Dejan Kaludjerović in collaboration with Marija Balubdžić, Bojan Djordjev, and Tanja Šljivar

Conversations: I don’t know that word … yet (2021)
Opera performance

Expressions and Other Curiosities (2021)
Concertante teaser to the opera performance

In his first ever opera production, artist Dejan Kaludjerović teams ups with composer and musician Marija Balubdžić, theater director Bojan Djordjev, and author and librettist Tanja Šljivar to ask how children interpret today’s complex political reality.

Since 2013, Dejan Kaludjerović has been developing the Conversations series, having interviewed, so far, forty-nine children in seven countries for a total duration of approximately twenty-two hours. Each time, a series of about fifty questions is asked on political issues such as social exclusion and inclusion, foreigners, language, isolation, war, money, poverty, work, and so on. Each Conversation, shown in site-specific sound installations, turns into a litmus test for the society where it was created. In this new version of his ongoing project, the witty, hilarious, poignant, and insightful answers of children are taken as material for an opera, performed by four adult performers of different musical backgrounds. Their voices are mixed with samples from the original interviews, turning them into beats, chords, and soundscapes, the music ranging from pop and house to hymnic, burlesque, full-scale “operatic” and back.

Dejan Kaludjerović (1972, Belgrade, Yugoslavia) is an artist whose paintings, drawings, objects, videos, and installations explore the conjunction between consumerism and childhood. His work is often collaborative—sometimes directly with children—and recycles and reenacts elements of collectively shared consumer culture. Kaludjerović has exhibited internationally at numerous solo and group shows in Europe, the USA, Australia, and Asia, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; Weltmuseum Wien (solo); 6th Athens Biennale; 6th Moscow Biennale; and Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei. He lives in Vienna.

Marija Balubdžić is a musician who performs under the alias Umbra. Her music fuses improvisation and composition, electronics, keyboards, and voice, focusing on sound interventions and poetic experiments. Balubdžić has been working individually and as a part of various collectives since 2000. Studies of classical music, public rehearsals, international concerts and tours, home production and vocal workshops have sometimes been left to oblivion, and occasionally recorded, both as official and unofficial releases. As a member of Efemerne Konfesije (Ephemeral Confessions), a drag collective in Belgrade, she is developing the character of the virtuoso pianist Fritz Klein. She lives in Belgrade.

Bojan Djordjev (1977, Belgrade, Yugoslavia) is a director and performance maker. By inquiring into collective authorship, postdramatic performance, and the political and artistic legacies of the Left, he uses theater as a tool to address contemporary issues of economy, politics, and critical art theory. His works have been shown in Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, New York, Shanghai, Vienna, Zurich, Zagreb, Rijeka, Ljubljana, and many other places. Directing credits include performances based on works by Hervé Guibert, Elfriede Jelinek, James Joyce, Goran Ferčec, and Ivana Sajko, and three operas including Les Enfants terribles by Jean Cocteau and Philip Glass. He is a cofounder and member of the editorial collective of the TkH (Walking Theory) platform and the Journal for Performing Arts Theory. He lives in Belgrade.

Tanja Šljivar (1988, Banjaluka, Yugoslavia) is an author and playwright. Her full-length plays tackle the topic of borders—both of countries as well as of the dramatic medium. She also writes short stories, radio plays, screenplays for short films, and theater theory texts. Her play So wie alle anderen Draufgängerinnen auch was nominated for the Retzhofer Dramapreis in 2017. Tanja Šljivar has won several awards for her plays, which have been translated into English, German, French, and Hungarian. She lives in Belgrade.


Expressions and Other Curiosities
Teaser (as part of the festival opening)

Duration: 12 min.

8020 Graz
♿ Venue accessible for wheelchairs

Google Maps

10.9., 19:00
11.9., 14:00, 19:00

Conversations: I don’t know that word … yet
Opera Performance

In German and English

Duration: ca. 70 min.

Steiermärkisches Landesarchiv
Karmeliterplatz 3
8010 Graz
♿ Venue accessible for wheelchairs

16/12 euros

12.9., 19:00

Norbert Artner Park (guest performance Klagenfurt Festival)
9020 Klagenfurt am Wörthersee

Performance: Zoja Borovčanin, Lisa Cristelli, Christoph Gerhardus, Sebastian Hiti
​Conception and visual creation: Dejan Kaludjerović
Directed by Bojan Djordjev
Music: Marija Balubdžić
Libretto: Tanja Šljivar, based on Dejan Kaludjerović’s scripts originating from his interviews with children from Baku, Belgrade, Graz, Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Tehran, Vienna, and Vladikavkaz, used in the work Conversations he has been producing since 2013
Costumes: Vesna Kracanović
Sound: audiotope studios (Andreas Kapfer and Stefan Könighofer)

Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ʼ21

With the kind support of Klagenfurt Festival