Kierkegaard on Consumerism by Jasna Koteska (review) by Eric Ziolkowski (2017)

“Kierkegaard on Consumerism by Jasna Koteska”, review by Eric Ziolkowski, Helen H. P. Manson Professor of Bible and Co-Chair of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Studies Program, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania.

Published in Toronto Journal of Theology, 33(1), 2017, pp. 149–150 here
as "Kierkegaard on Consumerism by Jasna Koteska." 

Part of the review also available on Project Muse,

Jasna Koteska. Kierkegaard on Consumerism. Toronto and Ljubljana: Kierkegaard Circle and kud, Apokalipsa, 2016. Pp. 130. Paper, $15.00. isbn 978-1-988129-02-0.

A professor of literature, theoretical psychoanalysis, and gender studies at the University of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje, Jasna Koteska is a prolific Macedonian philosopher and writer with a special interest in nineteenth-century literature and philosophy. This latest of her monographs is an inaugural volume in the new series, Collection Aut, published by Apokalipsa (Ljubljana) and Kierkegaard Circle (Toronto). 

In her Introduction, Koteska asserts that this volume is meant to fill the gap resulting from the scarcity of books on Kierkegaard and economics, particularly his views regarding consumerism. 

She does not mention Eliseo Pérez-Álvarez's A Vexing Gadfly. However, aside from the [End Page 149] fact that Pérez-Álvarez's work is almost twice the length of Koteska's, the two books differ significantly in their approach. 

Arguing that Kierkegaard not only attended to economic matters, but did so in a way that can shed light on our current socioeconomic and political situation, Pérez-Álvarez limits his study to the ''second authorship'' of Kierkegaard, namely, his published writings from after Concluding Unscientific Postscript (1846) to his death (1855), and also his unpublished writings (most notably the journals and papers) from the same period. 

In contrast, Koteska concentrates mainly upon Repetition, though she also makes lesser use of a number of other writings from all periods of Kierkegaard's authorship: Either/Or (1843), Fear and Trembling (1843), Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Works of Love (1847), Christian Discourses (1848), as well as some of the late, signed polemics against ''Christendom'' (1854–1855).

Koteska's engaging book divides into three essays (''parts''), focusing respectively on the three existential stages whose psychological, emotional, and other dynamics and contours Kierkegaard's entire oeuvre charts: the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious. Drawing upon thinkers such as Hegel, Marx, Freud (above all), Agamben, and Žižek, as well as certain contemporary pop-culture figures (e.g., Marilyn Manson, on the power of television and religion [49]), Koteska approaches Kierkegaard as a witness to the dawn of modernity, who strongly ''oppose[d] the modern view that humans crave only agitation and desiring'' and contended with the question, ''How to resolve the paradox of accepting the world as changeable, yet avoiding the wrong choices which may amount to [the] piling up of the desire-based consumption, and vice versa, how to avoid the traps of automatization without freezing the world flux?'' (17). 


A conversation with Jasna Koteska on state relations and surveillance in Macedonia (2016)

A conversation with Jasna Koteska on state relations and surveillance in Macedonia.

This is a guest post by Jasna Koteska. Read Privacy International’s full report documenting stories of mass surveillance in Macedonia here.
What are the main similarities and differences between modern surveillance methods in Macedonia and those of the socialist period?
In all 46 years of communist Macedonia, the total official number of personal communist surveillance files is 14,572. Unofficial sources report more than 50,000 files. The number of direct ‘snitches’ in communist Macedonia was estimated between 12,000 and 40,000. In the present mass surveillance scandal, between 20,000 and 26,000 people were secretly wiretapped in the period of just several years since 2007.
Yugoslavia was a soft regime, but it was nonetheless built around subtle permanent political censorship. Prohibition was performed via the mechanisms of threat, and not as direct conflict. […] The bureaucratic apparatus in Yugoslavia was far more chaotic and far less thought through than is commonly believed. Much/all depended on the local small-town interpretations of the ideology. […]
The ideological-police nomenclature of Yugoslavia functioned in such a way that people were object and a target of the State, you had to know how to represent your socialist ideology, and the entire small town mentality was used to evaluate the ones who seemed suspicious.
In the present mass scale surveillance, the conversations reveal huge misuse of state power by the top government officials, everything: from elaborate electoral fraud schemes, taking bribes, blackmailing businesses, taking control over most of TV and printed media, imprisoning political opponents, exercising control over the judiciary system, allegedly gaining massive financial benefits, etc.
What is unique about the present mass surveillance scandal in Macedonia, for me, is that here the one displaying the wiretapped material is not a journalist (like Assange of Wikileaks), or an intelligence officer (like whistleblowers Chelsey Manning, Edward Snowden), but a top politician, a leader of the opposition.[…]


