NOTHING’S GUARANTEED: Exhibition of Bosno-Futurism

30 July - 4 September 2022
Opening on Friday, 29 July at 07:30 PM 
Summerhall, Basement Galleries
Edinburgh, Scotland

Artists: Igor Bošnjak, Lala Raščić, Lana Čmajčanin, Maja Zećo, Mladen Bundalo, Sasha Tatić

Curated by Jon Blackwood

Growing from the merger between notions of Bosnian and Balkan Futurities, Nothing’s Guaranteed explores ideas of Afrofuturism through the work of six artists. 

This collection of works asks the question; who is bold enough to imagine an alternative future to think far ahead amidst the perpetual present, as surveillance capitalism entrenches its position? Six contemporary artists from Bosnia-Herzegovina respond in this powerful exhibition through video, live performance, and installation. 

Nothing’s Guaranteed presents a parallel exploration of the intersection between imagination and technology that has been a lived reality for artists in the Bosnian Herzegovinian context for many years. Even before considering ‘alternative knowledge’ and ‘alternative facts’, there has been a long history of the future in the post-Yugoslav / Balkan context.

From folk tales and mysticism at community level, to utopian avant-garde calls to ‘Balkanize Europe’, the future has often been a ghost in the continually overwritten Balkan present. Yugoslav ’Spomeniks’ era World War 2 monuments for example, drained of their radical content and context, have been quite wrongly presented as clickbait photos online. Evidence of a future that never was realised. Nothing’s Guaranteed collates the work of six chosen artists, each of whom present work that combines deep critical and historical knowledge with contemporary visual methodologies, to engage with topical futurities in individual but complementary ways. 

Central to the exhibition is the unstable concept of identity; the absurdity of organising a whole society around fixed and inflexible notions of ethnicity that only partly acknowledge the background of the citizenry as a whole. As Mark Dery states in his founding text on Afrofuturism (Black to the Future, 1994): “The notion of Afrofuturism gives rise to a troubling antimony: can a community whose past has been deliberately rubbed out, and whose energies have subsequently been consumed by the search for legible traces of its history, imagine possible futures?”

If it is true that Bosnia-Herzegovina is “a spectator, rather than a participant, in the international art world” (Daniel Premec), then it is precisely this merger of the imagination and technology that allows for the disruption of historical narrative and speculation on possible futures.

In a cultural moment that is locked in a perpetual present, with historical fact unstable and subject to constant overwriting, and with belief in the future collapsing, these speculative works are an engaging, topical reminder of the importance of truth and the power of the future.

The exhibition is accompanied by a full colour catalogue with essays from Jon Blackwood and Irfan Hošić, director & founder of the KRAK Centre for Contemporary Culture in Bihać.