Tanja Šljivar

Artist in Residence
Period of Stay: 
October 2020 - January 2021
Independent author, playwright, Serbia
Project Title: 
National theater (the novel)
Project Abstract: 

After working for a year as an artistic director at the National theatre in Belgrade, I want to write a novel based on that, in many aspects, extreme experience. While working in such a high-position spot, I was struggling with supra-systems of capitalism, patriarchy and cultural institutions. I would use range of materials, so that the final body of text would differ in its poetic qualities - theory texts in the field of institutional critique(P. Virno, Anthropology of institutions, J. Monaco The institutions of fictions, C. Castoriadis, The imaginary institution), my own notes and memories of the events in the institution I was curating (varying in quality from anecdotal to political ones), written materials I was granted access to (contracts, e-mails), as well as producing fictional chapters containing pseudo-manifesto monologues in which the role of such an institution is described from different perspectives - employees, cultural journalists, citizens and politicians. National theatre represents the values of the national state. In 2019 in Serbia, while the capital city has constantly been ‘under reconstruction’, the repertoire, the working conditions and ethics in the National theatre have mirrored this state of precarity, insecurity and alert. And yet its 150-year long history is a guarantee for transforming non-art into art, for primarily bourgeois audiences.