Balkans at the Crossroads: Between Democratisation and Authoritarian Tendencies (2015)

Panel: Balkans at the Crossroads: Between Democratisation and Authoritarian Tendencies (28 May, 2015)

Balkans at the Crossroads: Between Democratisation and Authoritarian Tendencies from RRPP Balkans on Vimeo.

Please consider the following two appearances in the video bellow at 00:11:31 and at 01:33:01.

Moderator: Andreas Ernst, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

For alternative views, go here:


Florian Bieber, Professor of Southeast European Studies, Director of the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, Austria

Danijela Majstorovic, Associate Professor of Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jasna Koteska, Professor of Literature, Gender Studies and Theoretical Psychoanalysis at the University Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje, Macedonia

Dimitar Bechev, Adjunct, London School of Economics, European Institute

Marko Kmezic, Senior researcher at the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, Austria

Vedran Dzihic, Senior researcher at the University of Vienna, Austria


Kierkegaard on Farce (2017)

Vermilion Journal of Literature and Arts, Sydney, Australia, is biannual, open-access, peer reviewed academic journal dedicated to publishing scientific research in the areas of literature and arts.

ISSN 2545-4277
Published in the 2nd issue (2017)

Free download pdf here 



Dual Nature of the Social Order

In 1840s Kierkegaard developed the idea that humans cannot even be sure if they believe at all. Ultimately they only believe that they believe.

Kierkegaard noticed the strange power of performativity in religious practices. Something strange happens when religion materializes, as it regularly sort of appears as a form of theater, or performance, or Posse (“I perform that I believe, therefore I believe”). Such performativity seems to be imbedded in social reality as well. Kierkegaard noticed that the social order, that maintains social harmony, is based on the dual nature of the laws: there is one publicly articulated law, but behind it, as a shadow, there is always the opposite obscene “law”. For example, a person spits on the street when no one is looking, runs a red traffic light, etc., in other words, a person would violate the law here and there, not as an act of resistance to the community, but paradoxically, in the name of the desire for imaginary identification with the “communal spirit.” 

Notice how no one believes that a family man is sexually satisfied; he must find a lover to convince the community that he has finally started enjoying himself. Other examples are the paradoxes around liberal and conservative upbringing. In the film, American Pie (1999), by Paul Weitz, the father is trying very hard to introduce his son to the secrets of sex, but paradoxically the father’s obscene behaviour only instills a feeling of shame in the son and a desire to retreat. The father would actually help the son if he would most conservatively forbid him to date girls, to which the son would respond with resistance. Or recall the screenplay disaster of Emmanuelle 2 (1975), from the erotic series about Emmanuelle by Giacobetti that followed after the married couple agreed to live in an open marriage. Another example is the behaviour of the adulterers themselves. When they are caught in flagrant adultery, they deny it with all their might because they intuitively know that an admission of adultery is a more dramatic blow to the relationship than the act of adultery itself. “If he/she is ready to admit, that means that he/she really does not love me.” 

If there is no prohibition and everything is allowed, then paradoxically, nothing is allowed, as Kierkegaard wrote. The paradoxes of these types are based on the fact that order is ambivalent and sends out contradictory signals. In an ideological world a dual law is always in play - the visible one (the allowed) and the hidden one (the obscene). Where does this split in the law come from, why is the law split in two and why is one thing propagated and another “obeyed?” That is because the law is not all encompassing; laws are insufficient and can never cover all areas of permissions and offenses.


