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Issue 9


Artist Aleksandra Domanović picks out her favourites from the ebb and flow of culture

BY Aleksandra Domanović in Critic's Guides | 03 MAR 13

Elizabeth Grosz, Becoming Undone: Darwinian Reflections on Life, Politics and Art, Duke University Press, 2011 (all photographs: Aleksandra Domanović)


This book was recommended to me by a friend, Alex Martinis Roe. It’s a feminist reading of Darwin’s evolutionary theory, one that challenges characterizations of his work as a form of genetic determinism. It discusses about the differences between natural and sexual selection. As the book’s description puts it: ‘arguing that sexual difference is the universal condition for all other difference and exploring how Darwin’s theory of sexual selection transforms philosophy, our understanding of humanity in its male and female forms, our ideas of political relations and our concepts of art.’

I suppose there are many differing interpretations of Darwin’s theories, although some strike me as containing an element of prejudice. It’s hard to say which is ‘correct’, but the version that this book presents is, for me, a convincing one.



This porcelain kalimba was made by a friend of mine from Vienna, Vedran Pilipović. He named it Kaola. It’s basically a melodic percussion instrument, a lamellophone built along the principle of a thumb piano. I had only seen these in wood and metal and now I know that ceramic ones also exist – but not like this one.

On the one hand, Vedran’s version is about porcelain’s bright acoustic properties. On the other hand, the shape was inspired by the oud, a cousin of the guitar and lute played largely in Arab countries. What we get is a sort of a hybrid, experimental sound-object. And it does sound beautiful.

Sound samples can be heard at kaolainstruments.com.


Travnik monument

Recently I visited the Bogdan Bogdanović archive in Vienna. The Serbian architect, urbanist, and writer – who once served as the mayor of Belgrade – left all 12,000 or so of his drawings and documentation photographs to Vienna’s Architecture Centre.

While I was there, I met Bogdanović’s widow, Ksenija Anastasijević Bogdanović. The most surprising thing she told me was that Bogdan never charged much for his monuments, sometimes taking no honorarium at all.

Most of the post-World War II monuments he built in the former SFR Yugoslavia (1943–92) were funded directly by the communities themselves. He did not want to make money from these people, so he just took what was needed for the materials and to pay the workers. While going through the archive I took this snapshot of a photograph of his monument Group Cenotaph of Victims (1975) in Travnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which shows children playing on it. The cenotaph was new then; now it lies riddled with bullet marks. A description of it I came across in an architecture journal puts it well: ‘Two of the blocks of stone are broken. Bushes and weeds have overrun the place. Bogdanović liked it even better like that: a ruin is the sweetest death for architecture. However, it is not advisable to leave the road for there may still be unmarked minefields in the area.’


Antarctic Krill oil

My mother, Miroslava Domanović, always sends me new stuff, usually medical and cosmetic products. Although not a novelty, she recently sent me ‘Euphausia superba’ or ‘Antarctic krill’ oil in capsule form. I started taking these at the beginning of the year. Krill oil is a food supplement rich in omega-3. Omega-3 in krill oil is mainly in the phospholipid form, which research suggests is a preferred dietary supplement compared to omega-3 in triglyceride form, found in fish and vegetables. Because of krill oil’s high levels of phospholipids, my mother believes it will protect me from stress. It would be going too far to say that I feel any kind of ‘effect’, but I do somehow feel that my body reacts well to it – it’s one of those pills I like to take.

I was blown away when I read that these tiny crustaceans make up an estimated biomass of up to 500 million tonnes, the latter, roughly twice the biomass of humans. They are the primary food of the Baleen whale species and are in fact the sustaining organism of the entire Antarctic ecosystem.

Aleksandra Domanović is an artist based in Berlin. She has had recent group and solo exhibitions at Depo, Istanbul; MOT International, Brussels (both 2013); Kunsthalle Basel; Space, London and the 4th Marrakech Biennale (all 2012). Her solo exhibition at Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin opens 26 April.