The Dayton Palace
The Dayton Peace Agreement (1995) specifies, among other things, that Bosnia and Herzegovina should consist of two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska. The Dayton agreement has become the regulatory template for Bosnia and Herzegovina, a framework which stabilizes and determines our existence primarily through national division. Accordingly, the participation of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Venice Biennale reflects the Dayton Agreement rather than the current conditions in which various political, economical, social, and cultural relations are intertwined. Therefore, the Pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina inevitably introduces its two entities and their agendas to the Venice Biennale. Is the Dayton Agreement now in Venice?
Despite the inability of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska to agree on hardly anything in the country itself, they have managed to agree on the considerable shared costs of the pavilion in order to put Bosnia and Herzegovina on the map of the art world. At the same time, seven major national cultural institutions have been gradually deprived of funding and shut down due to their unresolved legal and financial status since the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement. In accordance with the politics of the two entities, rather than primarily relying on the professional conduct and competence, it was also decided that the two commissioners of this and any other future Biennale must each come from one of these entities.
Considering all these mechanisms at work, we are asking this question: Would it not be appropriate to make these issues transparent and, now and in the future, put two copies of the Dayton Peace Agreement on display at the Pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Venice Biennale?Amila Puzić and Anja Bogojević