2017 Goce Delčev Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Science

Goce Delchev Science Award, 4 May, 2017

The “Goce Delčev” awards for outstanding contribution in the field of science in the interest of the Republic of Macedonia were presented in the Macedonian Academy of Science and Arts on Thursday, 4th of May 2017 in Skopje, the Republic of Macedonia.

This year’s state award for scientific achievements were presented to three recipients, among them to professor Jasna Koteska, for her book Kierkegaard on Consumerism (The Aesthetic, the Ethical, and the Religious Reading. The book was published by Kierkegaard Circle, Trinity College, University of Toronto, and the Central European Research Institute Soeren Kierkegaard, Ljubljana.

Д-р Јасна Котеска за делото „Киркегард за консумеризмот (етичко естетско и религиозно читање)“, Д-р Ванчо Спиров за „Форензичка ДНК-анализа на забите“, Д-р Трајче Стафилов и Д-р Роберт Шајн за „Геохемиски атлас на Република Македонија“ се добитниците на државната награда „Гоце Делчев“ за оствраувања во областа на науката во 2016 година.


Nova TV

2017 Goce Delcev Award for Science


Kierkegaard on Consumerism (2016)

Author: Jasna Koteska
Title: Kierkegaard on Consumerism (The Aesthetic, the Ethical, and the Religious Reading)
Publishers: Kierkegaard Circle, Trinity College, University of Toronto
Toronto, Canada MSS THB
Central European Research Institute Soeren Kierkegaard, Ljubljana
KUD Apokalipsa

Date of Publication: September 2016
Language: English.

Copyright © Kierkegaard Circle, Central European Research Institute Soeren Kierkegaard Ljubljana, KUD Apokalipsa 2016
© Jasna Koteska
6 Hoskin Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
Central European Research Institute Soeren Kierkegaard Ljubljana
Ul. Lili Novy 25, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Number of pages: 130
20 x 12,5 cm, 142 g

ISBN: 978-1-988129-02-0

Where to buy it?
Go to this link

If you are in Canada, you can borrow the book at the Library of Trinity College, University of Toronto. Go to this linkThe book is indexed as B4378. E8 2016

Kierkegaard on Consumerism (The Aesthetic, the Ethical, and the Religious Reading) by the Macedonian author, Jasna Koteska, consists of three essays about consumerism in the works of the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), most notably in his book Repetition (1843). Each of the essays deals with the three stages of life according to Kierkegaard: the aesthetic, the ethical and the religious. There are few books about Kierkegaard and economics, and even fewer on Kierkegaard’s views about consumerism. This book is intended to fulfill that gap. Kierkegaard witnessed the beginnings of modernity and although he did not write about the capitalist issues, his greatest contribution to economics,besides his contributions to human psyche and religion, was his elaboration on the importance of individual choices and decisions, as he strongly disagreed with the modern view that humans crave only agitation and desiring.

Kierkegaard on Consumerism

Acknowledgements 7
Introduction 9

First Part: The Aesthetic 13
Second Part: The Ethical 29
Third Part: The Religious 83

Abstract 115
About the Author 117
Literature 120
Index 127


Contribution in "Critical Art in Contemporary Macedonia" (2016)

Book: Critical Art in Contemporary Macedonia
Editor: Jon Blackwood
Publisher: Mala Galerija, Skopje with the help of  the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland
Year: 2016
Contributor: Jasna Koteska, pp. 307-317.
ISBN 10: 6086598703
ISBN 13: 978-6086598709

See more about the book here
You can buy the book on Amazon here



JON BLACKWOOD: What Are Your Earliest Memories of Art?

JASNA KOTESKA: I have a twofold answer. 

On the one hand, I don’t believe there exists such a thing as earliest memories for each individual. Even if one starts to honestly enumerate the earliest lyrics one remembers, or colors, or scents, it would still be a lie. Humanity has long memory, but humans don’t. Freud has an article On Screen Memories and in it he says that earliest memories are always false.

