The Plot

The Plot, 2017-2021,9’43” (excerpt from video)

The Plot, 2021, 9’43’’

Art project The Plot was created in a span of three years and it consists of about 5,000 drawings that have been turned into a sound film by frame-by-frame animation. Fragments taken from various cinematographic achievements made during the period of Cold War by major film productions of “Western Powers” (USA, UK) are drawn on book sheets, maps and encyclopedias written and published during the same period in the territory of SFR Yugoslavia. Books and encyclopedias used as a background for the drawings have for subject theoretical reflections on the socialist system, while maps represent cartographic documents of cities, borders, states and continents from the same era. In this historical period, Yugoslavia was one of the few countries behind the “iron curtain” in which Hollywood movies, TV series, jazz, rock’n’roll and Coca-Cola were not only allowed but were an integral part of everyday life. American film, as the most massive form of artistic expression, entertainment, and often propaganda, played a special role in Yugoslav society, holding absolute dominance among foreign cinematography in domestic cinemas. Getting to know luxury, wealth and unconventional way of life through it, the ordinary man in Yugoslav socialism had the opportunity to dream the American dream in non-American conditions.[1] Growing up in the ruins of that system, in a period that could be characterized as an endless transition from one system to another, I realized that these extremes and contradictions defined my attitudes, hopes and views of the world around me.

Scenes of nightmares, escapes, chases, panic, fear and surveillance introduce the viewer to a collage narrative that points different levels of meaning and understanding through the prism of seemingly opposing ideologies. I wanted to accentuate the inextricable mix of political, social and cultural history through the contrast of ink, rough montage cuts and the tense sound from film score made by composer Pavle Popov.

Referring to the language of surreal film, the story follows a woman and a man who meet in their dreams. Together they try to avoid the coming cataclysm which often changes its form from war catastrophes (bombs, planes, explosions) to natural ones (big waves, fires, earthquakes). After waking up from their nightmares, heroes discover that they are trapped in the TV screens, doomed to endless watching of the film within the film within the film …

This project does not aim to produce a pre-defined conclusion but should provide the observer with a wide range of experiences.


[1] For more on this topic: Radina Vučetić, Coca-Cola Socialism: Americanization of Yugoslav Culture in the Sixties, Central European University Press, 2018

Mail: nemanja_nikolic@ymail.com