Improper Names

Improper Names consisted of two screening events of the documentary My name is Janez Janša at the NeMe Arts Centre.


A name. Everybody has one. In the documentary, individuals, artists and academics from all over the world share their thoughts about the meaning and purpose of one’s name from both private and public perspectives. The problem of homonymy and other reasons for changing one’s name are explored as the film draws references from history, popular culture and individual experiences, leading us to the case of a name change that caused a stir in the small country of Slovenia and beyond.

In 2007, three artists joined the conservative Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) and officially changed their names to that of the leader of the party, the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Janša. While they renamed themselves for personal reasons, the boundaries between their lives and their art began to merge in numerous and unforeseen ways.

Signified as an artistic gesture, this particular name change provoked a wide range of interpretations in art circles both in Slovenia and abroad, as well as among publicists and the general public.


Janez Janša (1970) is a conceptual artist, performer and producer. His work has a strong social connotation and is characterised by an inter-media approach. He is co-founder and director of Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana.

Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, is a non-profit cultural institution based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The basic activities of Aksioma are the production, promotion and distribution of new media art projects. However, its program also encompasses the fields of performance and visual arts, music, documentary and video production as well as education and publishing.


The documentary features a great deal of internationally known names, among them UBERMORGEN.COM, Vuk Ćosić, Franco and Eva Mattes, Jan Fabre, Stephen Kovats, Tim Etchells, Vaginal Davis, Mladen Dolar, and, last but not least… Janez Janša, Janez Janša and Janez Janša.


The idea for this documentary sprang from a personal experience. In 2007, I legally changed my name, together with two other Slovenian artists, to Janez Janša. Janez Janša was the Prime Minister of Slovenia at the time and suddenly there were more Janez Janšas acting together within the same physical and media space. The system of reference of names started to crack…

This made me reflect on issues such as identity vs identification, multiplicity vs multiplication, the name as an interface between the private and the public, and the personal name as a brand.

I have dealt with these and many other questions in numerous lectures/presentations at various universities and museums around the world. On these occasions, I started discovering dramaturgical possibilities of the story that I was telling and constantly reshaping, amending with regard to the audiences’ responses. The draft for the script of the film My Name Is Janez Janša was thus the result of a series of direct interactions with the audience. The theatrical piece “The more of us there are, faster we’ll reach our goal” served as a study for the script as well.

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Date of release: April/May 2012
Director: Janez Janša
Screenplay: Janez Janša, Janez Janša
Story: Janez Janša, Janez Janša, Janez Janša Producer: Marcela Okreticč
With Dražen Dragojević in the role of Dražen Dragojević Interviews by: Dražen Dragojević, Janez Janša, Janez Janša Director of Photography: Darko Herič
Editors: Jurij Moškon, Giusi Santoro
Graphic Designer: Luka Umek
Music Composers: Riccardo Nanni, Giancarlo Di Maria
Greek subtitles: Sponsored by NeMe

Production: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana Co-Production: TV Slovenija (SI), Institute Maska (SI)
Associated Producers: POPCult (IT), Emotionfilm (SI)
Financial Support: Slovenian Film Centre, Viba Film, Ljubljana

State Machines: Art, Work and Identity in an Age of Planetary-Scale Computation

Focusing on how such technologies impact identity and citizenship, digital labour and finance, the project joins five experienced partners Aksioma (SI), Drugo More (HR), Furtherfield (UK), Institute of Network Cultures (NL), and NeMe (CY) together with a range of artists, curators, theorists and audiences. State Machines insists on the need for new forms of expression and new artistic practices to address the most urgent questions of our time, and seeks to educate and empower the digital subjects of today to become active, engaged, and effective digital citizens of tomorrow.


creative europe

This project has been funded with the support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.