When I positively claim I remember a given childhood scene, it is either a scene told and retold so many times by my parents, that I later adopted it as “my own” memory, or it is an event which took place in my adolescence, but I later “projected” it onto my earliest childhood, as on a screen, Freud says. We should not disregard his insights as psychoanalytical cynicism. The neurosciences of today offer multiple evidences that Freud was downright correct. Every time I remember a given episode from the past, neurosciences say, I am already erasing the previously existing memory, and forming a new one instead. The older the memory, the more twisted and reworked it appears to be. What constitutes my past are the mosaic pieces, tesserae, with which I “decorate” my personal history in order to be able to say that I, too, am “complete”, just like the rest of us. Which is a nice assemblage, but it has a little value regarding the truth of one's being. 

When people say “You can take away everything from me, but you cannot take away my childhood”, it is not without a certain irony that one of the things which people never truly posses, might be precisely their own childhoods.

On the other hand, your question is crucial for any discussion about art. Humanity does have earliest memories of art, only, they are not individual. One of my favorite documentaries, Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) by Werner Herzog, tells about the oldest human painted images yet discovered in the Chauvet cave, crafted some 32,000 years ago, twice as old as the Lascaux caves. The birth of art, I believe, is neatly connected to constituting a territory and then transcending it. Each territory is formed through lines, colors, and sounds -- precisely the three basic determinants of art in its pure state. However, the striking part of the film, for me, is that the painter left palm prints on the paintings, but on each prints the opposable thumb is missing. The most common artist of the Paleolithic is the one who has one or several fingers disfigured. One hypothesis says that young hunters were undergoing certain initiations, in which they were having their fingers cut off. But a second hypothesis says that if digits are missing, it is because it is a mythogram, it is meaningful; the artist is trying to tell us something; the artist wants to leave a testimony: everybody has five fingers, but I, the artist, must tell you that no perfect model exists; all that is complete is a lie. The only perfect model of a human is a human who is disfigured, incomplete, without the possibility to point to her completed identity, deprived of the possibility to tell her personal history, etc., just like Freud tells us. 

In the Chauvet cave the oldest artistic signature in the world is stored; that signature teaches us that art becomes art only when it deliberately leaves the territory, leaves the finger cut off, leaves the cave. Art is about leaving a thought, a memory, a habit, a value, a friend, a lover, an object, a finger, a territory. Leaving is not a gesture of selfishness; on the contrary, it is a selfless act. Appropriation is selfish, leaving is on the side of transition rather than death, it is about being out of stasis, and the artistry of leaving is something we learn from the Earth. People don’t know how to die because we rarely learn how to leave. Animals, on the other hand, seek a corner to die in, seeking a territory for death; they know when to leave places still hospitable, sites still livable.

Art is impossible without leaving. Take a look at Kafka, or Kierkegaard and their broken engagements. Or the colors in Van Gogh or Gauguin, the two greatest colorists: in their works, they employ color with greatest hesitation, Deleuze says, it took them years and years before being able to take on color, to consider themselves as worthy of color. Art is about leaving the known territory and going into the unknown, it goes with certain insanity; it is also a slow process of making a portrait of something one reaches for the first time. In the 19 century Van Gogh saw the starry nights as they were photographed only at the beginning of the 1930s by the first star trail photographers. Van Gogh was the first to leave the earthly gaze; with no technology and with a naked eye, to see for the first time the actual motions of starts in the night sky due to the rotation of the Earth. Recently I was amazed to learn to which extent the star trails of one of the greatest star trail photographers of today, Lincoln Harrison, resemble the Van Gogh’s Starry Nights paintings and drawings. Great art precedes science, it paves a path towards the deeper knowledge, and it is always by means of leaving. To your actual question, my earliest conscious memories of art would be, than, when I first learnt that once I would have to leave; when in something I recognized the biological reminder that there is an embedded necessity to depart.



Interview. Online Invisibility, the next trend on the internet (2017) in Macedonian

Интервју: Онлајн невидливоста ќе биде следниот битен тренд на интернет.

Разговор со Стојан Синадиновски
Објавен на Makfax/
Датум: 31 мај 2017

линк овде.

Летово покренувате своевидна акција на омасовување на психоанализата низ одржување бесплатни курсеви низ земјава. Зошто? Која е идејата?

