BEOGRAD, CITY REDUX (working title) is a multimedia documentary project exploring the juxtaposition of contemporary alternative culture emerging from the post-industrial city of abandoned industrial parks, manufacturing buildings and warehouses — a legacy of a brief and prosperous past. Once the capital of Yugoslavia, Belgrade is home to artists, musicians, and media producers undeterred by decades of social and economic upheaval, who simultaneously embrace the memories of a troubled past and resist globalization with do-it-yourself culture building in retrofitted urban spaces. In Beograd, one generation’s urban blight is another’s opportunity. Our team of urban explorers roam the city with artists, scholars, and media producers to explore Beograd’s enduring creative energy and where it intersects with the city. In this historic and imaged urban landscape, we seek to document the unique underground of Beograd, where old buildings and new ideas collide. This story is of interest to those drawn to matters of emerging cultures and innovation in the context of post-industrial cities.
DEBBIE JAMES holds a Ph.D. in Communication with a focus on new media, the intersection between public memory and transnational lived experience, human rights, and women’s production practices.
Her video work is influenced by her research on the diasporic use of social media in the production of post conflict public memory in the context of displacement and systemic change. In 2010, James was part of an Emmy award winning project titled: The MATRIX: Commemorating Walter P. Reuther, Union Activist. Formerly the Chief of Staff to an Ontario Cabinet Minister, she is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Governors State University.
Combining her fine art, media production training, and experience of dislocation, James explores the intersection of memory, home and homeland. Drawing from feminist ethnographic practices she incorporates personal story told ‘in place’ with collaborative video production to engage audiences in exploring how we compose everyday experience.
James and Erich have collaborated on a range of multimedia projects over the past decade. sitting on two stools | ne možeš sjediti na dvije stolice is their first installation effort, launching a series of multimedia projects exploring how we negotiate between were we live and the place we call home.
DEJANA ERICH pioneered a career in new media and visual communication in the mid 1990s. As Assistant to Programmer Director at InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, Ontario’s only dedicated production facility and gallery for electronic media art, she developed a fascination for converging story, knowledge, and technology.
Growing up in a television family in Sarajevo, she is influenced by the convergence of early media production values and themes. Complimented by her formal training in Interactive Digital Education in the Arts and subsequent study in the Digital Media Design program, these early influences continue to inform her work.
Known for her explorations of nostalgia as well as personal and collective memory, Erich mines historic knowledge to deliver intellectually informed ideas for dealing with contemporary life. Her research interests are approached from the perspective of her lived and embodied experience of conflict and displacement resulting from the war in the former Yugoslavia. Erich’s work is focused at the intersection of diasporic knowledge, post-conflict culture, and the relationship of home and homeland with a focus on the Balkan region. Her most recent work explores this area through digital photography and interactive design.
Active in Toronto music scene since mid 90s as singer-songwriter, Erich contributes to a range of projects and events across the city with her current band, The 8 ½’s. Music, composition, and sound design are a current point of exploration in her emerging installation work.