The «Dark Vein» documentary is a travelogue that starts from the city of Bitola (or Monastir in North Macedonia) and the graveyards situated around it. It continues in different villages of Pelagonia that have suffered the woes of war and displacement. Then, it follows the lignite arc, the landscape transformation, the villages that were eradicated due to the mining process. And finally, it visits Novi Sad and the Danube river. The content of the film, that consists of graveyard scenes, gaunt human presence, images of nature, abandoned villages and elliptical soundscapes, reveals a muzzled place that resides on the margin, in the dark, as it is either connected to dark pages of History, or consciously sidelined due to a society bound to the chariot of “constant progress”, systematically degrading the environment around it.
European Cultural Heritage Onstage was a European creative project, implemented in the context of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. It invited artists from the fields of painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, performance, videography and photography to create original artworks, after exploring the Dark Cultural Heritage of the Balkans.
Dark Heritage is connected to events that traumatise groups and determine their cultural identity. Such events concern societies, as physical and conceptual spaces related to war, genocide, mass killings, ethnic conflict, oppression, violence and death bear such moments in their heritage, tangible and intangible. Dealing with traumatic heritage may have therapeutic effects for locals and outsiders. War and conflict spaces exist around the whole Europe, thus dark heritage can be a starting dialogue point for artists and citizens.
Sfera International and Vojvodina Civic Center organised two art residencies and a series of local events in Bitola (North Macedonia) and Novi Sad (Serbia), hosting 8 artists (in total) who, during their stays there, created 39 original artworks adopting a critical stance towards the events of World War I and World War II. More specifically: