Drawing on the practices of several Eastern European artists, this essay explores ways in which the European refugee crisis has the potential to transform ideas of community. The author highlights artists whose direct commentary on the crisis confronts a loss of the type of collectivity that socialism used to maintain. Given the fact that the Balkan refugee route has, until recently, run mainly through former Yugoslav countries, it seems critical to reconsider notions of collectivity in light of the effect of the war in the region in the 1990s. On the one hand, collectivity in the socialist era served as an official ideology that meant, among other things, that responsibility was held by everyone and no one; on the other hand, there was a genuine spirit of collectivism among the people. In Yugoslavia, founded as it was on communist notions and on the ideology of brotherhood and unity, the collective habitus has become strongly rooted among artists. Indeed, it is still operative in the current environment of razor-wire fences, and as one result, artists in the region have paid relatively little attention to how contemporary crises affect the individual and have focused instead on how those crises challenge us to reexamine the concept of community.

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