We organize Doček 7530 in honour of the traditional ‘Serbian folk’ calculation of time, but also the Julian calendar according to which the (so-called Orthodox) New Year is celebrated on 13 January. On that date, many large exhibitions, the opening ceremony of the music programme, as well as the central event – the performance of the grand opening of the European Capital of Culture title, which will combine several artistic expressions and traditions in an impressive way, await us. The huge river of people that will move through the city in that period will symbolize the river of time, which connects the past (traditional calculation) in 7530 and the future (global calculation) in 2022, as well as the mathematical calculations of Milutin Milanković and Mileva Marić-Einstein with artistic expressions.
MEETING A DIFFERENT CALCULATION OF TIME
After entering 2022 together with the whole world on 31 December, we will turn to our traditional way of calculating time, which is reserved for 13 January and is based on the ‘Serbian folk’ calendar. Trying to re-actualize and reinterpret this important element of the local cultural heritage, the ‘Doček’ programme will deal with time itself, with our city through time and our relation to time in 7530, extremely important year for us and our city.
All cultures had their own way of dealing with the phenomenon of time and the human need to delineate and conquer time with myths, measurements, calendars and constant monitoring of everything that moves and revolves around us in space. Despite our efforts to explain and connect everything, time is always slipping away irreversibly. ‘Doček’ is certainly a critical point in time, the moment in which we break it, round it off, send it off and welcome it, thus one of the central events in this programme arch is the exhibition entitled Time and Universe i. The exhibition is envisaged as a journey from darkness to light, from chaos to space, and framed by the story of the great world sciencetist from Novi Sad, Milutin Milanković. It will also deal with the concept of time through the centuries, as well as the relationship between man, time and science.The authors Dušan Jovović and prof. Aleksandar Petrović, PhD, have chosen the life and work of the celebrated scientist, who as academician and professor at the University of Belgrade, found success in multiple disciplines: mathematics, meteorology, climatology,astronomy, geology, geophysics, geography and civil engineering. He was born in the village of Dalj, next to the Danube, and the Danube, with its grand size and rich symbolism, served as the basis for his creative obsession with time and space, as well as his desire to build new bridges between different spheres of knowledge. As a scientist, he was preoccupied by the big questions that lie at the foundation of all civilizations: the laws of the sun, the change of the seasons and the confirmation of a reliable calendar. He is the creator of the Revised Julian calendar, known as Meletija’s or the New Julian calendar, and it is the most precise calendar in terms of the tropical year. The scientist Milanković travelled through ‘distant worlds and times’; in honour of his contributions to astronomy, one crater on the dark side of the Moon and one crater on the Mars are named after him. His well-known book, Kroz vasionu i vekove (Through Distant Worlds and Times), which many consider among the best written works of popular science, was published in 1928, in Novi Sad, in the magazine Letopis Matice Srpske (Yearbook of the Matica Srpska), the oldest European periodical still in print today. Milanković’s book has been a guiding idea for this exhibition, as well as the entire concept of ’Doček’. In that manner, we can say that Time and Universe is an interactive multimedia exhibition that traces Milanković’s creative scientific obsessions. The exhibition space of Studio M, which was provided to us with the help of the Provincial Government, will be completely structurally and scenographically adapted for exhibition concepts marked by different multimedia solutions. For example, virtual 3D human figures in motion, together with devices that ring with analog sound and mix with the digital sound of the environment, will talk about the passage of time. The exhibition will evoke the early humanity and the mythological ideas that the first civilizations had about the time, from the Vinča culture, through the Egyptian, Aztec and Mayan civilizations, all the way to ancient Greece. All this heritage of different civilizations will be symbolically merged in the reconstructed study of Milutin Milanković, which he described as follows: ‘My study is but a modest, yet comfortable refuge. There, protected from the double burden of the outside world, I feel indescribably well; here I read, think, dream, sometimes even doze… Should I glimpse the Moon, I climb up to it and walk its surface, examining up close that which interests me on the Moon maps. Should a planet appear, I fly off to test the results of my mathematical investigations on the climate of planets on site”. In this magical room visitors can see a comparison of all major calendars, with the help of a hologram of one great traveller through time and the universe, Milutin Milanković
EXCITING CHRONOLOGY OF NOVI SAD
describes our city through time. It means to intertwine the visible and the invisible, to tell the immeasurable through what can be measured – to see the city as a flow, and time as a multi-layered fortification. Along the way, science and art must speak together, or through each other, time must be as much a puzzle as inspiration, and the city must be melted – to be history in its modern moment, and to talk about its contemporaries through every moment of its history.
