The Balkans Project

Words and art from the Balkans

David Maljkovic

Croatian David Maljkovic (born 1973 in Rijeka) has made a number of video works over the past three years that distill iconic features of current conditions in the Balkans. His works Scene for a New Heritage (numbers 1 & 2, 2004 & 2006), set in the future year 2045, opens with an aluminum foil covered sedan winding its way along a wooded road, coming upon a bizarre and inscrutable mirrored structure. Maljkovic’s low-tech allusion to science-fictionalized time travel embodies the Croatian and Balkan subconscious search for lost histories and identities. The incongruous structure, happened upon by the car-full of young men from the future is in reality a memorial for victims of the Second World War erected under the communist government of Yugoslavia. The monument, created between 1970 and 1981 by Vojin Bakic, was visited by all elementary school children during the Communist period. During the 1990s it fell within the occupied part of Croatia and was almost completely destroyed. Today it exists as an inscrutable artifact, a structure without function, except for the transmitters of Croatian television and T-Mobile.

The young men in Maljkovic’s DVD approach the memorial and begin to ask each other rhetorical questions, singing their dialogue in what sounds like an alien tongue but is in fact Ganga, a primitive Croatian polyphonic folk idiom. Maljkovic set the scene in 2045, on the 25th of May (Tito’s birthday), when the loaded historical background of the location would have been long forgotten. The protagonists emerge from their tinfoil-covered automobile. They reach the memorial without knowing what or why it was there. [1]

In the sequel, Scenes for a New Heritage 2 – Second Coming (2006), Maljkovic revisits the monument in Petrova Gora in 2063. With the monument further dislocated from its historical intentions, Maljkovic underscores his message to future generations: “My work is about the future, about collective amnesia, about what is going to happen and whether people are going to create a new heritage for themselves… Your moment is your heritage. I’d like to create a complete collective amnesia, which would open new possibilities for the museum of nothing, where you may bring anything you like.” [2]

Rethinking history through a process of forgetting provides a creative platform for Maljkovic to project a new image of the future. He works toward a process that embraces impermanence and need to constantly refresh our vision of the future and to actively seek out and interpret our own individual heritage.

David Maljkovic, Scene for a New Heritage, 2004, DVD color and sound, 4′ 33”

Scene for a New Heritage 2, 2006, DVD color and sound, 6′ 06”

Maljkovic4

David Maljkovic, These days, 2005, DVD color and sound, 5′ 31”


[1] Charles Esche from Maljkovic’s website

[2] Jonathan Carroll, Maljkovic, David, Place with Limited Premeditation, Amsterdam, Artimo, 2005, p.122. Quoted from Again for Tomorrow exhibition website, Royal College of Art , March 17 – April 9, 2006