialism and post-socialism. The participants were Biljana Đorđević, the professor at the Faculty of political sciences in Belgrade, and Igor Štiks.
COMMON LIBRARY #3
April 23rd, KROKODIL’s Centre for Contemporary Literature participants: Katarina Luketić and Adriana Zaharijević essay: Homo poeticus, uprkos svemu (Homo poeticus, regardless), Danilo Kiš, 1980
This event evolved around the essay of the famous Yugoslav writer Danilo Kiš, and about the exoticism and terror of identities when it comes to literature from this region, the Balkans. The essay was discussed and analyzed by Katarina Luketić, literary critic and essayist from Zagreb, Croatia, and Adriana Zaharijević, a feminist theorist and professor from Belgrade.
COMMON LIBRARY #4
May 21st, KROKODIL’s Centre for Contemporary Literature participants: Bojan Krivokapić and Filip David essay: Iz vile na Wannseeu (From the villa on Wansee), Daša Drndić
The topic of the debate was anti-fascism, based on the essay by one of the most fluent writers from Croatia, Daša Drndić. Drndić’s primal areas of interest in literature and in life were fascism, nazism and the role and responsibility of an “ordinary man” in it. The participants were young poet and writer from Novi Sad, Bojan Krivokapić, and dramatist, writer and lifelong political activist from Belgrade, Filip David.
COMMON LIBRARY #5
June 9th, 2019 in Centre for Cultural Decontamination participants: Vladimir Arsenijević, Lana Bastašić, Miljenko Jergović, Igor Štiks topic: Is Common Literature Possible?
The participants discussed the possibility of common literature, and what it would convey. The main topic was whether this inclusive literature would include only writers writing in the variants of “our” language, or would it also include the writers originating from this language, who due to circumstances are writing in other, foreign languages. Joint presentation at major international book fairs was also discussed and various positive examples were mention such as “4 Countries/1 Language” presentation of the literature of German speaking countries etc.
Common library events had high impact among our target audiences due to its quality content and political and social importance of the topics articulated. Due to the fact that the project is continuation of the well known project Language and Nationalisms and The Declaration on the Common Language we expected to intrigue academia, media as well as politicians and general public not only in Serbia but in the region too. Media reported regularly about each and every event and audiences were intrigued and engaged online. Each event was visited by approximately 35 to 50 people. The last event which took place during the festival KROKODIL in June had the highest attendance rate (200 people) and visibility.
Some media announcements:
Main media agency Tanjug: http://tanjug.rs/full-view.
Other links: http://balkans.aljazeera.net/
For entire press clliping feel free to contact us
COMMON LIBRARY #6: WOMEN!
The sixth Common Library event was held on Thursday, September 26th 2019 at the KROKODIL Center for Contemporary Literature. Based on the text written by the late sociologist and feminist Žarana Papić entitled “Former Masculinity and Femininity of Former Citizens of the Former Yugoslavia”, Ana Pejović talked with Jasmina Tešanović and Katalin Ladik about the “women’s issue” in the region of the former Yugoslavia then and now. During the event the participants held performances – Spring Cleaning by Katalin Ladik and Transgender Jesus that Jasmina Tešanović prepared and performed together with musician Katie Woznicki.
COMMON LIBRARY #7: OPPOSED
The seventh Common Library event was held on Friday October 25th 2019 at the KROKODIL Center for Contemporary Literature. It was based on the selection of texts chosen from the collection of essays entitled “Fashion” and written by Borka Pavićević (1994). Danilo Lučić, the editor of the “Common Library” imprint, talked with the philosopher Boris Buden, who for this occasion came to Belgrade from Berlin. The main topic was the culture of resistance in the Yugosphere, then and now, which in a remarkable way permeates both writing and activism of recently deceased Borka Pavićević.
This was the first edition of the Common Library in which we introduced the element of stage adaptations of the selected text in cooperation with the friendly DAH Theater. It was interpreted by the actress Ivana Milenović Popović. At the same time, we promoted the second booklet of the “Common Library” imprint, entitled “Europe” and featuring chosen essays written by Miroslav Krleža (Europe Today) and Igor Štiks (Letter to Europe).
COMMON LIBRARY #8: EXILE
The eighth Common Library event was held on Wednesday, December 18th 2019 at KROKODIL Center for Contemporary Literature. Based on the essay entitled “Writer in Exile” and written by Dubravka Ugrešić, Igor Štiks talked with the participants two writers with extensive personal experience and knowledge of living in exile, Semezdin Mehmedinović and Lana Bastašić, both originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, about the eternal theme of exile, what it used to mean before and what it means today, and how our understanding of exile changes over time. In addition to Semezdin Mehmedinović and Lana Bastašić, Dubravka Ugrešić herself joined the conversation via Skype.
In this issue of Common Library events, we continue with stage adaptations of selected texts in cooperation with the DAH Theater. Based on the concept of Diana Milošević and Ivana Milenović Popović, and with music composed by Ljubica Damčević, Dubravka Ugrešić’s essay “Writer in Exile” was interpreted by Ivana Milenović Popović.
At the same time, we promoted the third booklet in KROKODIL’s “Common Library” imprint, entitled “Identities” and featuring essays written by Danilo Kiš (“Homo Poeticus, Despite Everything”) and Lana Bastašić (“Looking for a Coat”).