Turbofolk is a fusion of folk influences and European dance beats that rose to prominence in alignment with Serbian nationalism in the early nineties, with its lyrics, steeped in consumption, anti-intellectualism, the objectification of women, and the cult of criminality, serving as the perfect antidote to communism. Under Milosevic, turbo-folk dominated the airwaves, and its biggest stars affiliated with high-ranking politicians and war criminals. Following NATO intervention, the fall of Milosevic, and a subsequent media ban, turbo-folk has become a pan-Balkan, transnational cultural space, self-exoticizing in the sense that it imagines a particular Balkan temperament and mentality, that resists globalization through the celebration of kitsch.
‘Folkoteka 2.0′ introduces the audience to the delights of three of turbo-folk’s biggest names, Ceca, Jelena Karleuša, and Seka, in the form of web videos uploaded by devoted ex-Yugoslav fans that have been subsequently tweaked by Bozinovska Jones. In terms of positioning, Bozinovska Jones is at once an ex-Yugoslav who grew up watching ‘Folkoteka’, TV studio shows that showcased turbo-folk talent, and a sophisticated, Berlin-based Central St. Martins graduate. Accordingly, her treatment of turbo-folk suggests a love/hate-relationship, and her manipulations range from exposing vapid lyrical content to suggesting religious overtones, with the turbo-folk deities at once presented as otherworldly ‘femmes fatales’ and conspicuous ‘sponsored girls’. By retaining the uploaders’ water-printed nicknames and grammar mistakes, Bozinovska Jones suggests that they now effectively own the uploaded material. Assembled and cut to represent a continuous whole, the accumulative effect of the videos is a sense of intersubjectivity afforded through the appropriation of a transnational cultural space within online communities.