Zero Recycled: the Marshal and the urban hippie from the streets of Skopje

The multimedia artist Aleksandar Stankovski sets up the criteria on the local Macedonian cultural scene corresponding to those of Peter Greenaway, Andy Warhol, Jonas Mekas, maybe even of Kenneth Anger

Aleksandar Stankovski

Besides being one of the most renowned and outstanding Macedonian painters, Aleksandar Stankovski is a true multimedia artist, in the full sense of this overused term. One of his more expressed interests is film as a visual medium in its primordial, ‘oneiric’ form. Playing with ultimate possibilities of the seventh art, Stankovski sets up the criteria on the local cultural scene corresponding to those of Peter Greenaway, Andy Warhol, Jonas Mekas, maybe even of Kenneth Anger. It is an experimental expression, exploring and discovering new horizons.

Following the cult films “Maklabas” and “The Summit of Shamans”, at the annual 15th edition of the Skopje Film Festival Stankovski premiered his last cinematic release – the avant-documentary Zero Recycled – Sri Charshi, a kind of video recording about the art group Zero.

In a moment of their rich career, which had been mercilessly constructing the Macedonian subculture in the past three decades and at the same time obstructing the local monotonous academism, Zero got an opportunity to be presented in front the esteemed audience gathered at the traditional Venice Biennial, this year titled “Illuminations”. But of course, like many times in life, which reflects in art anyway, things don’t go according to plan.

The formally, aesthetically designed exhibit turns into a real psychodrama, an adventure turning the project’s main protagonists into marathoners running their lap of honor. All of that is presented through the point of view of the youngest member of the group, Goranco Georgievski and his media guardian, the Marshal. As emphasized in the conclusion of this work’s synopsis, passing through absurd and extraordinary events, a rare story is synthesized and accidentally or not, immortalized in this video.

Simultaneously, another interesting story develops, following the mental trip of an urban hippie from the streets of Skopje, Sri Charshi and his musical project La Colonie Volvox. Particularly fascinating are the images of the collective mantra, where the band performs a religious ritual, however freed from the unnecessary ideology, going into a complete trance in front of the audience, consuming and calling on their inner energy.

The director’s style carries Stankovski’s recognizable signature, experimenting with different shooting angles and great editing techniques, double exposure and combination of video material and artwork, creating a feeling of complete multimedia experience for the viewers. If a bit more focused and concentrated, one gets the impression of hypnosis, a very important ‘ontological’ characteristic of the seventh art, a quality which you have to admit, is rare in the surge of commercial instant-projects.

Surely this documentary video-art project is not for everybody’s taste. Perhaps the work is introvert, some might even think too experimental. But the essence of this and similar projects is their concept and the sense of completeness. Zero Recycled is the real thing for lovers of this kind of visual discourse, a testimonial-proof for the creativeness and most of all the toughness of Macedonian subcultural scene. Avto Komanda. Go ahead!!!