About the documentary, entitled Solidarity Network (2013) by artist and filmmaker Gildo Bavčević. The short text was initially published in VASA Journal for images and Culture.
The Solidarity Network documentary is a compilation of direct actions and protests against the repressive apparatus of transitional elites in the city (and surrounding areas) of Split, Croatia. Together with his colleagues and adherents Bavcevic has organised or participated in number of engaged artistic projects with the intention of pointing out the maladministration, abuse of power and stealth that affected majority of the local population in the past twenty five years. Over that period the power has been distributed among the likeminded conformists whose sole purpose was to transfer the public property into their private ownership.
Hiding behind the nationalist and patriotic rhetoric of the new elite, a mixture of opportunistic businessmen and unscrupulous local government officials have intentionally ruined local industry in order to privatise it. The process is very well known and widespread in transitional societies. In order to buy these companies they have to lower their prices. First step is the take-over, than violation of workers’ rights, insolvency and eventual closure of (sometimes) successful companies that are deeply rooted in local area. Furthermore, the new businessmen would than often market or simply sell these properties to investors, without being concerned for the “collateral damage” – unemployed and impoverished population without any prospects. The idea of “common good” is thus replaced by a very short-term private profits of privileged individuals.
To break the silence, hopelessness and powerlessness of ordinary people who were unprepared for such exploitation a new type of struggle and resistance towards the repressive activities of the power structures were organised by local artists and activists. Based on the idea of solidarity among citizens outside the institutional framework they created a platform for networking and exchange of information and ideas regarding the crucial issues of local economy and governing. Documenting and sharing information through alternative media became a strategy for mobilising wider public and making an appeal to the wider idea of social responsibility which have a potential to become a weapon of resistance.
Gildo Bavčević (1979) is multimedia artist who lives and works in Split, Croatia. He works across different media such as video, film, sound, performance and multimedia installation. His practice is focused on direct social and political engagement. He participated in group exhibitions and festivals at home and abroad. Graduated in 2013 as MA Film and Media Arts at UMAS (Art Academy of Split) where he currently works as a freelance associate.