The fifth event in PAIC series of intensive co-creative workshops with art residences will take place in Komiža from 11- 22 September, 2017 with ambition to artistically instigate cultural shifts and social change especially in the sense of the raising civic engagement to improve the quality of life in community and building of public will and relationships that helps to cohere island’s community members around common purpose, identity, and a sense of belonging which may lead to social or community capital (collective value of bonding social networks that connect people, and the inclinations to do things for each other that arise from these networks and are based on trust, reciprocity and cooperation).
The Croatian theatre artist Marica Grgurinović and Danish artist Christian Liljedahl are invited to work in Komiza, on the island of Vis in Croatia, to help the citizens to create opportunities and improve geographically isolated island places through community development ideas, community improvement programs, events or projects and plans that can be implemented. The economic, social, cultural and physical dimensions of community will be considered and their examples of community projects will help other communities with similar issues.
The island of Vis and the town of Komiza represent very particular topologies within both the Croatian and Adriatic geographical and historical context and within the wider Mediterranean cultural-historical and geo-political environment. Vis and Komiza have witnessed prehistoric times, the ancient cultures of Greece and Rome, the Renaissance, the 19th century struggles of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Italy and England for the domination over the Adriatic, the wave of emigration from the island to America (San Pedro, CA) at the beginning of the 20th century. Vis was the only free territory in the Adriatic in 1944 with collaborating forces of Tito’s partisans and British Army stationed on the island. Special topological punctum is Tito’s cave. Today it is also an international tourist destination.
All the while, Vis and Komiza have been both the periphery and the centre of Mediterranean and Croatian culture. Despite having a small number of inhabitants, a small surface area and being geographically isolated, Komiza is an urbanized place featuring a pronounced linguistic, cultural, economic and social identity. Because of its strong identity it can serve as a mediator for the problems that are common to island communities in Croatia, which arise as a result of physical, social and cultural isolation and their aspirations for change. We hope that integration of art and culture into these communities’ priorities will provide them with the skills and resources that can effect this change, and will further contribute to their vibrant cultural scene. Art and culture would thus become strong indicator of those locations’ cultural vitality and quality of life.
To include through this workshop art and culture as one of the quality of life indicators we will use ACIP’s definition of cultural vitality as “…evidence of creating, disseminating, validating, and supporting arts and culture as a dimension of everyday life in communities”. This definition of cultural vitality is in line with the PAIC goals and island communities’ needs because it links culture and cultural preservation, renewal and representation to growth and development, economy, tourism and other communities’ concerns and recognizes art and cultural participation as integral to everyday life, community dynamics, and community conditions. Both approaches recognize that art and culture are resources that come out of communities rather than being “brought to” communities from the outside.
As the PAIC is built on the premise that cultural regeneration through art and creativity and through personal and social growth and transformation is the key to a better quality of life, and that implementation of new creative practices is more meaningful when it relies on the collaborative efforts of the wide spectrum of people involved, we find that familiarity with sociocultural processes is crucial for a workshop and project’s success. Therefore in Komiža we will continue to generate success stories and good experiences, combining different research design and the activation of processes with short-term, medium-term and long term actions, involving local agents (individuals and various organizations), artists (those who form part of the local context, and those invited to join), the organization partnership (the four countries involved) and collaborating institutions, (institutions involved in the workshop process) with aim to develop artistic practices as a complementary method to sociological research, allow accessibility and inclusion issues to be conceived not only as a way to bring the community closer, but also as a way of including art and culture as an important dimension of civic life and considered culture for its civic value.
The workshops and other activities will be held in renovated and restored object of the Culture Centre (the former Yugoslav Army Culture Centre built in 1961) – the pavilion located on the edge of the compact fishing town of Komiza on the island of Vis. This remarkable legacy of architectural modernism represents the peak of a life achievement of one of the most important modernist Croatian architects included on Croatia’s historic landmarks list – Ivan Vitić. This pavilion, as a modernist building archetype, is considered as one of Vitić’s most important realisations.
Vitic pavillion by Miljenko Bernfest
Komiža from air by Boris Cvjetanović