Ова е се’ уште идеја во зародиш. Започна како иницијатива на студентите на Филолошкиот факултет кои слушаат изборен курс за теориска психоанализа кај мене. Се роди едно попладне пред крајот на академскава година, кога интензивно дебатиравме над еден текст од Фројд на тревникот во кампусот на УКИМ. Никој не сакаше да си оди дома, иако терминот за часовите одамна беше поминат, па решивме да продолжиме со неформални средби по учебната година. Форматот не е нов. Мислителите-добронамерници со вековите го култивирале мислењето надвор од академиите, каде мислењето е слободно и не го корумпира болеста на кариеризмот. Лично го замислувам како клуб за размислување околу теориската психоанализа. Како кога „Валден“ од Хенри Дејвид Торо би се сретнал со Фројд. :) Започнуваме штом заврши испитната сесија, на крајот на јуни или од септември.

Се има впечаток дека сте повеќе ценети и објавувате повеќе во странство отколку дома. Погрешен впечаток?

Ми се чини дека подеднакво ме има и дома и надвор. Впечатокот за поголемото присуство надвор веројатно се должи на последната книга, што ја пишував дирекно на англиски. Станува збор за супспецијалистичка студија за статусот на материјалните добра во опусот на данскиот филозоф и теолог од 19 век, Сорен Киркегард. Ми беше најлогично да ја напишам за публика што ќе знае поточно да ја процени и да ја употреби, ако во неа има нешто важно. Книгата излезе пред неколку месеци со Тринити Колеџот од Торонто. Во јуни излегуваат и првите рецензии од американски Кјеркегоријанци. Од тоа што го видов, тие го фалат истражувањето како ново и провокативно, а го критикуваат издавачот заради едитирањето. Лично бев пресреќна. Американските рецензенти се сурови, но прецизни и професионални, дури и кон своите издавачи и институции. За нив лажна позитивна критика е минус за нив самите. Како мала средина, ние сме навикнати да зборуваме во суперлативи за сечие дело. Но, во светот не е така.

Натпреварувањето на глобален терен е тешко, но дава поточен увид каде стоиш со својата работа. Овие децении се појавија успешни македонски писатели од дијаспората, кои пишуваат за македонската публика. Јас одлучив да направам обратно. Да останам дома и да пишувам за светот. Испадна дека може и така. Живееме во ера кога секој може да биде дел од некаков претпоставен глобален, модерен и мобилен „универзитет“, каде националните рамки се неважни пред делата.

Во мојот случај, никому не му беше особено важно тоа што сум атеист, што се занимавам со книжевност, психоанализа и родови студии, што не сум филозоф по тренинг, што не сум од Данска, итн. Ги интересираше само мојот продукт. Така го сфаќам културниот натпревар помеѓу луѓето, според визионерската теза на Гоце Делчев.

Ако во случајот со вашиот татко, поетот Јонче, станувало збор за „Комунистичка интима“, како што гласеше и вашата книга - инспирирана од работата на комунистичките тајни служби, кои досието за Јонче го насловиле „Интимист“, според интимната поезија што ја пишувал - како би го нарекле масовното тајно следење на комуникациите на граѓаните изминативе години?

Првите идеи што ми паѓаат на ум се пост-комунистичка интима, прото-комунистичка интима, можеби тоталитарна интима?

Ако во сите 45 години од македонскиот комунизам (1945-1991), тајните служби произвеле 14,572 официјални лични досиеа, или околу 50,000 досиеја (според неофицијални извори), тогаш следењето на над 20,000 граѓани во нешто над шест години (2007-2013), иако процесот веројатно траел и потоа, ние зборуваме за нова форма на „тоталитарна интима“. Таа се манифестирала преку масовна злоупотреба на државната моќ за прикривање убиства, уценување бизниси, создавање елаборирани мрежи за крадење на изборите, контрола над медиумите и судството, огромно лично богатење, итн. Веќе знаеме дека буџетот за ДБК во 2008 беше зголемен за 60 пати во однос на претходната година, иако во 2007 на земјава не и’ се закануваше никаква надворешна или внатрешна безбедносна криза.

