Saša Karalić

Kenniskring / Knowledge Network: Saša Karalić


Saša Karalić studied language and literature at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad, Serbia, and graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, where he now teaches Fine Arts. In his work, Karalić is primarily interested in the relation between public discourse and ideology and the way they reinforce a certain belief system.

The research: The ‘Public speech’ project

In today’s struggle for (political) dominance in the public sphere, opinions are constantly being confounded with scientific facts and ideological directives with analytical reasoning. In this process, which slowly starts to define our age, the language seems to be the most afflicted. The state of the public discourse is no longer measured by humanist merits of knowledge and credibility but by external, often irrational, forces. Those forces that seem ‘incidental’ and ‘uncontrollable’, often presented as the ‘voice of the people’ or the ‘struggle for equality’, confirm in fact the old and lay the foundation for the new power structures. Therefore, I find it important to point out that the argument of Pierre Bourdieu’s is still relevant today, as a reminder to those engaged in the contemporary power struggle – ‘public opinion is the opinion of those worthy of having an opinion’.

The Public speech project will try to imagine space beyond the deteriorating public discourse and research possibilities of (artistic) action and gesture replacing the outworn forms of language. I’m particularly interested in political potentials and consequences of activating the public space through the presence of the ‘collective body’. Assemblies of physical bodies, according to Judith Butler, have an expressive dimension that cannot be reduced to speech, for the very fact of people gathering “says” something. This implies a new understanding of the public space of appearance essential to politics.