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The making of Balkan wars: The game is a Personal Cinema project primarily focused on the social and cultural issues within the Peninsula and on the creation of a network between artists, art critics, writers and curators from South eastern Europe. It presents new media works created by the 51 participating artists that investigate the Balkan territory and way of life.

Both geopolitical war games and epic strategy video games are interrelated in this multi-media project. While virtual battle scenes are celebrated for their extreme realism, contemporary warfare has begun to resemble science fiction. The reality (or virtual reality) presented by official narratives and industrial entertainment does not adequately describe the experiences of the people who are caught in the actual war games. In the real-time of global networks, and in video games, the simplification of cultures and history is itself a form of violence. The Making of Balkan Wars: The Game is intended to counteract the sensational spectacle of war presented by the media by deconstructing stereotypes, focusing on the distortion of identities, and revising the dominant logic of explanation.

The Balkan Mall video game, the central node of the project is a multi-user, 3D video game created by the Personal Cinema group which hosts videos, sounds, images and texts contributed by the participant artists. The game is formed by 20 different spaces shaping an imaginary shopping mall, which is an elevation of social, historical and cultural elements of the Balkans. It is a poetic metaphor, which has many moments of ironic stance towards the prevailing multicultural concepts, historic and religious disputes and contemporary political developments in the area.

Entering the game the player forms her/his identity/avatar by selecting three characteristics/words out of 16 available choices. These words refer to the semiology of an imaginary re-construction of the Balkan character, as perceived through time and history. The game-play is based on the variable of Balkanisation. Moving within the space the players discover that their behaviour define their degree of participation in this simulated Balkan reality. The stance of Balkanisation or De-Balkanisation changes depending on which video the player is watching, as well as by the interaction between the avatars.

In the era of preventive wars, The Making of Balkan Wars: The Game is intended as a first preventive "art war", in which the character of the game offers the opportunity for serious inquiry into the matter of preventive strategy, development of the dialogue and tolerance between the people in the Balkans and the creation of an exchange art network which could provide a base for future regional collaboration.

The Making of Balkan Wars: The Game was presented at

Previews-round tables

Forum 2002, November 2002, Thessalonica
Conversations, art and society in Europe, December 2002, Athens
Forum 2003, June 2003, Thessalonica
In the Gorges of the Balkans. A report, July - October 2003, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel
Academy of Fine Arts, February 2004, Madrid
Art Athina, May 2004, Athens
City_Museum_of Skopje, May 2004, Skopje
Casa Transit, November 2004, Cluj
Video Zone 2, November 2004, Tel-Aviv
Beyond Stereotypes, October 2005, Tbilisi

Real space installations/shows

MediaLab Madrid , February – March 2004, Madrid, Spain
City Museum of Skopje, May 2004, Skopje, Macedonia
Channel Zero, Netherlands Media Art Institute Montevideo, August 2004 , Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Casa Tranzit , November 2004, Cluj, Romania
REX Cultural Center, December 2004, Belgrade, Serbia
Best project award for 2005, European Media Art Festival, April 2005, Osnabrueck, Germany
Going Public 05 - Communities and Territories, May 2005, Larissa, Greece
Synch Festival, July 2005, Layrio, Athens
Art Publique, May-September 2006, Liege
After Cage, June-september 2006, Liege
File festival, Sao Paulo, 2006
Gaming Realities, Mediaterra Festival, Athens 2006
Alles Wird Gut/Everything will be fine, Luneburg, Germany 2007
Play Culture, Novisad, Serbia, 2007
Monster, Dresden, Germany, 2008


Curating: Personal Cinema
Coordinating: Ilias Marmaras, Nina Vagic
Web site: Maya Bontzou
Communication: Daphne Dragona
DVD production: Panos Vittorakis

Participating Artists

Robert Alias Dragot - Albania , Genti Shkurti - Albania , Beatrijs Albers - Belgium, Aniceto Exposito-Lopez -Spain/ Belgium , Angel Vergara - Spain / Belgium Francis Schmetz - Belgium , Jacques Lizene - Belgium , Marie Andre /Belgium , Eugene Savitzkaya - Belgium , Reggy Timmermans - Belgium , Koen Wastijn - Belgium , Ria Pacquee - Belgium , Albena Mihaylova - Bulgaria , Krassimir Terziev - Bulgaria , Mathias Wagner K - Germany , Kostas Beveratos - Greece , Dimitris Tsardakas - Greece , Babis Kandilaptis - Greece / Belgium , Nicolas Kozakis - Greece / Belgium , Maya Bontzou -Greece , Dimitris Dokatzis - Greece , Ilias Marmaras - Greece , Dimitris Tzamouranis - Greece/Germany , Maurice Ganis - Greece , Angelo Skourtis - Greece , Panos Vittorakis - Greece , Vassilis Kokkas - Greece / Germany , Alexandros Spyropoulos - Greece , Antonio Riello - Italy / Holland , Chiara Passa - Italy , OPA & HA-Macedonia , Irene Paskali - Macedonia , Yane Calovski-Macedonia , Natasha Dimitrievska - Macedonia , Hristina Ivanoska - Macedonia , Floe Tudor - Romania , Mona Vatamanu -Romania , Per Pegelow - Russia/Germany , Vuk Cosic - Serbia / Slovenia , Andrej Tisma -Serbia, Hammer creative - Serbia , Milena Zevu - Serbia / Hungary , Selda Asal - Turkey , Gulsen Bal - Turkey , Cem Genser - Turkey , Genco Gulan - Turkey , Ruth Catlow - UK , Andy Deck - USA , Doron Golan - USA , Morgan Showalter - USA , Stewart Ziff - UK / USA

With the support of

Goethe Institute of Athens
Hellenic Ministry of Culture
Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe
Kunsthalle Fridericianum
Rene Block
Goethe Institute of Belgrade
Goethe Institute of Bucarest
Swiss Cultural programme , Macedonia and Serbia

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Page last modified on November 19, 2008, at 10:19 AM