Manifesta purposely strives to keep its distance from what are often seen as the dominant centres of artistic production, instead seeking fresh and fertile terrain for the mapping of a new cultural topography.

Marta Popivoda, RS/DE

Yugoslavia was built upon the ideology of brotherhood and unity. Since it was composed of different republics and ethnicities, the socialist state relied on this interethnic guiding principle – coined during the Yugoslav People’s Liberation War (1941–1945) – to hold it together as one collective body.

Drawing on the ancient philosophical concept of fraternal love, it was an ideology that foresaw the extension of the unconditional love between siblings to society at large – across the boundaries of class, gender, religion and ethnicity. In her research-based film essay, Marta Popivoda examines the ways in which this state-led solidarity was publicly performed, whether in the context of youth work actions, parades, sporting events or other public displays.

Analysing found footage from 1945 to 2000, Popivoda looks for what it was that held the collective body together and what led to its disintegration. Why, she calls upon us to consider, did citizens so readily abandon the maxim of brotherhood and unity in favour of nationalism, individualism and capitalism? Was there, is there not something to be salvaged from socialism?