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An alloy made from art and activism, in North Macedonia.

Blackwood, Jon



Eliza Steinbock

Bram Leven

Marijke de Valck


This chapter traces the development of an “alloy” of artist and activist strategies in the context of North Macedonia, during Nikola Gruevski’s right-wing conservative government (2006-16) and its turbulent overthrow; the chapter concludes by assessing the conditions for art in the “new normality” of Zoran Zaev’s social-democrat-led government from April 2017 onward. First, the characteristics of Gruevski’s government are discussed. Critical to their cultural policy was the controversial Skopje 2014 scheme and “antiquization, " the re-casting of the appearance of Yugoslav-era Skopje in neoclassical and Baroque architectural styles and monuments. The response of critical artists to this scheme is assessed through the example of Aleksandar Spasoski’s The Ship that Never Sailed (2012) and the work of the KOOPERACIJA grouping. Following a tracing of the fall of Gruevski and the color revolution of 2015/16, I assess the conditions of the “new normality” in the country. Observing that an ever-strengthening alloy between art and activism had developed during these years of upheaval, analysis is provided of the operation and consequences of this co-operation in relation to the TEKSTIL cultural centre in Štip, and the online Arhiva ZAUM run by OPA Fondacija.


BLACKWOOD, J. 2020. An alloy made from art and activism, in North Macedonia. In Steinbock, E., Leven, B. and de Valck, M. (eds.) Art and activism in the age of systemic crisis: aesthetic resilience. Abingdon: Routledge [online], chapter 7, pages 92-103. Available from:

Online Publication Date Jan 1, 2020
Publication Date Oct 7, 2020
Deposit Date Nov 27, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 2, 2021
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Pages 92-103
Book Title Art and activism in the age of systemic crisis: aesthetic resilience
Chapter Number Chapter 7
ISBN 9780367219840
Keywords Art; Activism; Macedonia; Contemporary art; Cultural ecology; Art-activism
Public URL


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