The Big machine art, performances/videos, 2009/10










Reviews written by:









How Long Do I Need To Be Patient?

Having finished with the project “The Big Machine Art” and enduring a longer period of agony without employment, I came up with the idea of applying for a job in the Arcelor Mittal company in Prijedor, which exploits iron ore. Getting a job in a company such as that equals winning a lottery. A challenge!
How does one apply, gets selected and separated from the crowd of applied candidates with different working and life experience, and of course, connections?
What could one do to be admitted to such a company and ensure a bare existence?
Send a letter to the general manager - Mr Murari.
How to make him notice the letter?
Put the video performace disks in the envelope.
I took the letter into the mine HQ and asked a girl there to hand the letter in person to Mr Murari himself.
I wasn't sure that the letter would get to him by a standard procedure. The procedure would begin with a doorman, clerks, various bosses, secretaries, and several other sector managers. Who could wait for all that? There was a chance of someone stopping the procedure.
In marketing terms, it had been a good manoeuvre, was what went through my head then; find a pretty looking employee girl there who would give the letter, since I had been certain that in the least she could divert the attention with her looks, and thus, like any man, Mr Daddy (Murari) would open the delivery out of curiosity.
Done, just as it was planned!
By the good old habit I thought about how many days, months, years would take them to sound off, i.e. reply to the letter. The usual practice in the Balkans said that would happen NEVER!
A couple of hours later.
The phone rang, an unknown number.
I picked up.
Predrag from the mine HQ kindly asked a few questions about the letter and what I had wanted with it.
I said that I was looking for work. Emotions stirred up, the joy, tremor..
Predrag told me that Mr Murari was amazed by the videos, more precisely, by my excavator handling skills. A few more praises ensued and in the end the standard “WE’LL CALL YOU BACK”.
About ten days had passed after that, nothing happened. I began losing all hope and tried to get a job in a few other companies.
Without success.
After almost two months, again NOTHING. An empty stride.
The phone rang!
HQ again. I was greeted by a pleasant female voice. Was I Miroslav Stakic, who had sent the videos? I replied yes. The pleasant voice asked my to bring my employment booklet and report to the doctor's for a checkup as soon as possible.
I still work there... 21.11.2012.


Miroslav Stakić




The Synergy of the Incompatible

Not many will be enlightened and reborn when told that in order to achieve success in the everlasting sphere of creation, they are going to need to make a working combination of that which cannot be combined, i.e. the concrete elements of the mutually exclusive entities will have to be united and work as one of a kind, unique and cohesive unit.
Those who start thinking about this in terms of searching a needle in a haystack won’t make much of a mistake either.
However, standing in front of a such masterpiece often results in an utterly and completely baffled state of mind causing an unwitting turn of a blind eye to that which should be drawing a little bit more than a few pats on the back and some words of praise. Nevertheless, the task of understanding the aim of an artist's work sometimes might even elude the trained eye of an expert as well.
“I admit that the performative series under the name “The Big Machine Art” from the author Miroslav Stakić, represents a complete cognitive challenge for me,..” (Bundalo, 2011. p. 1)
I am a little bit ashamed to admit that taking the role of a mere spectator in Miroslav Stakić’s project “The Big Machine Art” ( has prompted me to ignorantly do nothing significantly more than what was mentioned in the past paragraph. Thus, I hope that this humble review becomes a little more than just my two cents to Stakić’s remarkable feat and in some way aspire to be a sort of inspiration to those wishing to encourage Stakić with more than just words.
What lies beyond the 6-part video presentation of “The Big Machine Art”?
Experienced and professional artists, unlike myself, may find the answer to this complex question in three great, in-depth academic reviews on the project, written by the people who, in their own way, managed to unveil the mysteries behind Stakić’s performance. You might ask yourself then qui bono is this review of mine. Broadly speaking, it should serve as a general gist for the wider masses, from the perspective of an ordinary layperson.
First and foremost, this artistic performance of Stakić per se represents just a simple drawing of a portrait. However, unlike a plethora of other works of art out there, we have a situation where the sole product is not the key here, but rather, the means which took part in its creation and perhaps more importantly, the working process. Of course, as with virtually every other work of art, there is more to it that meets the eye.
The first element which completely gets hold of the viewer’s attention is the means partaking in the project. A blank paper, a brush, some paint, and an excavator. It is by those means alone, i.e. by their unlikely connection itself that the artist managed to conceive the integral part of what was being said in the very first paragraph, on his way to creating something huge. Again, what he did manage to create, though, is not to be undervalued, as it stands for something more than a paper with something drawn on it.
“Volvo EC240 represents Stakić’s response and a way to survive yet simultaneously create in a very special and unique way, which is, as we must admit, rather emphatic, courageous and daring” (Terzić, 2011. p. 5).
The robust, gigantic machine being put completely out of its natural surroundings, as Terzić elaborates, does more than being just a tool in the process for Stakić. It is his own answer and retaliation to what seems as an extraordinarily difficult life of a talented artist in a poor, decadent and harsh surroundings.
“However, by using those enormous tools of work, the author has demonstrated and proven that it is possible to dismantle the actual function of an excavator or a bulldozer and use it to create his own artistic expression or concept”. (Bošnjak, 2011. p. 3)
Igor Bošnjak very effectively acknowledges the hidden nature of the excavator’s usage in this matter. Managing to tame the mechanical beast and entirely subjugate its very aim and purpose, Stakić has shown us that unbeatable can be beaten and uncontrollable controlled: more precisely, his usage of a gigantic machine in order to perform such a delicate task as drawing, in general terms, sets the equation of managing the other, unlikely means and tools for the pro bono publico and personal enlightenment and satisfaction.
Secondly, what impresses the ordinary spectator is the sole unorthodox method and the way in which the performance was executed. The soft, careful movements of the giant excavator’s bucket with the brush attached to it has such a natural flow that it, in truth, reminds one of the skillful and graceful movements of the professional artist at work. Furthermore, Stakić himself looks to be in perfect control of the prerequisites necessary for such a daunting task: calmness, precision and focus appear to have reached their highest peak here.
“In this performance, the author uses both the machine and his body as objects of the work of art. In biological, psychological and social sense, the author's body and the machine become means, material and bearer of designation, work, action and notion. Particularly, the author doesn't deal here with simple performances and realization of a visual unit; he deals with concrete physiological, psychological and behavioral situations”. (Bošnjak, 2011. p. 3)
A trained eye, nevertheless, spots an entire string of hidden meanings at work. One of those, according to Bošnjak, is a specific connection between two different and opposing entities: human (author's) body and the metallic body of the machine. Bošnjak aims at the fact that what Stakić had to incorporate here is the complex process of transcending one's mind into the sphere of pure sensation and psychological balance so as to perform effectively. Contrary to that, his will is being constantly hampered by the mere robustness of the colossal machine and the very notion of the entity itself, contradicting its own usage in the process.
In the very essence of metaphysics and nature, Stakić has succeeded in distorting the reality in an original fashion, and in figurative terms, establish a short-term harmony between nature and chaos, law and anarchy, balance and imbalance and ultimately, life and death.



Vedran Cvijanović
Sources used:

Bundalo, Mladen: Converging?, Prijedor 2011.
Bošnjak, Igor: A Man or Machine, Prijedor 2011.
Terzić, Predrag: Of Difficulty and Easiness, Prijedor, 2001.
web site:


copyright 2011/12