Rat Art: Croatian Independents

with Zev Asher
Thursday, January 28, 1999 - 7:00pm
Canadian filmmaker and musician Zev Asher will be on hand to introduce the U.S. premiere of Rat Art: Croatian Independents (Zev Ascher, 1997), his lively survey of underground and avant-garde artists in the former Yugoslav republic (and newly independent country) of Croatia. Shot during the duress of war, from 1994 to 1995, the film probes into histories left unexplored by conventional coverage of the conflict, opening out the psyche of a wounded country through its artists and their worlds. Many of these artists, working in the capital of Zagreb, were relatively distant from the war zone, while others fought at the front lines. Still, against the spoken and unspoken backdrop of a post-Communist Europe, each formulates his and her own peculiar, and often ironic, relationship to the war's effects on their nation. Asher's style effectively captures the spirit of his subject, as does his punningly appropriate title; "rat art" is not only suggestive of the subversive underground aesthetic on display here, "rat" also happens to be the Croatian word for war. Zev Asher, renaissance punk, has toured extensively and recorded several CDs with the avant rock group NIMROD and the experimental multimedia performance group ROUGHAGE. He works in different media, including a stint as a DJ/broadcaster at KISS-FM in Kobe, Japan. Rat Art is Zev's first foray into documentary film. He produced an accompanying CD-Rom as artist-in-residence at VFS multimedia, Vancouver Film School. And he has just completed a residency at Medialinx Habitat/Canadian Film Centre, Toronto, where he developed an interactive documentary, Gentle Subversion: The Canadian Psyche on Film.

Co-sponsored by Department of Art History