The exhibition Shadow Citizens in Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier offers insight into the radical film praxis of Želimir Žilnik (b. 1942, lives and works in Novi Sad, Serbia). Many of Žilnik’s films have precisely anticipated real-world events such as the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the economic transition from socialism to a neoliberal order, the elimination of workers’ rights, and the wider social erosion related to labor and migration. The exhibition’s title, Shadow Citizens, reflects Žilnik’s lifelong focus on invisible, suppressed, and under- and misrepresented members of society.
As part of Vienna Art Week, Želimir Žilnik’s film Logbook_Serbistan (Serbia, 2015, 94 min) is streaming for free on our website for the duration of the festival – from November 13 until November 20 – together with an introduction by Želimir Žilnik.
In Logbook_Serbistan, Žilnik talks to illegal migrants and asylum seekers who, already in 2014, have been housed in refugee centers in Serbia following dramatic flights from the wars and destitution gripping areas of North Africa and the Middle East. These people have to pass through a complex period of adaptation to life in Serbia, though in most cases their aim is to arrive in European Union countries. This moving docudrama highlights the socio-political context in which they show their individual worth; in the process becoming protagonists with whom viewers can identify and whose struggles with adversity and uncertain fates they can understand.