Negative October Salon: Overtime Boycott

Negative October Salon: Overtime Boycott is a work developed in the context of the 59th October Salon. The work presents a negative version of the announcement and introductory text of the first October Salon that opened in Belgrade on October 20, 1960. Using Negative Poetry software, the text is computer generated and then minimally edited by the artist.

All negative translations can be viewed as a vector space. The way we choose to negate a word is dependent on which aspect of the thing signified we want to invert. In other words, the zero point of the vector space is a word/phrase we want to translate and the potentially infinite directions of from it represent the aspect of its meaning we want to negate (also taking into consideration the larger network of meanings and word-relations).

In this work, October is negated into overtime based on the vector of time that is delimited – to the month or to paid/unpaid work. Similarly, the salon is negated on the basis of the gathering vector; its negative becomes – boycott. Boycott as a sign of rejection and withdrawal from commercial or social relations in a communal and/or individual act, is opposed to a salon whose purpose is gathering for entertainment, knowledge exchange and/or socio-commercial benefit.

Part of NP v1.0, this custom made software is updated to translate texts from Serbian to English, further translating then into negatives using the database of the Oxford English Dictionary, by using word antonyms and synonyms, and translating them back into Serbian.

Software programming by: Miloš Grujić, web: Katarina Petrović. Supported by Oxford English Dictionary (researcher access) and Cultural Centre of Belgrade

The work is part of the October Salon Collection since 2023.

Installation view: 59th October Salon, Kula Art Hub Belgrade (27 Oct – 04 Dec 2022)

Website view: Negative October Salon: Overtime Boycott (2022)

Newspaper design for daily paper Danas, published on 20 October 2022 (exactly 62 years since the first Salon opening)

The October Salon

The October Salon was founded in 1960 by the City of Belgrade as an annual exhibition of the best art works in the field of fine and applied arts, following the example of the Paris Salons exhibitions. During its history it has changed the concept and forms of organization, but it remained a strong challenge to the creative mind and an important reference point of the Serbian, regional, and since 2004, when it became international, also the international art scene. October Salon takes place every year between September and December, lasts for six weeks, has no permanent exhibition space but each time choose one regarding the availability and concept of the art director / curator.