mirko nikolić

water is (non)life: after empires

water is (non)life: after empires is an ongoing art and research work of social reproduction of water worlds. The performative actions spring from the confluence of Danube and Sava Rivers in the Balkans, and move upstream and downstream, connecting contested sites of extraction, historical commodity frontiers and their contemporary expansions, into a shared history-making. It traces an emergent understanding of extractivism and alternatives in the extra-EU peripheries of Europe, pulling connections between North and South-East of the continent and other geographies impacted by the same operators and wanted materials. Performances are soaked in the uncertain condition of the ‘semi-periphery’ (Blagokjević-Hughson) – regions bound in the never-ending catching-up with the ‘developed’ world – and its specific manifestations in the post-Yugoslav ‘transition’ from socialism into a predatory and corrupt turbocapitalism.

Across the divisions and differential (de)privileges imposed and perpetuated by the forces of imperialism, right-wing authoritarianism, and extractivism: what are imaginaries of social life in common outside extractive violence perpetuated by the hegemonic interests? how do we commit and enact pluriversal solidarity from the semi-peripheries? The audio-visual essay is is based on documentation of the place-based actions.

mirko nikolić, water is (non)life: after empires, 2021


mirko nikolić (born in Belgrade/now lives in Stockholm) works with writing and site-specific performance as methods within the collective effort for climate and environmental justice. The practice is particularly concerned with making knowledge about the impacts of extractive industries, and sharing post-extractive visions and life-sustaining alternatives. mirko is currently a postdoc researcher at the Department of Culture and Society, Linköping University, exploring de-extractive potential of cultural work in the semi-peripheries of Europe.