Calling the exhibition of young Albanian artists from Prishtinë (the capital of Kosovo) “Exception” and showing it in the two biggest cities in Serbia, Belgrade and Novi Sad, may seem at first glance quite appropriate. In a highly polarized situation – that of bringing the decades’ long conflict to a resolution by unilaterally declaring Kosovo as independent state or by the Serbian government’s firm contention that Kosovo remains an integral part of the internationally recognized state of Serbia – organising the kind of exhibition that brings together people from Kosovo and Serbia can undoubtedly be rendered as an exception.
This section deals with ‘the case’ of the exhibition Exception – Contemporary art scene of Prishtina and its violent (non)opening in Belgrade, happened during February of 2008. This event, overshadowed by the massive political turmoil before and after the local political leadership of Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia around the same time, in the circles of what could be described as ‘critical art and activist scene’ of Belgrade gained somewhat mythical connotations.
The following essay aims to elucidate the meanings and functions of autonomy within the post-socialist framework of peripheral neo-liberal political economy of “cultural production” in the former Yugoslavia region or, as the contemporary geopolitical agenda terms it, the Western Balkans.