Book Launch & Round Table. Tomislav Gotovac - Life as a Film Experiment

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
5:00pm - 8:00pm
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room, 1219 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St)

Please join the Njegoš Endowment for Serbian Language and Culture and the Harriman Institute for a book launch and round table discussion of Tomislav Gotovac - Life as a Film Experiment, the first book published in English on legendary Yugoslav-Croatian artist Tomislav Gotovac, written by Slobodan Šijan, and translated by Greg de Cuir Jr and Žarko Cvejić. Along with the author of the book, Slobodan Šijan, participants at the round table are Pavle Levi (Stanford), Dijana Jelača (Brooklyn College), and Petar Milat (MAMA, Zagreb). The discussion will be moderated by Aleksandar Bošković (Columbia).

Tomislav Gotovac (1937-2010) was one of the most important Croatian and Yugoslav artists of the second half of the 20th century. He has left an indelible trace in the domains of film, visual art, and performance and has exerted a major influence on several generations of artists. In the last fifteen years, there has been a surge of interest in his pioneering oeuvre, and his work has been shown at important exhibitions and museums worldwide.

With this monograph, Slobodan Šijan, a renowned Serbian film director and one of artist’s closest friends, pays homage to Gotovac and his singular understanding of cinema.The book comprises almost 400 pages and its 48 chapters function as 48 movie-like “frames” of analysis, quotes, and commentaries, but also as an attempt at understanding some of the processes that shaped the films of Gotovac and informed his artistic methods. Šijan makes extensive use of his own memories, narration, testimonies, and archival materials. His creative combination of these materials results in a book about one artist, written by another artist, in an uniquely artistic way.  

Slobodan Šijan (Belgrade, 1946) is a film director, writer and visual artist. He made many experimental films and videos, but also directed some of the most popular Serbian narrative feature films and wrote a number of books about film and visual culture. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Belgrade voted his film Who’s Singing Over There (1980) for the Best Film made in former Yugoslavia in half a century. Other important features includes Strangler vs. Strangler (1984), How I Was Systematically Destroyed by Idiots (1983), The Marathon Family (1982). Since 2001, he is teaching at Loyola Marymount University Film School. He is author and editor of several volumes, among others Vertigo, Cinematographic Poems (1998), Women Film Directors in South Eastern Europe (2009) and Conversations around Film (2010). His work in the domain of visual art investigates the phenomenon of film, moving images, photographic registration and reproduction of reality.

Pavle Levi is Professor of Film and Media Studies in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University, and Director of Stanford's Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Levi is the author of several books: Jolted Images (Amsterdam UP, 2017); Cinema by Other Means (Oxford, 2012); Disintegration in Frames (Stanford, 2007);  and, as editor, Filosofska igracka (A Philosophical Toy; Belgrade, B92, 2003).

Dijana Jelača is a film scholar and author whose areas of inquiry include feminist film and media studies, transnational cinema, and South Slavic film cultures. She teaches in the Film Department at Brooklyn College. Jelača is the author of Film Feminisms: A Global Introduction (with Kristin Hole, 2019), Dislocated Screen Memory: Narrating Trauma in Post-Yugoslav Cinema(2016), as well as co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Cinema and Gender (2017) and The Cultural Life of Capitalism in Yugoslavia: (Post)Socialism and Its Other (2017). Her essays have appeared in numerous scholarly journals, including Camera ObscuraFeminist Media StudiesStudies in Eastern European CinemaEuropean Journal of Women's Studies, Jump Cut, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.

Petar Milat is a philosopher and the main programe coordinator at Multimedia Institute (MAMA) in Zagreb, in charge of the Institute’s publishing, music, and film programs. Since 2008, he has been managing the Human Rights Film Festival. The nexus of normative social and aesthetical theory is the main focus of his research.