A page with handwriting in red pen, accompanied by little drawings at the lower side. The playfully intonated text takes a closer look at a phenomenon, at audible low wave vibrations, at deep sounds. The author courageously utilizes the tool of personalization, and as a result the sounds in question are imbued with unseen but familiar features.
Personalization is a poetic instrument utilized in order to induce the reader to think through the subject from new viewpoints, to endear the observation of the behaviour of sounds and intonation itself, and to give the reader a few cheerful minutes (as he writes in another Deck-diary on artistic work, “exhilaration is an outcome, the result of the work performed”).
According to Prince January, artistic work is not a critical exercise, but an endeavour to endear us to different aspects of life by drawing attention to beauty and merit, which is informing and entertaining for its audience.
This cheerful textual meditation drafts the situation of deep sounds with many (altogether twenty) impersonated collocations, addresses the origin of sounds, and briefly touches upon issues of creation techniques. The epithets form an associative chain with twists, in accordance with his work method, which he began developing as a teenager.
The deliberately violated grammatical rule (playing with “j” and “ly”, pronounced identically, but spelled differently in Hungarian) makes it possible to use the same word with altering tonalities, making them two different entities (as in the case, for instance, of the thinner “diip” and the fatter “deep”)The work is made most probably “alla prima”, in one sitting (as his handmade booklets called Deck-diary contain thousands of similar notes), first the text and later the drawings, which have no direct connection to the written part. They have more of a decorative function (to make the page visually appealing), associating rounded forms to it and framing this little encomium.
From the record it is visible that Stojanović was on trial twice – first at the end of 1972, during his compulsory military service when he was brought before the military court. Stojanović served as a conscript amidst political infighting between the highest Party leadership and President Tito on the one side, and Croatian communist leadership (1971) as well as Serbian communist leadership (1972) on the other. The clashing between the central and national leaderships led to a complete purging of both national leaderships in the wake of which, the legitimacy of the Yugoslav Communist Party was seriously threatened. In the first six months of 1972, about 3,500 individuals were imprisoned as 'political criminals', 60% of which were from Croatia (Marković 2011, 119). Tito’s Letter from October 1972, in which he called for a “more assertive Party” was the trigger for a more direct confrontation with what had until then been accepted liberties, particularly in the arts. Exactly at the end of October 1972, during Stojanović’s final month of military service, a captain denounced him to the military authorities for his lambasting of the Yugoslav People’s Army and Tito’s Letter. While awaiting trial, he was threatened and the police searched his house and found “anarchistic” materials which were confiscated (Solomun 2012, 15). Apart from his films, all student papers, samizdat issues, émigré press and the majority of the publications distributed among politically active youth were confiscated. At first, Stojanović was accused of espionage, however, in the end, he was charged only with “hostile propaganda.” His film “Plastic Jesus” was used as evidence against him during the trial but he was not judged for the movie during this first proceeding. The military court sentenced him to one year of prison.
In the meantime a civil trial commenced for “Plastic Jesus”. The majority of Stojanović’s file concerns the verdict from June 1973 in which “Plastic Jesus” and its “hostile” agency were analyzed in detail. The verdict states that in the work, the author “represented the socio-political situation in the country maliciously and falsely”, that he depreciated the socialist revolution, its fighters, and self-governing socialist system, and that he had insulted the figure of the President, Tito, “the most distinguished representative of the Revolution and of the construction of the socialist social relations.” The civil court sentenced Stojanović to one and a half years of prison. This sentence, combined with the previous sentence of the military court equated to two years in prison. As the verdict was issued, all copies of the film were confiscated due to their ‘criminal offense’ and the movie was barred from screening until December 1990.
The record also contains the verdict of the Supreme Court in Serbia from November 1973 which stated that owing to the severity of the act, the sentence would be increased to three years of prison. The verdict stated that the lower court did not evaluate the level of criminal irresponsibility of the accused and that the sentence of (only) two years would not achieve the purpose of providing adequate punishment. The reasoning behind this act was to ensure that others would refrain from engaging in similar criminal offences.
Article 118 of the Criminal law of Yugoslavia, which judicated against “hostile propaganda” was used as the basis for trial in both cases against Stojanović. Article 118 stated: “Whoever uses propaganda, with the intention to pull down the authority of the working people, the power of the state to defend, or the economic basis of socialist upbuild, or the fraternity and unity of the peoples in the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia with a drawing, inscription, speech at a gathering or any other way uses propaganda against the state or social organization or against political, economic, military or any other important measures of the people’s rule, will be punished with rigorous confinement.”
