Lexicon for the Provisional Future(s)

This term came up while brainstorming and discussing, trying to find a notion that could describe the essence of our practices in different fields, mediums, and disciplines. Actually, we were looking for a term that relates to cultural production but is also a term we use in everyday life; something we could also use as a metaphor to describe this everyday practice. Suddenly, the term “stick and string” popped up and we realised these were the basic tools of cultural production in this region, at least in Serbia. It is a metaphorical way to say that anything is possible and that anything can be done with a stick and a string.

It is also based on the principle of “budzenje” which is something that one of the teams involved in the Lexicon project had experienced when their car broke down in the mountains: in the middle of nowhere, somebody showed up with some tools and fixed the broken car using parts of other cars. Somebody who simply improvised and made the engine work again. Being established as basic tools in production, “stick and string” also functions as a state of mind, expressing a particular kind of individual agency. In essence, it means that we don’t really need the help of the system or that it is not necessary to wait for the help of system in order to make things work. It is up to each of us to learn to improvise and combine things in order to make them work again.

Together with this, we would like to research the meaning and functioning of another term used by the international and European institutions as a working method in this region – “carrot and stick”. It is a strategy of stimulation and punishment used openly by politicians as a way to force things to work. We find it important to see if these two methods are compatible at all in the first place or that their combination makes things to stall, stay in limbo, with no chance for progress.

Vesna Madžoski

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