This is all made so I don’t have to wake up

Nevena Ostojić

Curator: Andreja Drobnjak


June 20th – July 6th

This is all made so I don’t have to wake up[1]

The project This is all made so I don’t have to wake up is a multimedia exhibition of works by Nevena Ostojić, realised through an attempt to simulate two realities – virtual and rave, expressed in two spatial units. Starting from the premise that the modern brain is digital, the physical, mental, and virtual spaces in this exhibition symbolically merge into one, with the city serving as the scenography for the current states present in all three spaces – which are difficult to separate even in everyday experience.

Messages and personal relationships are reduced to symbols of internet communication, images, signs, and memes. “We are a culture deprived of or passively renouncing the linguistic and intellectual tools to deal with the complexity of separating illusion from reality.” [2]

Nevena’s months-long spam practice on social media has been declared an artistic practice and is directed towards questioning various socio-political, cultural, and economic states and mapping the currents of globalisation in the local context and collective mental consciousness. This practice addresses self-reflection and the standpoint that a subject’s identity today is achieved and validated only if it is part of the capitalist system, where both spirituality and artistic work become part of the industry, frequently questioning the position of artistic creation and its future.

The artist shapes her work through communication-relational Instagram experiences, in which she takes an active role, modelling it according to her own interests. It can be said that this practice, or mind-set, is hyperlinked. The works create a context from which they originated, reflecting spaces of rave, a room of hyperinformation, hyperemphasis, and addressing the senses – frustration, entertainment, and information. Viewers is a notebook presenting profile icons from viewers of Nevena’s Instagram stories, representing the audience of the eternal debate who can be either a stimulation to her or remain passive observers. The stories are Nevena’s white cube. She curates them and contemplates themes related to coming of age as a Zoomer, rave, love stories, the local Belgrade context, as well as her own feelings in relation to these. The constant engagement with these themes ultimately leads to the acceptance of numerous social constructs with dissatisfaction, forming a cyclical thought process and a certain consciousness that, like the rave experience, opposes wakefulness, i.e., mechanisms that disrupt that state.

The video work is a summary of all these themes, a collaborative visual-narrative work by the artist and the curator, consisting of conversation segments, recorded scenes of the local context and everyday life, including places that connect the younger generations, clubbing… Pillows are not objects for resting, but generators of thoughts, dreams, and sometimes neck pain.

The city, as a place where different political interests intersect, destructive attitudes towards urban and cultural heritage, and systematic severing of identity layers, through which we witness the necessity and (im)possibility of change, are measures of personal states, bringing us back to the question – when does information lead us to wakefulness, and when to paralysis, and how does all this reflect on our personal habits and choices?

Andreja Drobnjak

[1] The inspiration for the exhibition title comes from a quote in the book “Fear of Ignorance” by Slovenian philosopher and sociologist Renata Salecl, published in 2023 in Belgrade.

[2] Bates 2016:19.