THE CABBAGE

In my recent video work, The Cabbage (2016), a well-dressed man of my generation juggles cabbages in the parking lot of a well-known supermarket chain. The supermarket and its surrounding architecture belong to the past decade, an era marked by state-sanctioned corruption that impoverished Serbian citizens under the guise of nationalism, and in accordance with the values of neoliberal democracy. At a key point, the actor’s body is deliberately truncated, drawing the viewer’s attention to the background: an enormous -50% discount sign and massive commercial logos. Specifically, the painted logos refer to Maxi, the supermarket chain that was established by a local 1990’s war profiteer, and the Lion, a logo of the Belgian company Delhaize that later bought Maxi in 2011. The aim is to emphasize the socio-economic history of this site and to show the normalized everyday juxtapositions of an unresolved past and an uncertain present. The new millennium brought “democracy” to Serbia and, with it, the attempt to incorporate western suburban architecture, such as the supermarket shown in the video. New multinational chains and marketing companies brought the consumer new abundance of options and exponentially increased the selection of products at “permanently low prices”. This period also marks the beginning of changes in labor laws, where the state stopped protecting its workers and offered them to the neoliberal markets at permanently low prices. I deliberately omitted one part of the discount sign in the up right corner of the frame, as today’s global viewer is familiar with the omnipresent sale signs, and will predictably fill the blank. The loop of the video, the loop of his movement and the architecture in the video emphasize the claustrophobic reality of existing in this country.





THE CABBAGE

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Copyright © 2014 Marija Marković

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