This article examines the use of humor in contemporary art from two nations understood as “peripheral” states within Europe: Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Focusing on the concepts of “locality” and “visibility,” this article makes clear the way artists from both nations are framed as local narrators with a “geopolitical burden.” This burden entails the responsibility to represent national histories and trauma, often leading to a reading of art practice as overdetermined through the prism of local representation and national identity. Focusing on the work of two artists from both regions that are highly visible on the international art circuit (Stefanos Tsivopoulos and Mladen Miljanović), this article investigates the way that humor in contemporary art mediates this burden by establishing a local identity “code” that serves to mobilize antinationalist politics and problematize external normative perceptions of regions in “crisis.” In so doing, this article aims to demonstrate how humor harnesses a performance of marginality to undermine stereotypes of life under crisis, while offering alternative views both of each nation’s past and its way forward into the future.

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