Following one such idea, the Exciting Chronology of Novi Sad will be inscribed in the Theater Square within the ‘Doček’ programme. Although its history as a free royal city called Novi Sad – i.e. Neoplanta, Neusatz or Újvidék – begins 274 years ago, when in 1748 the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa granted it that status, our city is one of the great crossroads of European civilization. As part of an area inhabited in the 6th millennium BC and in which the Neolithic revolution took place, Novi Sad is marked by this long continuity of life, which makes it part of ‘Old Europe’ – the term Lithuanian archaeologist Marija Gimbutas calls Neolithic culture of Europe. Thus, from the Starčevo culture (which was part of the Neolithic revolution and the appearance of the first agricultural cultures), through Roman times, migration of peoples and conflicts of empires (Byzantium and Hungary, the Habsburg Empire and the Ottoman Empire), this region has been inhabited for 7 millennia. Hence the question of whether Noah’s dove of peace on the coat of arms of Novi Sad is just a symbol of tolerance and constant striving for peace, or perhaps it suggests the year 7530, which we count from the moment of the biblical flood according to the ‘Serbian folk’ calendar and which we celebrate within ‘Doček’ and throughout the year of European Capital of Culture.
Despite the symbol of peace on its coat of arms, Novi Sad was marked as a great crossroads of European civilization by many riots of local and European proportions, until the signing of the up to the Treaty of Karlowitz (1699), after which begins the building of what was then the largest artillery stronghold in Europe: the Petrovaradin Fortress, today the city’s recognizable symbol. After the fortress and the status of a free royal city received in the 18th century, the city began a phase of modernization at various levels. From the capital of Serbian romanticism and Serbian intellectual thought in general at the beginning of the 19th century, when the forerunners of today’s most significant cultural institutions such as the Serbian Reading Room, the Serbian National Theatre or the Matica Srpska (immigrated from Budapest) were founded in the city, all the way to the revolutionary riots of 1848. Novi Sad witnessed a turbulent modernization and great changes that marked the whole
of Europe. Novi Sad, quickly on the heels of London, Paris and other large European cities, gets its first electric lighting (1891); the first film projection is held just two years after the Lumière brothers’ premiere in Paris (1897); the Serbian scientist Mileva Einstein (née Marić) visits her hometown with her husband, Albert Einstein (1905); work is completed on one of the largest and most beautiful synagogues in Central Europe (1909); an electric power plant is established, allowing the city to further industrialize (1910). After the city becomes part of the Kingdom of Serbia (later Yugoslavia) in 1918, its cultural and scientific life gains new momentum: Bengali poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, gives a lecture; Milutin Milanković published his famous ‘scientific novel’ Kroz vasionu i vekove (Through Distant Worlds and Time) at the Matica Srpska; the great pianist Arthur Rubenstein held a concert; and Nikola Tesla became the city’s first honorary citizen. On the eve of the Second World War, Banska Palata was officially opened in Novi Sad, prompting Phaidon, a leading publisher of art and architecture, to call it one of the most important constructions of the 20th century, thus placing architect Dragiša Brašovan among the pioneers of modern architecture. The 20th century brings alternating periods of darkness and light. The Second World War is marked by the ‘ice days’ of the Novi Sad raid in 1942, with mass loss of life among Serbs, Jews and Roma. After the liberation of 1944, the city swiftly develops in a new ideological and economic atmosphere, becoming a major industrial and university centre that flourishes continually. Still, as happens in the dynamic history of Europe, life on the border of Central Europe and the Balkans brought a deep political, economic and cultural crisis, caused by the breakup of Yugoslavia and the wars of the 1990s. In 1999, during the NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the city was left without its bridges. In the decade to follow the bridges were rebuilt, and the city once again sped up development. Thus began its search, not without tension, for a new identity in Serbia, the region, Europe and the world. The year 2022 puts the ‘here and now’ in a new light, giving us the opportunity to explore and share our strongest, deepest and best sides: Novi Sad is the European Capital of Culture with the slogan 4 New Bridges’!Moving from the past to the present, a good way to reconcile the city’s past with its present will be an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina called Evrovzsion. Crossing stories and spacesv, which critically re-examines the current socio-political situation in Europe from several perspectives. The Novi Sad audience of different ages and competencies will have a chance to actively participate in the programme that will mark the title and the present city through the project Novi Sad Picksvi implemented by Gallery of the Matica Srpska.
