Politics of Silence

Dear wonderful Magdalenas around the world,

I hope you are well.

We are now talking about hopes and fears. It is important not to forget to communicate, and the most important thing is to connect and maintain the continuity of our meetings as much as possible.

Zoe Gudovic, photo Marija SabanovicMany of you know that I lived in Belgrade, Serbia until I was 44 years old, but I decided to move in 2021 right in the midst of the corona and isolation. The decision to change EVERYTHING was a big challenge for me, full of hopes and fears. What scared me the most was the language, whether I would learn it, how I would cope. I left Belgrade because as an activist, an artist, a lesbian, who lives on the margins with a lot of threats and constant messages all around me that I should not exist and live, the last straw broke. When will I live if not now? When I came to Vienna, Austria, I felt that I was ready for a new life adventure. I am ready to hear the city, the people, the margin and the center itself. I am ready to accept, to let go, to continue to give myself selflessly and to love. To love the water I drink, which is a privilege for many of us, to breathe healthy air, also a privilege. I'm developing my Toilet art, as well as Drag King performances, I'm developing the feminist podcast Ženergija, which is broadcast on Radio Orang and which this year celebrates 20 years since I started it in Belgrade. What pleased me the most in Vienna is the diversity of the art scene, where I met great artists from all continents. That wealth and exchange of experience, knowledge and creativity are the most beautiful thing in my life.

Not that there are no difficulties, and that the work for us artists and activists is easy, it is not. Europe in itself is a white imperial context, full of colonial orientations and desires. This continent has a rich history, but also a violent history. Living in a country that welcomes the politics of silence, sweeping under the carpet, and repeating the brutal narrative, is one big trap. You live in comfort, so keep quiet. Silence has done no one any good, especially when it comes to the politics of memory and reconciliation and accountability. That's why it's important for me to meet people who resist the narrative of silence, who risk their professions to speak about genocide, colonialism and the capitalism that moulds us all.

Zoe Gudovic and Myassa Kraitt 2024It is my great honor to introduce Myassa Kraitt to you. She is a performer, rapper, playwright, poet and social anthropologist. Her artistic interests and work focus on direct and indirect forms of violence; epistemic violence; alterity necropolitics, invasion and post-invasion Iraq and anti-discriminatory artistic practices. In her multidisciplinary performative rap project called KDM Queen of Power (KDM Königin der Macht), she combines the genres of rap, performance and opens up queer-feminist and decolonial discourses and lectures on musical stages. She currently directs the digital stage GL!TCH4 at DSCHUNGEL WIEN - Theaterhaus für junges Publikum and is working on the series Epistemic Rupture at the interface between art and science. She is a board member of WIENWOCHE - Festival for Art and Activism in Vienna.

See you at the Magdalena ONLINE meeting,

It is important not to be silent, to see how we are, to never forget ourselves!


Top photo: "Between the Lines" toilet installation at Buchereien Wien; photo Marija Šabanović.