Тајните служби, без исклучок, се формираат за контрола над т.н. „внатрешен непријател“, оние што власта ги прогласила за свои непријатели.


Jasna Koteska Bibliography 2011-2016

August 2015
(c) Goran Petrov

Jasna Koteska Bibliography 2011-2016
Јасна Котеска библиографија 2011-2016

For her selected 2005-2009 bibliography see here, and for 2007-2011 here.

BOOKS (2011-2016)

1. 2016. Koteska, Jasna. Kierkegaard on Consumerism (The Aesthetic, the Ethical, and the Religious Reading), Publisher: Kierkegaard Circle, University of Toronto and Central European Research Institute Soren Kierkegaard, Toronto-Ljubljana, September 2016. Language: English. ISBN 978-1-988129-02-0
2. 2015. Representation of Gender Minority Groups in Media: Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Editors: Tatjana Rosic-Ilic, Jasna Koteska and Janko Ljumovic, Biblioteka Collectanea, Publisher: Center for Media and Communications, Faculty of Media and Communications, Belgrade, December 2015, pp. 333. Language: English. ISBN: 978-86-87107-54-0
3. 2014. Koteska, Jasna. Communist Intimacy. New Academia Publishing: Washington DC, 10 March 2014, 323 pp. Language: English. ISBN 978-0-989916976 
4. 2013. Котеска, Јасна. Фројдовска читанка. Рана психоанализа 1893-1899. Култура, Скопје, 1 ноември 2013, pp. 862 Language: Macedonian ISBN: 978-9989-32-713-1 
5. 2012. Котеска, Ясна. Санитарна енигма, превод Станимир Панайотов, КХ-критика и хуманизам, София, 2012, 320 pp. Language: Bulgarian. ISBN: 978-954-587-160-3 

Communist Intimacy (2014) made it on to the European Society of Authors' Finnegans's List of 30 books for 2015.

Jasna Koteska
photo by Goran Petrov (c)
Malaysia, January 2017

ARTICLES (2011-2016)

1. "Gestovi i tela (Status gesta kod Kafke, Kjerkegora i Kundere", Sarajevske sveske, urednik Tatjana Rosic-Ilic, Mediacentar Sarajevo, No. 49-50, May 2016, pp. 79-92.
2. Critical Art in Contemporary Macedonia, edited by Jon Blackwood, Grays School of Art, Scotland; Carnegie Trust for the Universities in Scotland, and Mala Galerija, Skopje, 2016, pp. 307-317.
3. “Freud On the First World War”, book First World War, edited by Snezhana Dimitrova, Department of History, South West University “Neofil Rilski”, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, in print, first half of 2017.
4. „Телото како филолошка мапа (клиничките студии на Фројд како книжевен жанр)“ во: Интерпретативни стратегии, МАНУ, уред. акад. Катица Ќулафкова и проф. Наташа Аврамовска, Скопје, - во печат, во 2017.
5. „Историја и контекст на постмодерната во македонската литература“, во Зборник од XLVIII летна школа на Меѓународниот семинар за македонски јазик, литература и култура, Охрид, во печат, 2017.
6. „Книжевноста како наставен предмет (методички аспекти)“, Литературен збор, Скопје, бр. 1-3, 2016, 145-157.
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Gestures and Bodies (The Status of Gestures in Kafka, Kierkegaard and Kundera) - in Bosnian (2016)

Jasna Koteska
"Gestures and Bodies
(The Status of Gestures in Kafka, Kierkegaard and Kundera)", Sarajevske sveske, Mediacentar Sarajevo, No. 49-50, 20 maj 2016, pp. 79-92.
Language: Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian
ISSN: 1512-8539

Link to the text online.
You can download the Journal here.

(Status gesta kod Kafke, Kjerkegora i Kundere)
Jasna Koteska

Uvod: Da li gest pripada telu?

