Ivan Tasovac, Director of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra: Theory leads us nowhere – Culture without audience is meaningless


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In his typical humorous but critical manner, Ivan Tasovac talks about the current situation in the Serbian culture, the complacency and theoretical approach that dominates over the practical one, as well as about the lack of objectivity in critics and their pretentiousness.

Culture completely absorbs you! When you begin to engage in culture, you have literally dedicated your life to its preservation. Without such people there would be no culture around the world. Sport used to be the best representative of our country, so we frequently talked about sports diplomacy. After this came the tennis diplomacy. Now that cultural diplomacy has emerged, we still have a lot of work to do. First, we need to define what cultural elite is. Unfortunately, I would be very cautious about defining what cultural elite is because today anyone who wakes up in the morning can feel like a part of the cultural elite and present themselves as such in social media. Since there are many subjectively perceived critics and pretentious individuals, it would be good if we had more objective parameters for criticism of everything – from art to dance. Most critics in this country remind me of theoretician mistresses. You can clearly see from their critique who is on good terms with whom rather than what is the event that is the subject of the critique really like. We do have ‘cultural products’ but we need to promote them.

Culture is something that changes the perception in society. It’s just a matter of how quickly it does that. Culture without audience is a private party, and we should not forget that our mission is to serve the community by creating a new audience through concrete products and actions. We live in a digital age that changes so fast that our knowledge and legislation cannot catch up to it. Anyone who based their strategy on Facebook a year ago proved to be a fool given the changes on Facebook that happened in the meantime.

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