The trial of Stojanović and the treatment of “Plastic Jesus” were meant to set examples for other artists, ending the so-called “Black Wave” in Yugoslav cinematography.
- Belgrade, Serbia
- Charakteringas eksponatas:
It provides a snapshot of the rundown Oderberger Strasse, depicting an activity that could take place in any socialist country, that is, the endless queuing for food, here queuing in front of the Dufft butcher store. Parallel to his black and white images, Hauswald began to experiment with coloured photography in the last years of GDR. A version of this picture can be found also in colour.
The Soros Foundation Hungary project in support of new democratic organizations in 1989–1990
By the spring of 1989, Hungary had managed to halfway through the process of political transition: the political monopoly of the one-party communist system had already been shaken, but civilian society and democratic forces still could not break through the colossal structure of the forty-year-old monolithic regime. There were fewer and fewer legal and political barriers to democratic organizations, and the main obstacles were the lacks of finances and media coverage concerning the awakening society and the political opposition. Independent media channels and organs in the print press which could inform the public efficiently about major political changes were still badly needed in the country. Similarly, there was not adequate public space or office infrastructure for the newly launched local and national movements, proto-parties, organizations, student clubs, trade unions, etc. The accelerated process of forming new parties, together with the beginning of the Roundtable Sessions of the Democratic Opposition and then the Nationwide Negotiations made it clear that the traditional semi-conspiratorial, amateur strategies used by the oppositional forces were wholly insufficient to remove the old monopoly power system.
From the outset, Soros Foundation Hungary (HSF), as the main supporter of independent civilian initiatives, realized that it was time to overtly “underwrite democracy,” to borrow from the title one of the books by Soros. In the spring of 1989, Soros publicly offered a sum of one million US dollars in support of the newly launched democratic organizations. The grand curatory (the main decision-making Advisory Board) discussed the practical details of the planned project at two sessions. The call for applications was then published, and an operative staff was formed in May to manage the project, led by László Sólyom. It included Gábor Fodor, Elemér Hankiss, László Kardos, and a dozen members of the SFH secretariat.
The new support project, as was expected, became extremely popular within a short period of time, and the deadline for the submission of applications was eventually extended six times to eighteen months, with more than double the sum Soros originally had intended to spend on the project. (It proved to be an almost ceaseless rally, which is well reflected in the fact that, as late as October 1990, there was still a package of 25 new applications for support waiting to be assessed, most of them convincing cases with rightful claims.) In 1989, 353 applications were received from various parts of the country. During the first year run of the project, the Advisory Board of the Soros Foundation Hungary approved claims made by 157 applicants and donated a total of 44 million Hungarian forints. It also distributed badly needed office equipment: 49 copy-machines, 26 computers, 12 telefax machines, 6 phone sets with recording machines, and 3 laser printers.
Some of the successful applicants gained support from the Soros Foundation Hungary in 1989–1990:
Nationwide movements, and organizations: League to Abolish Capital Punishment, the Independent Lawyers’ Forum, the International Service for Human Rights, the Asylum Committee, the Press Club for Free Public Speech, the Raoul Wallenberg Society (Budapest-Pécs) Committee for Historical Justice, the Foundation for Aiding the Poor. Trade unions: the League of Independent Democratic Trade Unions, the Trade Union of Employees of Public Collections and Cultural Institutions, the Educators’ Democratic Trade Union, the Solidarity Alliance of Workers’ Trade Unions, the Scientific Workers’ Democratic Trade Union, the Chemical Industry Workers’ Democratic Trade Union.
Church organizations: (Lutheran) the Evangelical Youth Association, the Association of Christian Intellectuals, the Ecumenical Fraternal Society of Christians, the Hungarian Protestant Cultural Society.
Minority organizations: the Association of Transylvanian Hungarians, the Rákóczi Union, the Hungarian Jewish Cultural Society, the PHRALIPE Independent Gipsy Association, the FII CU NOI Roma Society.
Environment Protection: the Danube Circle, the Independent Center for Ecology, the Holocén Society for Nature Protection.
Of the roughly 500 applicants, 201 organizations and organs (printed press, local radio and tv channels) received valuable financial and material help from the Soros Foundation Hungary. The project, the deadline for which was extended six times, lasted until late 1990, and it distributed more than double the originally offered sum, i.e. significantly more than two million USD.The complete archival collection of the project (applications, letters of support, secretarial reports, minutes of curatory sessions, press clippings, and files of the former secret police) can be found in the OSA-Blinken Archives. The detailed list of the organizations which were given support were also published in the 1989 and 1990 Yearbooks of the Soros Foundation Hungary. See their online version here.