Agon, When Did We Forget To Play


Curated by by Anja Obradović

with artists Morelos León Celis (Mexico) Cristián Ureta (Chile), Katerina Duda (Croatia), Predrag Terzić (Serbia) and Agon Nimani (Kosovo)

The theme of the exhibition “Agon, when did we forget to play?” gives importance to sport as a social phenomenon worth exploring in determining aspects of how our society is composed and works. With a particular emphasis on the game of basketball, it sheds light on historical events, the sport’s modernizing aspect on one hand and the sport’s more humble aspect of being played in rural areas and its power to bring communities together on the other.

Within the concept, parallels are drawn between an orchestra maestro and a coach and the strategies of the different ways of playing. Competitions and classifications tend to have a national perspective. The group exhibition “Agon, when did we forget to play?”, in which five artists from different spheres are exhibited, poses the question whether a transnational aspect of sport is possible.

Performance “Basketball Musical Strategy” by Morelos León Celis and Predrag Terzić

The performance is composed of two strategies of basketball plays selected from previous artworks by Predrag Terzić (Elan Vital series), that were translated musically by the mexican composer Sergio Cano upon request of Morelos León Celis and executed by an orchestra in New Belgrade.

The essence of the performance piece consists of the translation of the elements that make up the basketball code, that is, from basketball strategies to musical compositions, which are activated through a series of sculptural sounds within the basketball court. The performance begins with an intro of the chorus of “All of Yugoslavia is dancing Rock and Roll” (Igra rokenrol cela Jugoslavija). It was a song that was heard at the celebration when Yugoslavia won the gold medal at the 1998 Basketball World Championships in Athens, thus evoking collective memory of a golden era for the national sport in a country that no longer exists. Soon after, the musicians play two contemporary instrumental compositions within the basketball court of one of the socialist, brutalist architecture blocks in New Belgrade. The two compositions are called by the names of the players that score the points in the basketball strategies of Elan Vital. The first composition is called “Nemanja Bjelica”, from F.C Barcelona- Fenerbahçe game in 2015 designed by the famous coach Želimir Obradović, which ended up in a 2 point shot and the Turkish team’s qualification into the 2015 Final Four in Madrid. The second composition is called “David Blu” from Maccabi in 2014 Milan Final 4 semifinals against CSKA Moscow designed by the legendary coach David Blatt from Israel.

The multiculturality we see in today’s professional sport teams and the achievement of results as a team with players and coaches from different backgrounds can serve as a backdrop to as ourselves whether sport, a passionate endeavour, can surpass the national character it has and which in the case of a big victory results in collective euphoria, national pride and later on serves as a collective memory that keeps nurturing the nationalist sentiment. Can sport, initially thought of us something to bring people with the same passion together, overcook nationalist sentiments and become a powerful tool for a more transcultural society and even as transdisciplinary action?