Artivistic interventions as humorous re-appropriations

Aldo Milohnic


The article reflects on the synergic interaction of artistic creativity and activist engagement through a humorous approach of some contemporary civilian protest actions in Slovenia. The article proposes the concept of “artivism” as a hybrid term for activist-artistic interventions. Case studies discussed are examples of subversive re-appropriations of insulting statements made by the former Prime Minister and his party in a creative and humorous way. These infamous and defamatory expressions, initially used by politicians to verbally attack protesters, were re-appropriated and recuperated by “artivists” and turned back, like a boomerang, at those who had originally sent them into the public, as offensively constructed verbal degradations. Uprising of Zombies in winter 20122013 and the public protests organized by the movement called the Erased in 2003 indicate humorous artistic expressions that are turned into symbolic weapons of people’s resistance against domination of corrupted political elite.


artivism, re-appropriation, uprising, zombies, grotesque

Full Text:



Arns, I. and Sasse, S. (2006). ‘Subversive affirmation: On mimesis as a strategy of resistance’, Maska 21 (3–4), pp. 5–21.

Austin, J. L. (1962). How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Bakhtin, M. (1984). Rabelais and His World. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Bakhtin, M. (2003). Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press.

Bergson, H. (1977 [1924]). Esej o smehu [Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic]. Ljubljana: Slovenska matica.

Bredekamp, H. (1972). ‘Autonomie und Askese’, in Müller, M. et al. (eds.), Autonomie der Kunst – Zur Genese und Kritik einer bürgerlichen Kategorie. Frankfurt am Mein: Suhrkamp Verlag, pp. 88–172.

Bürger, P. (1998). Teorija avangarde. Belgrade: Narodna knjiga/Alfa.

Dedić, J., Jalušič, V. and Zorn, J. (2003). The Erased: Organized Innocence and the Politics of Exclusion. Ljubljana: Peace Institute.

Diklić, D. (2004). Teatar u ratnom Sarajevu: 1992–1995. Svjedočanstva. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Kamerni teatar 55 ‒ Zemun, Serbia: Most Art.

Edwards, J. D. and Graulund, R. (2013). Grotesque. London and New York: Routledge.

Gonzalo, J. F. (2012). Filozofija zombija. Belgrade: Geopoetika.

Hamacher, W. (1994). ‘Afformativ, Streik’, in Hart Nibbrig, C. L. (ed.), Was heißt Darstellen? Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, pp. 340–371.

Hauser, A. (1986). Sociologija umjetnosti. Zagreb: Školska knjiga.

Hewitt, A. (2005). Social Choreography: Ideology as Performance in Dance and Everyday Movement. Durham, NC, London, UK: Duke University Press.

Komelj, M. (2009). Kako misliti partizansko umetnost? Ljubljana: Založba /*cf.

Lebel, J.-J. (1998). ‘Notes on political street theatre, Paris: 1968, 1969’, in Cohen-Cruz, J. (ed.) Radical Street Performance. London, New York: Routledge, pp. 179–184.

McGowan, T. (2014). ‘The barriers to a critical comedy’, Crisis and Critique 1 (3), pp. 200–221.

Milohnić, A. (2005). ‘Direct action and radical performance’, Performance Research 10 (2), pp. 47‒58.

Paulin, M. B. (1975). ‘Plesna umetnost v partizanih’, in Kalan, F. et al., Partizanska umetnost, Ljubljana: Zveza kulturno-prosvetnih organizacij Slovenije ‒ Delavska enotnost, pp. 20‒27.

Sawyer, R. K. (2006). Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Shulman, A. K. (1991). ‘Dances with feminists’, Women's Review of Books 9 (3). Available online: [Accessed 30 September 2014].

Toplak, C. (2013). ‘Od jeznih protestov do trajnih družbenih sprememb’, ČKZ 40 (254), pp. 21‒28.

Trček, F. (2013). ‘Ugasnimo Facebook – premislek o mariborski vstaji’, ČKZ 40 (254), pp. 60‒70.

Warnke, M. (1985). Hofkünstler: zur Vorgeschichte des modernen Künstlers. Köln: DuMont Buchverlag.

Zupančič, A. (2008). The Odd One In: On Comedy. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Publication ethics and malpractice statement