Zoran Đinđić was an intellectual and dissident, who became prime minister of Serbia after the fall of Slobodan Milošević. Đinđić was born in 1952 in Bosanski Šamac (today part of Bosnia and Herzegovina). He grew up in Travnik and Belgrade, where he finished both primary and secondary school. Đinđić’s first conflict with the law happened when, as high school student, he proposed to erase the name of Josip Broz Tito from the Constitution of SFR Yugoslavia. He was taken to the police and his typewriter was taken away.
Fascinated with the Black Wave in Yugoslav cinematography, he wanted to study directing. However, he did not succeed in enrolling at the Academy for Theatre, Film, Radio and Television. He subsequently began studying civil engineering but soon dropped out. Finally, he dedicated himself to philosophy and graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade in 1974. During and immediately after his studies, he was active in the Student Union of the Faculty of Philosophy and in informal groups of the radical left. Because of his engagement at the gathering of students at the Faculty of Philosophy in Ljubljana in 1974, where a draft resolution of a leftist critique of the socio-political conditions in the country was debated, Đinđić was arrested. Six people were put on trial. Đinđić was convicted and sentenced to a year in prison, but never served. Under pressure from the international public, but also due to the agenda of the Yugoslav state to preserve the reputation of Tito, who was at the time a Nobel Peace Prize candidate, none of the six sentenced served time in prison. The conviction, nonetheless, influenced Đinđić’s search for a new job afterwards, and it impacted his decision to leave Yugoslavia at the beginning of 1977, to pursue postgraduate studies in Germany under Jürgen Habermas in Frankfurt.In 1979, Đinđić obtained his PhD in philosophy at the University of Konstanz, where he subsequently started his academic career. During his stay in Germany, he slowly shifted from radical leftist ideas to ideas of civic democracy, which played a role in his later political engagement. Throughout his stay in Germany, Đinđić followed the situation in Yugoslavia, where he returned in 1990. He became one of the founders of the Democratic Party, the first political party created in Serbia after the introduction of a multiparty system.
During the 1990s, Đinđić was a prominent leader of the opposition, and in 1997, he briefly served as mayor of Belgrade. During the revolution in Serbia, in October 2000, he was the key leader of the opposition. After the fall of Slobodan Milošević, Đinđić became the first democratically elected prime minister of Serbia in 2001. After two years in power, Đinđić was assassinated on March 12, 2003 in front of the building of the Serbian Government.
Zofia Łuczko (1963) collaborated as an artist with the Łódź Kaliska group and the Pitch-In Culture milieu. She is the documentalist and the custodian of the archives of both formations. She joined the Łódź neo-avant-garde milieu at the beginning of the 1980s.
Łuczko studied architecture in the years 1982-1989 at the Łódź University of Technology, where she met Marek Janiak, a lecturer and also the key theoretician of Łódź Kaliska and the Pitch-In Culture. As early as in spring 1983 Łuczko started to attend the meetings of the Pitch-In Culture. Soon she also joined the Łódź Kaliska group, which constituted an important component of the Pitch-In Culture.
In the highly masculine society of the Pitch-In Culture Łuczko was not only a documentalist and a coordinator, who used café napkins to put down her colleagues’ thoughts, collected their notes, animated their meetings, but also a full-fledged artist. Her “cunt paper cuttings”, created since 1984, were symbolic representations of labia embellished with decorative abstract and plant motifs. In a decade, in which Polish art was dominated by male communities and strong androcentrism such bold albeit jocular works on female sexuality were extremely rare.
Establishing Zocha’s Gallery (U Zochy in Polish) in her private apartment in December 1986 was a particularly significant initiative. Although the gallery lasted just for half a year it hosted several exhibitions, and most importantly, it became as a meeting place and a day-room for artists and friends from the former The Attic (Strych) community. When Włodzimierz Adamiak, the owner of The Attic, put an end to cultural activities there and proceeded to use the space for his accommodation, the Pitch-In Culture community found haven at Zocha’s.
