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Miroslav Zivanov – Artist Interview

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Author Jo Mcleish - The Media Room

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Tell us about yourself, where are you from? And what do you like to do in your spare time?

I am 27 years old and I come from Serbia. I studied for an undergraduate degree in Scene Architecture, Technique and Design and then for a Master’s degree in Scene Design. Since then I’ve worked on several theatre designs and films.

I am really interested in space as a narrative – it helps to tell a story. I see potential in all spaces. I am also interested in graphic design as it helps me give voice to my thoughts.

What I like to do in my spare time is to spend time with my friends, watch movies and read. I am currently reading a book about space and lighting in theatre.

Tell us about your practice, what’s your favourite piece you’ve worked on, or performed?

Because of both my degrees, I have learnt a lot about the process of designing a theatre set, from sightlines, the use of props and décor, through to the relationship between the stage and auditorium.

But, I live in a country which offers very little artistic opportunities. Thinking about my favourite piece of work, I’d have to look back at a piece I designed for my Bachelor’s degree. It was called Grey Gardens and it helped me to really understand the relationship that you can create between the audience and what they see on stage.

What opportunities do you see in the LIBERTY EU programme for young artists?

This pandemic reminds us all how important communication and human connection really is. I think LIBERTY EU is a great opportunity to show what I can do, for all of us to share what we believe in.  It’s a platform for us artists to present what art actually means to us. I see LIBERTY EU as a modern-day cornerstone of connection, of friendships and of networking on an international level.

Why do you feel it’s important for young artists to be able to travel and work across Europe?

Where I live, things always seem to come a bit ‘late’, in comparison to the rest of the world – by that I mean exhibitions and performances. I never get to see things when they are first produced. I have to rely on social media platforms. Any live work always seems a bit distant and inaccessible. That’s why travel to other countries is so important. We have so many talented young people – so much to say and share, and that’s why freedom of movement is important in order to showcase this young talent. Travel also helps you to step out of the ordinary, to learn and familiarise yourself with new disciplines. And we should also remember that travel helps to create memories and emotions which is vital to artists’ inspiration.

What do you feel are the 3 key factors affecting young artists today?

I think it’s a tough but rewarding industry, so you need to show persistence and courage. And you need to stay true to yourself, regardless of success or failure.

I think for me, it’s a hard industry to break into – specifically theatre design.  It’s almost as though you have to beg in order to be given a chance, even if it’s just to assist- and not design the set yourself. Yet again, assisting can only get you so far. Which is rather odd, giving that we’ve spent a great amount of time in education for that specific job.

All of this is why networking is so important and why projects such as LIBERTY EU are so vital. It creates a window of opportunity, gives way to a bit of fresh air, so to speak.

Do you think that Brexit will impact on artistic relationships?

That’s an interesting question.  We already have so much dedication, energy and motivation which I hope isn’t lost.  Serbia is not in the EU, so it’s not something that will affect me and my practice. Besides, art helps to navigate through complicated issues such as politics, calls for change and unity and it can instil a sense of togetherness. Its boundaries are not easily drawn, and are constantly changed and moved. I’m rather curious to see how artists will react to the undeniable drawbacks of Brexit in the form of human suffering.

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