THE OFFICIAL BEGINNING OF THE TITLE YEAR
will be the opening ceremony of the European Capital of Culture in the Serbian National Theatre on 13 January. The programme of the ceremony will try to show different cultural, national, confessional and generational intertwining, characteristic for Novi Sad, Vojvodina, as wll as for this part of Europe. Many roads meet at the crossroads here, whose starting points are completely different, sometimes opposed, even historically conflicted. The concept of the official opening will show the aforementioned values through elements that may not appear compatible, but moments in the artistic programme will reveal how they can function together and yield new, unexpected results – such as when themes are introduced into a musical polyphony that may seem incompatible taken individually, but when combined produce an authentic, monumental and singular structure. Two alphabets, two calendars, multiple religions, numerous traditional motifs of faith, various melodies and harmonies in the musical heritage, a handful of languages and their specificities, an authentic vocabulary of movement in different dance heritages, different sculptures and cultures all together
make a kaleidoscope of culture, an interweaving of elements that have for centuries multiplied in mirrors, and now before an audience show new reflections and endless new possibilities. In the space of the Serbian National Theatre, which will undergo a transformation during the opening, the audience can expect eight artistic stage paintings that will evoke eight programme arches of the European Capital of Culture: ‘Doček’, as a symbolic fusion of local dualities; ’Migrations’, as a basis for the interaction of cultures; ‘The Future of Europe’, as a modern world viewed through the eyes of young people; ‘Heroines’, as the power of female creativity; ‘Fortress of Peace’, as a thematization of the culture of peace and togetherness; ‘Danube Sea’, as the foundation of a creative obsession of building bridges between different worlds and our world with nature; ‘Kaleidoscope of Culture’, as a new synergy of different arts; ‘Other? Europe’, as an expression of all European alternatives; Thus, through the merging of all ensembles and all elements of the opening scenery, a symbolic bridge that connects many shores will be created.
AT THE ZENITH OF THE ’DOČEK’ PROGRAMME ARCH
in which the idea of double opening of the European Capital of Culture in Novi Sad on 13 January culminates, and represents the intersection of time and energy, various artistic expressions will outline a symbolic space where science and art merge, thus announcing the whole year of the programme. This event-zenith of the programme arch, which is the most complex event of the whole year in terms of production, will be the grand opening play called Zeniteum :: 2022iii, which will symbolically transform mathematical calculations into a dance and music symphony. It hides the human need to communicate with the unknown that surrounds them, to let their voice ‘through the universe and centuries’. Expect :: the unexpected!
The name of the play comes from the transnational artisticmovement zenitism and the magazine Zenit, edited by artist Ljubomir Micić (1895–1971), whose international magazine shaped European Modernistart in between world wars in Belgrade, Zagreb, Paris, Milan and Moscow. Its 43 issues feature collaborations with some of the leading figuresof European art: László Moholy-Nagy, Tatlin, Gropius, Kandinsky, Malevich, George Grosz, Yvan Goll, Picasso, Modigliani, El Lissitzsky, etc.
Micić’s architectural-artistic concept ’Zeniteum’ puts humankind at the centre of the universe, and knowledge of art and science, its two circles, is attained through the highest degree of poetic consciousness. Just as Micić’s ’Zeniteum’ captured the spirit of the times in Europe after the First World War, after a great crisis, so will Novi Sad’s Zeniteum :: 2022 be the first celebration in Europe in the wake of the world’s great pandemic crisis. Zeniteum : 2022 will be full of scientific caution and artistic hope, as the author of the spectacle, the Slovenian theatre director and creator of post-gravitational art, Dragan Živadinov says. The two central protagonists of the ‘Zeniteum :: 2022’ play are scientists biographically and geographically related to Novi Sad: Mileva Marić Einstein and Milutin Milanković. Thus, mathematics is the central theme of the play – mathematics as a universal language.
While mathematician Mileva Marić Einstein (1875–1948), actively participated in the formulation of the theory of relativity, the mathematician Milutin Milanković (1879–1958), originator of climate astronomy, was born in Dalj along the Danube near Novi Sad. The first edition of his book, ’Kroz vasionu i vekove’ (Through Distant Worlds and Time), was published in Novi Sad by the Matica Srpska. In addition to two mathematicinas, the third protagonist of Zeniteum :: 2022 is Ljubomir Micić, with his modernist reinterpretation of the Balkan man, implemented in the concept of ‘Barbarogenius’. The ceremony’s set design (aesthetics) is based on a reinterpretation of the historical avantgarde, i.e. a
post-gravitational reinterpretation of Constructivism and Suprematism. With the bold scenographic use of the Banovina building designed in the Bauhaus style, which looks like a ship sailing on the Danube, the idea of modern Novi Sad will be reinterpreted in the post-gravity and avant-garde stage expression, with which Zeniteum :: 2022 will implement the vision of the European Capital of Culture: ‘The Beginning of New. Now!’. Marking the year 7530 according to the ‘folk’ calendar, we travel to the biblical ‘Flood’ according to which Noah saved the living world on earth with the help of the famous Ark. In the context of ‘Zeniteum :: 2022’, Noah’s Ark will be transformed into a spaceship, and Brašovan’s Tower will be a symbol of space travel through the scientific and artistic heritage related to Novi Sad. The musical part of the play, performed by a choir of twenty singers/actors, will be a homage to the famous Serbian composer Ljubica Marić, and the libretto is written by Dragan Živadinov himself.
