Tala Nowińska-Antoniewicz – PhD candidate at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Poland, cultural sociologist and sometimes an artist. Researches alternative comics and music scenes that emerged in Serbia after breakup of Yugoslavia and writes her dissertation about works of art so alternative that you’ve probably never heard about. But once you do, you’ll fall for them! When not researching, she rants on Polish reality drawing online comics as Tala Gryzda.
When sociologist reads comics – (quite)serious research on the most unserious of arts
The main focus of the presentations will be Serbian alternative comics scene which consists of many fact-based or fact-inspired narrations. My interest in Serbian comics scene emerged as I was searching for scientific and reliable publications concerning history of the break-up of Yugoslavia and its consequences, written by Serbian authors. Long and thorough research led to conclusion that the newest history is still a strong taboo in Serbian scientific discourse for multiple reasons. However popular culture and art (including comics) offer wide spectrum of alternative sources of information about the reality of nineties in Serbia. At that time comics artists established a brand new scene by creating works that expressed their personal outlooks on current events. They refused to draw conventional war comics and focused on how war influences the life of ordinary citizens (including themselves) and thank comics not being considered a “serious medium” they could relatively easily avoid being censored. Such artists as Aleksandar Zograf, Wostok, Grabowski, Vuk Palibrk and many others gave their readers not only artistic visions on armed conflicts in Yugoslavia and their aftermath but also presented testimony to everyday life in a time of historic turmoil. Each of them observed the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia from a different point of view but they all focused on presenting experiences of individuals within the society torn apart by war. Reading their works can turn into analyzing a unique sociological evidence.