IF BUILDINGS COULD TALK
IF BUILDINGS COULD TALK
01.10.2015 – 30.09.2017
Project Locations: Skopje, Zagreb, Belgrade
The general theme of the project is devastation of public space and social housing communities as a result of rigid agendas of mighty corporations, corrupted national and city governments as well as an ideological urge to clean all traces of previous governing thus obliterating the collective memory and phenomena of certain cities. That is resulting into almost complete disappearance of the concepts of “community”, “communing”, “social owning”, “self-government of reality” thus disuniting the citizens into “strong” individuals not taking care about their own surrounding.
If buildings could talk (IBCT) is a collaborative project that unfolds the delicate, inner traces of the erasure of collective memory of the local history, exemplifying in through concrete urban spaces (buildings and their surroundings) which are/were landmarks in one city/area. This obliteration leads towards almost unrecognizable change of the local context affecting entire communities and various social strata as well as the overall urban tissue. IBCT attempts to speak creatively and interdisciplinary about local urban problems, sometimes relating to a single building or block – business or for living – in all partner cities. Through detailed analysis of this building/block components, contextualized with its surrounding and historical developments, IBCT relates to the tendencies of (un)solidarity, degradation, (re)newel of reality – showing also which are the conflicts in those buildings/blocks that potentially open ruptures in the general societal structure. The setting of IBCT is cruel and unpredictable period of so-called “transition” which tendentiously cleans all ideological, political, social, cultural and ethical components of the previous period. In a “wild” and naive desire for EU, trying to keep up with the late capitalist economic model, these policies have serious impact on community but also on the everyday life of the individual. Thus, the project – developed in Skopje, Belgrade, Zagreb and their local communities – acts as an envoy towards change of the perception, of thinking and acting, setting up an entire agenda of activities such as a performative game-structures containing the elements of theatre, film, lecture and exposed in public workshops, and walking tours “plays”, taking building as a reference (historical, architectural, political, artistic) point.
This project is a continuation of FRU’s and Shadow Casters’s research in the urbanity, public patterns, dynamics and habits of coexistence, and presents innovative approach towards the urban dramaturgy/choreography, by finding creative solution to urban challenges and partnerships. Supervizuelna joins to this partnership broadening its scope of interests towards these specific subjects matters and enters in this project as an equal partner.
These 3 organizations as part of the artistic research & intermedia project „Urban Hum“ will be continuing to work in this specific area and plan to apply again to foundation Kultura Nova from Croatia for further financing of this platform but also to the Ministries of culture (in each country participant) and other local foundations. This partnership will set goals, inspire new solutions, and deliver practical recommendations that will provide citizens with decent, safe places to live and work; to make current and future building more environmentally friendly and economically viable.
The project If buildings could talk (IBCT) is funded by Balkan Arts and Culture Fund BAC. BAC is supported by the Swiss Government through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the European Cultural Foundation (ECF).
ACTIVITIES SO FAR:
ACTIVITY AREA I. Waking up the buildings
I.I. INITIAL RESEARCH of the partners
I.II. WORKING MEETINGS
Two work meetings were realized in this period, according to the schedule of activities.
The first one took place in Belgrade, on 24-25.10.2015, during which the partners determined the agenda for the meeting that would enable activities in the following period. The initial framework of the project was discussed in detail. This included allocation of funds, the criteria of building selection and the methodology to be used, a strategy for media coverage, as well as the outline for following meetings. The partners, although equally engaged in the project, discussed splitting certain responsibilities.
The second meeting took place in Skopje on 18-21.01.2016, during which the partners shared their research. Every partner had worked toward detecting three case studies, later to be chosen from.
The buildings FRU was considering were Zeleznicka building, the Student dormitory Goce Delcev and the building Automakedonija in Skopje. Bacaci Sjenki was considering Klub megjunarodnog prijateljstva, Zagrebacki Paromlin, brick factory Zagorka (Armin Mordekhai Schreiner) I Tvornica Penkala Moster (Penkala-Moster Company) in Zagreb. Supervizuelna was considering complex buildings Belvil, Workers buildings Dorcol (architect Jelisaveta Nacic), Pariska 14(Salon MSUB), and restaurant bowery 3 Seljaka.
In accordance with the project agenda, at the end of the meeting FRU chose Zeleznicka building, Supervizuelna decided to go with Belvil, while Bacaci Sjenki decide to research on Tvornica Penkala Moster (Penkala-Moster Company) in Zagreb.
All of the buildings were being considered in terms of relevance to the project goals on one hand, and approachability on the other. All of them were pillars of history, carved with memories of social turmoil, but were slowly decaying.
I.III. METHODOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
Methodology was extensively discussed between the partners, but every partner established their own methodology autonomously.
About partner organizations:
FRU – Faculty of things that can’t be learned
The Association for culture and art FRU – Faculty of things that can’t be learned works as a project platform in the area of contemporary art and culture, focused on event production whose purpose is to create critical engagement and active participation of citizens in the creation of the public socio-political discourse inside the community.
One of FRU’s main activities is the annual AKTO Festival for contemporary arts (started in Bitola, 2006). FRU also produces long term research projects (conferences, discussions, exhibitions) that addresses the issue of deficiency of informed audience and the need for a dialogue between the artists and the audience in the field of contemporary arts, developing new educational forms, self-education and non-institutional, i.e. alternative education.
Shadow casters (Bacači sjenki)
Working with public urban space through various art interventions and projects is one of the main areas on which their work and research is focused. They also thoroughly investigate past and present lives of neuralgic urban locations and related topics of collective and individual memory, which constantly brings their performances to places and localities that are for the first time involved in contemporary artistic discourses. The majority of these projects is created as performative, educational, multimedia or socially engaged “time sculptures” that tackle entirely different creative approaches and often involve audience as co-creators and participants in process and production of their works.
The Non – governmental organization Supervizuelna is founded with a purpose to organize projects, to publish, to make art and scientific research in the field of arts and culture and citizen activism, as a category which is of crucial relevance for the growth and promotion of every society that is going through turbulent and transitional period.
The aims and goals of the organization is to promote arts and culture in Serbia and abroad through the multidisciplinary e-magazine Supervizuelna, as main project of the organization; to have research and publishing activity in the field of arts and culture (initiating and delivering research and art projects, publishing and e-publishing); to participate in creation of cultural politics; to connect and network the cultural and art scene actors towards realization of collaborative projects with akin organizations and institutions in Belgrade, Serbia, region and internationally; to create and organize exhibitions, debates, forums and all sorts of public debates about art, culture and society as well as to use and revive public spaces by art and activist group and singular activities.