After the great performance of the opening ceremony, which combines many artistic and scientific traditions, both local and European, the celebration of 7530 continues at more than 50 locations in the city. Novi Sad residents and their guests will have a chance to hear some of the world-famous performers who will perform for the first time in Novi Sad on 13 January. Among them is one of the world’s most famous fado singers from Portugal, Carminho, whose first album has already reached the platinum release and who is the winner of the Golden Globe for best performer. Apart from her, that evening we will be able to hear the most famous French cover band ‘Nouvelle Vague’ with their world-famous arrangements of music hits, as well as American singer-songwriter Chrysta Bell, star of the ‘Twin Peaks’ series and muse of David Lynch, who brings us her dreamy pop hits.
They will be accompanied by the famous English drum and bass band ‘Rudimental’, as well as the electronic band from the nineties ‘Morcheeba’, which also comes from England. On the other hand, the Novi Sad audience will also be able to hear well-known local and regional performers such as the local icon of ethno music, Biljana Krstić with the Bistrik Orchestra, one of the most prominent performers of the Yugoslav and Croatian scene Josipa Lisac, and regionally known singer-songwriter Damir Urban and many more. During these music celebrations, two smaller music projects will be implemented for younger audience – The Čardak Neither In Heaven Nor On Eartviii, implemented by the ‘Visoko C’ association, and Soundbeamix, implemented by the ‘Milan Petrović’ School.
THE TIME OF CELEBRATIONS
And lastly, after the zenith of the entire ‘Doček’ programme, we are making another celebration which symbolically looks back at the traditional Serbian slava. At the same time, the slava as a family holiday in Vojvodina implies a welcome to all people of different nationalities, which confirms the multicultural identity of Novi Sad. In order not to forget about tradition as an indispensable and constitutive element of culture along with world-famous performers, festive programmes and unique performances where art merges with science, it is not enough to simply repeat and maintain it, it is necessary to be constantly renewed. Since the slava has been included in the register of intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO since 2014, as the first cultural asset of that type from Serbia, Novi Sad, as a good host, will open the doors of its cultural stations to everyone so each guest could enrich with his presence that important day in the local cultural context.
Thus, like every large family connected by its internal intimate and external cultural bridges, the ‘Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture’ Foundation will celebrate its slava, St. Basil the Great, on 14 January. Celebrating in a new way, the European Capital of Culture will adhere to the traditional approach and name that important event after it: You don’t invite someone to a slava, everyone is invitedi. The celebration home will be huge – a whole network of cultural stations that were created through the process of preparation for the title year in different parts of the city and its surroundings. The ‘Doček’ programme arch is an extraordinary opportunity for cultural stations to open their doors to all visitors in order to celebrate the traditional slava together in a special, modern ambience. In keeping with the original form of the slava, the official ceremony starts 14 January with the ritual of blessing grain, cutting the slava bread and prayer. In the setting of the cultural stations, this act is accompanied by a programme of church choirs that, in singing the troparion, lend an air of solemnity to the event, as is fitting. After the ritual blessing of the grain, cutting of the bread and prayer, the host of the slava then ‘raises the slava’, or greets the slava. All present approach the slava table (with the ubiquitous vasilice, traditional rolls served on St. Basil’s Day), after which follows a carefully selected musical programme that will present the rich musical-tamburitza heritage shared by all peoples of Vojvodina, with performances by eight tambura orchestras and eight church choirs (Serbia, Bulgarian and Šokci repertoire–melody; traditional music from Ruthenians, Hungarians, Romanians, Roma, etc.). In addition to the slava’s host, guests will be greeted by young men and women in Serbian,Slovakian, Hungarian, Romanian, Ruthenian, Bunjevac and Šokac national dress.
Observation of the slava will be complemented by an exhibition by Pavel Surový, a world-renowned graphic designer from Kisač, displaying the wealth of distinct traditional dress of all nations in Vojvodina, as well as the rest of Serbia. The work of Pavel Surový is a specific reinterpretation of folk costumes as an intangible cultural heritage, which boldly composes traditional elements, presenting them in a new light, from an aesthetic distance. The exhibition will present a unique scenography of all cultural stations in which slava will be celebrated, which will proudly emphasize the intercultural nature of Vojvodina. Likewise, each cultural station will have an honoured guest representing one cultural-artistic association from a national minority community in Novi Sad or its surroundings. In that manner, the slava will actually be an overture to a series of programmes that will be a multiple reflection of the interculturality of Novi Sad and Vojvodina, which, seen through a kaleidoscope of European values, will become a new way of cultural and artistic interaction. This interaction will be passed on to the youngest, who will prepare a programme with members of folklore ensembles of local cultural and artistic societies.The programme will present the role of children in the winter cycle of traditional customs (korinđanje [carolling], pijukanje [cheeping], and Materice) on the one hand, and choral, vocal and an instrumental tradition adapted to their age group on the other hand.