SEZGIN BOYNIK

A theoretician and researcher based in Helsinki and Prizren. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Rab-Rab Press and a member of Pykë, a newly opened space for experimentation in Prizren. Sezgin has completed his Ph.D. in Yugoslav “Black Wave” cinema. He has co-edited Nationalism and Contemporary Art: Critical Reader (MM & Exit, 2007), History of Punk and Underground in Turkey (BAS, 2008), Noise After Babel: Language Unrestrained (Spector Books, 2015, with Minna Henriksson).
Sezgin’s recent publications include In the Belly of the Beast: Art & Language New York Project, Coiled Verbal Spring: Devices of Lenin's Language, Free Jazz Communism, Sickle of Syntax & Hammer of Tautology: Concrete and Visual Poetry in Yugoslavia, 1968 - 1983.

He is currently working on a project of translating Ilya Zdanevich's 'zaum' play Yanko, Krul Albanskaya, and on the translation of Karel Teige's book Art Market, to be published in collaboration with Contradictions Journal based in Prague. Sezgin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Rab-Rab Press in Helsinki (www.rabrab.fi).

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WHAT DID «S.DAWN» WRITES ABOUT THE EXPLOITATION OF KOSOVARS BY THE BOURGEOISIE?

The peasant, wrote Socijalistička Zora [Socialist Dawn] on November 7, 1920, «should know that in Kosovo it is about a state of criminals who want to live like parasites.» Is there bigger evidence, this communist newspaper asks about Kosovo and Macedonia than the fact that a few people have come to this site without a dinar and after six months have made such a fortune that they can give their daughters with several hundred thousand dinars the dowry?

«In the conditions of the most brutal rule and public plunder in the Yugoslav colony
(this is how «Socialist Dawn» refers to Kosovo and Macedonia) the ministers of today and yesterday came, just before the elections, to give promises to the poor of these parts, until they get their votes, then these same vicious people will ride again at the expense of the people. And so - wrote further «S.dawn», the poor of the ruined villages of this side will know and must know to whom they will give their votes».

«It seems to the bourgeoisie that the population of these parts, continued further the «Socialist Dawn», has forgotten the brutal attitudes and atrocities committed from 1912 until today and is counting that by removing the communist propaganda with a police baton, to steal the votes of the people».

This is from the Rilindja newspaper published on 9th of December, 1988, in Prishtina. This short entry published in serials of “little encyclopedia” is about the pre-history of the Yugoslav Communist Party, established in 1919. Socijalisticka Zora, or Socialist Dawn, was published in the Serbian language in Skopje as a weekly of YKP, covering mostly the socialist activities in Kosovo and Macedonia. It published over a hundred numbers in 1919 and 1920. During 1920, dozens of numbers were published in the Turkish language with Arabic letters as Sosyalist Fecri. The impact of the newspaper was so big that YKP enjoyed unprecedented popularity among the Albanian and Turkish population in local and parliamentary elections. The issue of Socijalisticka Zora is the single most important document reflecting on the genuine inter-nationalism of leftist movements in Kosovo and Macedonia.

It is an anomaly to read a little note on Socialist Dawn in the year when nationalist ideologies took over the socialist perspective. Was it a mere curiosity, a belated note, misplaced historical reminder, or a radical gesture of recalling the bright moments of modernism? Whatever the case, in the same entry, there is also a small note on the historical almanac, giving info, among others, on the third congress of the Yugoslav Communist Party held in Belgrade in 1923. This was when YKP started to acknowledge the “national” question as one of its main agendas.

In the late eighties when these notes appeared in Rilindja, Albanians in Kosovo were experiencing everyday humiliation and oppression, and labor exploitation was reaching the levels before the Second World War. In other words, Kosovo was becoming once more a “colony” of Yugoslavia. Kosovars opposed this reaction and backwardness with the symbolic values of socialist modernism. As every symbolic gesture, it dies out together with institutions giving them a moral legitimacy. Nevertheless, it is always good to remember them; either as symbols, values, institutions, modernities, or socialisms.

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This is from the second journal, the title saying: "Llausha, last night, at 6 PM".The second journal includes more familiar faces, gruesome images of violence and terror, dark entries, documents of riots and their oppression, but also flyers of underground parties, and a leaflet of Young Liberals of Kosovo about their "Liberal Party" in everlasting yellow-and-blue. The cutout of the photo of Llausha, a village in the North-East of Kosovo, is a poetic statement. It is an ambiguous image, does not document anything specific, but everything in the image is evidence of a crime, of the cul-de-sac. The whole heaviness of the nineties is distilled in this dark grey blur.