Roman Besmrtnost (1990), Milana Kundere, otvara se opisom gesta koji pravi glavna junakinja Agnes pri izlasku iz bazena. Narator na početku romana beleži dirljivu komičnost Agnese dok bezuspešno pokušava da natera ostarelo telo da se povinuje naredbama trenera za plivanje. Ali, odmah nakon izlaska iz bazena, okrećući se prema treneru, Agnes pravi gest odmahivanja rukom, koji služi kao inspiracija s kojim se otvara roman o besmrtnosti:

„Prošla je pored trenera i na tri-četiri koraka od njega okrenula je glavu prema njemu, osmehnula se i mahnula mu. Steglo mi se srce! Osmeh i gest pripadali su 20-godišnjoj devojci. Ruka joj se podigla sa začuđujućom lakoćom. To je bilo kao da baca u vazduh šarenu loptu da bi se igrala sa voljenim. Osmeh i gest imali su privlačnost i eleganciju, iako lice i telo nisu više posedovali nikakav šarm.To je bila privlačnost gesta koji je tonuo u neprivlačnost tela.“

Kunderin opis otvara kompleks filozofskih pitanja o odnosu gesta i tela. Ako jedno neprivlačno telo proizvodi privlačan gest, da li to znači da gest postoji nezavisno od tela? Da li gest pripada sferi univerzalnog, a telo sferi individualnog? Ako gestovi pripadaju čovečanstvu, da li to znači da je individualno telo samo „domaćin“, medijum, nosilac gesta? Da li je čovek prinuđen da bira iz određenog i konačnog broja gestova čovečanstva? Ili je, pak, sasvim obratno? Na svetu postoji beskonačno mnogo gestova, ali čovek odabira da koristi samo one gestove koji su društveno prihvatljivi.

Ako čovek koristi uniformne gestove, to radi jer kao nagradu dobija uključivanje u cirkulisanje ljudskih tela, no da li za kaznu, gubi samog sebe? I konačno, da li gestovi mogu da izumiru? Da li izumrli gestovi mogu ponovo da se vrate? Ili, pak, telo može da proizvodi svoje gestove? Studija koja sledi pokušaće da odgovori na dve grupe pitanja. Ontološka pitanja glase: Da li gest postoji nezavisno od tela? A ako gest postoji nezavisno od tela, ili čak i pre tela, tada, odakle dolazi gest? Kakav je ontološki status gesta? Da li je ljudsko telo samo proteza za gest? Da li je gest više primordijalan nego telo? Da li su gestovi arhetipovi koji samo koriste tela da bi se izrazili, da bi međusobno komunicirali? 

Epistemološka pitanja glase: Kakva je epistomološka vrednost gestova? Da li se gestovi prave samo zbog potrebe komunikacije, samo zbog raspodele znanja i osećanja? Ako je to tako, da li je u prošlosti postojalo beskonačno mnogo gestova koji su potom iščezli jer ih tela nisu koristila? Da li iščezli gestovi mogu ponovo da se pronađu, čak i ponovo rode? I konačno, koliko gestovi imaju potrebitost za telima da bi ona mogla komunicirati?

Tekst koji sledi pokušaće da odgovori na ova pitanja preko analize gestova kod serije autora, od Montenja (16. vek), Lesinga (17. vek), preko Kjerkegora, Tureta i Frojda (19. vek), pa sve do Kafke, Kundere i Agambena (20. vek).

Gest koji poništava telo 
(Kafka, 20. vek: Umetnik u gladovanju)

Čovek u ekstazi, ali i čovek koji se davi u vodi – oboje dižu ruke

Ovako piše Franc Kafka, autor čiji je opus književni eksperiment oko pitanja da li gest može da postane događaj. Kafka je zabeležio da se isti dramatični gest (dizanje ruku u vis) koristi za dve sasvim suprotne situacije, jednom da označi vrhunsku ekstazu, a drugi put da označi očajan poziv za pomoć. Zbog čega ljudsko telo raspolaže sa malim registrom telesnih signalizacija? Da li bi stvaranje novih gestova pomoglo čoveku da bolje komunicira sa kompleksnim duševnim stanjima? Maks Brod, najbolji Kafkin prijatelj, ostavio je svedočenje da je za Kafku sve bilo gest: „Ono što je Kafka najmanje posmatrao beše gestuis. Svaki gest je događaj – moglo bi da se kaže i drama – sam za sebe... (G)est je centar događaja.