As Łuczko frequently posed for photographers from Łódź Kaliska and the Pitch-In Culture, she was proclaimed the first “muse” of Łódź Kaliska (later on other women were declared as “muses” as well). Nonetheless, Łuczko was in fact (although not officially) a member of the group on par with her colleagues, not just merely a model or an animator. She withdrew from artistic activities in 1990s to dedicate herself to family life and pursue gainful employment.
During the Martial Law period and later in the 1980s, same as other members of the Pitch-In Culture, Łuczko joined an informal network of underground artists. Although the Pitch-In Culture, including Łuczko, was subjected to state surveillance and without a doubt had the reality of police state affect practices and ideas, the Culture tended to refrain from political engagement and did not have direct links to political opposition groups.
In 2012, at the insistence of her Łódź Kaliska colleagues, Łuczko decided to digitalise the archival materials she gathered throughout the years. Along with her husband and her son Łuczko runs the City of Culture Foundation (Fundacja Miasto Kultury), which supported the launching of a webpage that presents the rich heritage of the Pitch-In Culture. Until this day Łuczenko remains its custodian and participates on regular basis in the meetings dedicated to the legacy of radical art of the 1980s.
- Łódź , Polska
- London, United Kingdom
She donated some items to the European Solidarity Centre in Gdansk, eg. a rosary made of bread by a prisoner in Potulice penitentiary.
- Gdańsk, Poland
Jaroslav Šabata was born on November 2, 1927 in Dolenice, near Znojmo. At the time of the war, Šabata studied at grammar school in Brno. He graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy at Masaryk University in Brno, where he obtained a doctorate in 1952. From 1951 he worked as an assistant in the Department of Psychology, which was gradually transformed into the Marxist-Leninist Institute. In 1968 he became the head of the Marxist-Leninist Institute. He attempted to form an oppositional anti-Stalinist orientation in the Communist Party from the outset of his political activities.
In July 1968 he became the secretary of the Regional Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party in Brno. At the Vysočany Congress of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, on August 31, 1968, he expressed his positive opinion on the capitulating attitude of Czechoslovak political representation. In 1969, after his suspension from the Communist Party, he began to work in a manual labour position on the railway. In November 1971, he was arrested and accused of subverting the Republic and sentenced to six and a half years in prison. When the Chairman of the British Communist Party arrived in Czechoslovakia, Jaroslav Šabata wrote open letters to both him and Gustav Husák. The letters were smuggled from prison and published in foreign journals. Even for this Šabata was prosecuted, but the prosecution was halted after half a year. The purpose of these letters was to show that the opposition was not silenced nor stopped by being sent to prison. He was released in December 1976. Šabata and others were released without having apologized for their actions. Šabata demanded that the court put on record that he did not apply for mercy because he was unlawfully sentenced and that he would continue to fight for his inalienable right to express himself freely. The judge replied that he would do that better while at liberty. Šabata claimed that his half-amnesty was a political gesture made by the regime to improve its reputation.
Shortly after the release, he signed Charter 77, which had just begun to spread, and in 1978 he became its spokesman after Jiří Hájek. After signing Charter 77, he started collecting signatures from his prison friends and other contacts in Brno. He was arrested again on October 1, 1978, when he tried to meet Polish dissidents at the Czech-Polish border. He was imprisoned until December 1980. He actively entered politics after 1989. He was among the first members of the Civic Forum, then joined the ODS (Civic Democratic Party) and later he joined Social Democracy. He was active in politics until the end of the 20th century. In 2002 and 2003, he taught at the Faculty of Social Studies - the Department of Psychology of Masaryk University in Brno and then worked for two years as an external teacher.
Jaroslav Šabata remains a controversial figure even today; his opponents claim that he was always a Communist, and his activity under Charter 77 was simply to save himself in a collapsing regime. However, the fact remains that Šabata did a great deal of work for Charter 77 and its dissemination.
- Brno, Czech Republic