A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Stanoje Ćebić’s private archive, 1969-2010
Black/white photograph, 80×80 cm, 1971
Fancin Ceger, Drugarica Johanna, silk print on cotton, 2011;
Fancin Ceger’s silk print action, video 15’24”, 2011
PVC digital prints, dimensions variable, 2014
Light box, photo, 13x10cm, 2014

An autobiographical novel called “Why I became an Ox” by metal worker Stanoje Ćebić from the village Jašunja near Valjevo was published in 1981. Printed in three editions and with a circulation of 18,000 copies, it was made available to a wide readership ranging from intellectuals to factory workers. This documentary prose tells of the quest of a ‘little man’ for a communist utopia of classless society and the consequent struggle for its realization. Following Ćebić’s death in 2011 the only remaining object was a brown leather suitcase, its content stating a life vision described in his prose text, captured in a film and in a radio drama. Over the years, his questioning of social norms and his strong moral principles became an inspiration for journalists, writers, film directors, visual artists and musicians. Was Ćebić a factory worker acting as an artist, or an artist acting as a factory worker? Exhibiting Ćebić’s personal archive, his subversive abandonment of the expected social frameworks is highlighted in its potential to transform individual actions into political ones.

Shot in stereoscopic technique, this video re-enacts a dream recounted by metal worker Stanoje Ćebić, a counter-iconic figure in SFR Yugoslavia, in a radio drama broadcast on Radio Belgrade in 1981. It features Ćebić’s voice recounting a dream he supposedly had while sleeping on a park bench during a summer night. His tale satirically suggests a way to subvert the government from the perspective of the working class. Along with the original soundtrack, night shots of oneirically illuminated, gently moving branches translate the migration of utopia into the realm of dreams. The video also refers to a photograph from Ćebić’s archive, portraying him as he sleeps on a bench of a public park.

HD Stereoscopic video, 4’58”
Camera: Torsten Schimmer
Editing: Branka Pavlović, Dejan Marković
Stereoscopic Editing: tectum Berlin
Narrator: Stanoje Cebić
Excerpt from the radio drama ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Stanoje Ćebić’ Radio Belgrade, 1981


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