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10 Jun 2008

The RENAMING MACHINE - Exhibition and Conference

Graphic design: Ajdin Bašić



EXHIBITION: 12-19 June, 2008
OPENING: 12 June, 2008, 8 P.M.
CONFERENCE: 13 June, 2008, 12 - 7:00 P.M.

Curated by Suzana Milevska

Slovenska 9
1000 Ljubljana

+386 (0)40 370 199

Hrusevska 66, SI - 1000

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Curated by Suzana Milevska

Slavčo Dimitrov, Ivaylo Ditchev, EDNOOKI, Albert Heta, IRWIN, Hristina Ivanoska, Sanja Iveković, Tanja Lažetić/Dejan Habicht, Suzana Milevska, Aldo Milohnić, MONUMENT, Oliver Musoviќ,

Dan Perjovschi, Tadej Pogačar & P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Museum of Contemporary Art, Sašo Stanojkoviќ, Žaneta Vangeli, Lana Zdravković

The P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Institute – Ljubljana is pleased to announce the launch of The Renaming Machine project with the opening of an exhibition on 12 June at the Jakopič Gallery in Ljubljana, and on the following day, a one-day conference.

These events are only the first in a series of curated exhibitions and conferences, research-based art projects, public discussions and workshops, which will extend into the middle of 2009 in Ljubljana, Skopje, Prishtina, and Zagreb, all under the umbrella of The Renaming Machine project.

According to Jacques Derrida's On the Name one gives names to the ones he/she loves because to give a name to someone is an ultimate gift. The question posed by the Renaming Machine is whether this can be true for renaming and what residues after the renaming overwrites the old references on the historic »mystic pad«.

The project The Renaming Machine looks at the complex entanglements involved in the political and cultural processes of renaming. Its main concept reflects the crucial need to question to what extent renaming has influenced the construction and destabilisation of the memory of national, cultural and personal identities and what actually happens in the field of representation, visual culture and politics whenever names are replaced or assigned by the renaming 'apparatus'.

The project underscores the arbitrary and contingent nature of names, but alongside the theoretical implications of renaming, it examines clandestine ideological patterns of the 'desiring renaming machine' at work behind the dominant social machines. The 'renaming machine' has, for example, important implications for gender politics in the way the patriarchal marriage contract has traditionally dictated that a woman assume her husband's family name, thus overwriting her premarital identity.

The Renaming Machine's concept reflects also the crucial need to question the way the renaming processes have influenced the construction and destabilisation of the memory of national, cultural and personal identities in the former Yugoslavia and South-Eastern Europe over the past two decades. The project will examine various artistic and cultural phenomena associated with the notion of 'renaming' in order to determine the extent to which renaming affects visual culture and shapes the cultural identities and cultural politics of the region.

Changes in the names of institutions, people, ethnicities, languages, toponyms and even states were usually viewed as the first step in the appropriation, or erasure, of national, cultural, and personal identities, as well as a way to protect long-term political interests and ensure the domination of a territory. With the break-up of Yugoslavia, the renaming 'apparatus' erased and overwrote most traces from the Tito era, including the Yugoslav leader's own name, which had been at-tached to many places in the former country.

In the Balkans, a region that abounds with the politics of renaming, the changes in the names were usually viewed as a way to protect long-term political interests and ensure the domination over a territory. The region itself has been called by different names: the Balkans, the Western Balkans, South-Eastern Europe, etc., depending on the geopolitical interests and attitudes regarding its integrity or dismemberment.

The conceptual 'war of names' that as an outwitting game continues between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, is the best example of how the endlessly postponed event of renaming can enable a 'state of exception'.

The project will examine various artistic, cultural and theoretical phenomena associated with renaming: identitarian and gender politics, the right of self-determination, nominalism, descriptions and direct referents, signature, facsimile and deconstruction of originality, proper names, performative speech acts, symbols and insignia of states, nations, ethnicities, overwriting the memory of cities, streets, and monuments, renaming as appropriation of subjects and territories, the name of the father/symptom-names, pseudonyms, anonymity, and (re)naming of art groups and movements, divine and secret names, economic value of names in branding and copy right, etc.

Conference Programme

13 June, 12 – 7 p.m.

12:00- 13:30

Traces of Memory: Writing, Erasing and Forgetting

Ivaylo Ditchev: Educating the dispersed gaze

Aldo Milohnić: No Name

Moderator: Suzana Milevska

14:00 – 15:00

Imaginary Institution of Naming/Renaming

Dušan Mandić: IRWIN/NSK: Political and cultural implications of naming/renaming

Albert Heta: Embassy and Pavilion

Moderator: Lana Zdravković


Desiring Machines of Renaming

Suzana Milevska: Potentialities of Renaming: Negation or Agency

Tanja Lažetić, Dejan Habicht: No Remembrance, No Comradeship

Moderator: Slavčo Dimitrov


Discussion About an Artwork:

The Politics of Memory/Lecture room no 1: An Archive Perspective on Renaming

Monument group: Darinka Pop-Mitić, Svebor Midžić, Branimir Stojanović, Milica Tomić

A comprehensive publication edited by the Skopje-based curator and theorist Suzana Milevska and published by the P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Institute is planned as the culminating segment of the project.

This two-year project consisting of a series of curated exhibitions and conferences, research-based art projects and public discussions, is being realised as part of Patterns, the new cultural programme of the ERSTE Foundation, in a partnership between the P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Institute – Ljubljana, The Peace Institute – Ljubljana, press to exit project space – Skopje, and Stacion – Prishtina.

The exhibition is made possible by the enormous contribution of the participating artists as well as the generous support of the ERSTE Foundation, European Cultural Foundation (ECF), The Municipality of Ljubljana, Ministry of Culture of Republic of Slovenia, The Swiss Cultural Programme for Western Balkans, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, Division for International Cultural Relations.


P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Institute, Hruševska 66, 1000 Ljubljana,

Tel. +386 1 542 56 85, E-mail: