Serbia, old and new media, videogames and teenage life
By fran ilich

I visited Beograd for the first time during 1999, right after the nato bombings with one idea on mind: play the war journalist, even tough i secretly knew the bombings where over and it was almost impossible that the lethal rain would resume. How i got there was completely cinematical, the borders were closed, and after circling the country, i found a loophole to the country: i would take a night train in sofia, bulgaria, and if pushed at the border i wouldnąt speak at all. I had a void visa, that is, the embassy had canceled a visa just after they issued it, but i knew being mexican i wouldnt need one. And i also knew being called ilich i could pass as a citizen of serbia, or at worst case, as a person from the diaspora looking for missing family members. Of course, i was none. Ilich is my middle name, not a family name. There i started a work about how teens had experienced war, which took me to research what was the influence of violent videogames in a society which had actually experienced war. It was in Beograd where i became an addict to Sid Meier Civilization. Needless to say i shot a lot of pictures of how life where in those days.

Enter 2000, election time in Serbia, and an email with editors from Wired News which where interested in an article exactly about the topic. I was there again, documenting teenage, presidential elections, media and videogames for a till then unfinished project which was morphing with every day it passed, but now i took a tour thru Croatia also.

Enter 2002, the project is to put an end to the project, land in Beograd and from there travel to the south, circling the whole of the ex-Yugoslavia from capital to capital plus the possibilty of making stops at countries like Bulgaria and Albania, in order to not cross borders which might mean a dead-end. We have to remember crossing from serbia to Kosovo is mainly a no-no, but if we arrive from either Macedonia (depending on timing) or Albania (safe).

The cities to visit would be Beograd, Skopje (in Macedonia), Pristina (in Kosovo), Podgorica (in Montenegro), Sarajevo (in Bosnia), Lubljana (in Slovenia), Zagreb (in Croatia), Novi Sad (In serbia), plus maybe Tirana (in Albania) and Sofia (in Bulgaria). And back to Beograd. The idea would be to documment the whole trip and research, both with audio interviews, video, and by weblog, adding hyperlinks and references to the whole experience. The pursuit of this trip is to see what is the life of teenage, their relationship with media and new media, plus their portrait in mainstream media and how that reflect their real worlds, their relation with videogames, the role of media-labs, the music they listen, their perspectives of lifes, subcultures.

I count with the support of several media labs, such as MAMA, (Zagreb), Kuda (Novi Sad), Cinema rex, plus a whole others to use their facilities. I would also create new media narratives of specific stories, which i canąt describe know, since i would have to first get the experience, plus actors or else.

2 specific cities to arrive:

(or Sarajevo)

Websites to check:

State of the arts (electronic literature organization symposium) biennale internazionale giovanni torino 2002-02-28 here i will present an interactive film, based on the life of 3 mexican post-teens

media in transition conference (mit) (i spoke there in 99, and will again in 02, altough the website is not uploaded yet)

borderhack (festival of hacktivism, plus online exhibition which was part of transmediale 2002)

sputnik magazine (where was editor for almost 2 yrs)

undo magazine and series of lectures (will change the version to full real player, plus daily updates... by now the series are televised using satellite)

personal website (weblog, movies, audio, etc)

wired contribution (edited a series of essays for this publication),1284,46234,00.html

ps, need any more info please dont hesitate to write!