Nika Autor in cooperation with Newsreel Front presents Red Forests

16 May – 25 June 2023

MSU Black Box (1st floor of the Museum of Contemporary Art)

Curators: Dina Pokrajac and Leila Topić

The razor wire is one of the most gruesome symbols of fortifying the borders of the European Union. Unlike barbed wire which is designed to prevent movement, the razor wire was created using galvanized steel with the sole intention of maiming. Thousands of people on the move have lost their lives while trying to bypass the borders of the European Union by drowning in the Mediterranean Sea, suffocating in the trucks of smugglers or perishing on the razor wire that surrounds Europe.

Nika Autor, a young Slovenian multimedia artist, explores and shows us the destinies of people on the move in her project created in collaboration with the Newsreel Front collective. By applying cinematic means of expression, her films tell the stories of asylum seekers, arousing solidarity, understanding and empathy in the viewer. The exhibition contains several short films in the form of newsreels, alluding to the once popular form of short documentary films which presented news and current topics. It also refers to Yugoslav newsreels as part of a subversive documentary and essayist film practice, which were a rare but important form of political film.

The project Red Forests, opening on May 16, shows her films in a dialogue with texts and visual interventions of internationally recognized artists, curators and theorists of visual culture (Andrej Šprah, Nace Zavrl, Petra Meterc, Olga Dimitrijević, Jurij Meden, Nicole Brenez, Bojana Piškur, Tom Holert, Hito Steyerl, Nataša Petrešin Bachelez, Đorđe Balmazović and Nika Autor), which are presented in the special collection If the Forests Could Talk, They Would Dry Up with Sadness published by Slovenska Kinoteka.

The exhibition is part of the Cinematographies of Resistance project and a multiannual collaboration between the Subversive Festival and the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, which was launched in 2018 by curators Dina Pokrajac and Leila Topić. Cinematographies of Resistance represent international film authors whose work is created at the intersection of strategies and practices of contemporary art and film. Cinematographies of Resistance are interested in authorial positions that resist mainstream canons and are characterized by intermediality and intertextuality of approach, openness to different engaged topics, and finding new models against established ways of thinking about film and multimedia art. Works and video installations by artists Maud Alpi, Sabina Mikelić,  Nicole Hewitt and Jasmina Cibic have so far been presented as part of the Cinematographies of Resistance.

Exhibition production: MSU Zagreb, Subversive Film Festival, Newsreel Front

Exhibition scenography: Mojca Črešnik, Zgradbazamisli

The project was supported by: Slovenian Cinematheque, ZRC SAZU (Scientific Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts)

We thank: Koroška Art Gallery, +MSUM Ljubljana, Petra Čeh, Ženja Leiler and Bojana Piškur

The program was realized with the support of the City of Zagreb, the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, HAVC and Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Zagreb.

Nika Autor completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana and her doctorate at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Her artistic practice is based primarily on experimental video works and documentaries, film essays, photography, collages, drawings and spatial video installations. The focus of her work is the investigation of  invisibilities/inaudibilities in relation to hidden topics from the forgotten, repressed past and silenced present. Her works problematize migration policies, labor rights and memory politics. She is part of the Newsreel Front collective, an informal collective of workers from the field of film theory and artistic practice.

Her works have been presented in numerous international museums, galleries and festivals: 57th Venice Biennial, Jeu de Paume; MAXXI Rome; Stanford University; MSUM+MG, Museum of Contemporary Arts Ljubljana; MIMA, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art; Tokyo Photographic Art Museum; GARAGE, Museum of Contemporary Art Moscow; TIFF Cinematheque, Toronto International Film Festival; IFFR, International Film Festival Rotterdam; JEUNJU, South Korea; VIENNALE, Austria; ARS Electronica, LENTOS Kunstmuseum etc.

More about the artist on the website:


Newsreels by Nika Autor

Newsreel 2021 – Here I Have Picture 

documentary, 4K, 17′, 2022

A fragmented glimpse into the life of people on the move hiding in the unofficial camps in the forests on the EU border

Newsreel 4517 – Across the Water into Freedom 

documentary, 4K, 35′, 2022

The film presents a portrait of Zied Abdellaoui who – seeking a better life – came to Austria through the Balkan route. He walked 4517km, experienced 26 illegal push-backs, several violent abuses and now resides without documents in Austria.

Newsreel 670 – Red Forests

essay film, 16mm, 16′,  2022

Red Forests is rethinking the erection of the razor wire on the EU borders since 2015. It considers and reflects how the razor wire plays a role of a tool of governance and power. The film draws attention to its use, which due to its lightness, flexibility, cheapness, aggressiveness and effectiveness brutally encroaches on human lives, thereby producing the greatest possible effects of control and governance.  Besides, the film is rethinking the forests along the EU borders – as geographical, natural as well as political spaces – that bear history of clandestine refuge as well as of clandestine solidarity practices in different contexts, times and eras.