Reports From an Export Processing Zone (EPZ) by Bojana Videkanic
A performance intervention as part of They Built for Eternity exhibition on:
Friday, September 13, 4-8:30 pm for Opening Reception of They Built for Eternity exhibition
Friday, September 27, 4-7:30pm (before film screening of Birha)
Friday, October 25, 4-7:30pm (before film screening of Taste of Cement)
Export Processing Zones (EPZ) are industrial zones with special incentives set up to attract foreign investors to countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. Once imported to these zones materials undergo some degree of processing before being exported again. The goods are handled, imported, and exported without taxes, fees, or duties. Corrupt local governments approve such projects in return for large bribes in form of money, political power, or land.
This is an on-going series of performances that have taken place in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Canada. As part of this series I set up my own free outward processing zone. During my work time (usually several hours) I do specific actions related to questions of labor, exploitation, financial and political instability. Part of my practice is to create “economic reports” which at the end take a form of shorter and longer poetic statements. Mimicking corporate bureaucratic procedures, the reports are surreal, and are meant to speak to the capitalist neo-colonial structures that create EP Zones. In order to generate my reports, I combine corporate reports generated by International Monetary Fund, World Bank, various political speeches (by local politicians) as well as, local and global news stories about the economy and labour, and I weave this empty corporate/political language of such organizations with signifiers of current social, political and cultural decay. As a person born in the Balkans, and now living in the West (Canada) I am directly implicated in both the exploitation taking place in the EP zones, and in the results of that exploitation lived through my own displacement and now via the lives of my own close family and friends who still live in the Balkans.
I usually spend as close as possible to what would be considered a ‘regular’ work day (for those in bureaucratic positions in these EP Zones) which would be several hours long. During my time in the EP office I research documents and generate reports which I file in a series of binders. At the end of the duration of the performance I proceed to read the reports out loud and preferably in the public.
In the Hamilton context I am particularly interested in the ambiguous relationship between the city’s industrial past and its new, gentrifying present. I am particularly interested in forms of transnational connections between decaying industries and capitalism (for example how the story of the US Steel Canada’s coming to the area and the history of the industry in Hamilton might relate to a similar process in Bosnia and Herzegovina). Because there is an echoing of similar capitalist processes between various parts of the world I would like to make links to the struggles in Canada to those in the countries outside of the Western World.
— Bojana Videkanic
Bojana Videkanic is a performance artist and an art theorist born in Bosnia and Herzegovina (former Yugoslavia). She became a stateless person after the fall of her native country and came to Canada as a government-sponsored refugee in 1995. Her artistic practice mines personal experiences of displacement, movement, and identity and intersects it with larger political, social and cultural questions. Her most recent work deals with the transformation of her native country into a law-free zone for the development of various neo-liberal capitalist projects and new forms of colonization. She is also working on a project probing the idea of neurocapitalism and its relationship to the body. Videkanic is an assistant professor in fine arts at the University of Waterloo, and she is the board member of the 7a*11d International Performance Art Festival Toronto. Videkanic has exhibited at festivals such as Nuit Blanche Toronto (2009), 7a*11d International Performance Art Festival Toronto (2010), MS:T International Festival from Calgary (2012), Hemispherica, Montreal (2014), IPA (International Performance Art) Platform and Workshop, Bristol (2015), IMAFestival, Serbia (2016), Hamilton Biennale (2017), Nona International Residency—Sarajevo, Bosnia (2019) and La Centrale Gallery Montreal (2019). Videkanic is also a curator.
For more information, contact:
Tara Bursey, Program Coordinator at email@example.com or (905) 522-3003 ex. 29
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Image credit (top): Bojana Videkanic
WAHC acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts for its support of the Main Gallery exhibition program, as well as the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Hamilton and the Province of Ontario for its on-going support.