Hidden Belgrade (43): Last days of Yugoslav socialist consumerism

While many emphasise worker-ownership or its non-aligned anti-imperialist foreign policy as distinctive features of Yugoslav socialism, for me one of the most striking ways it differed from the countries behind the “Iron Curtain” is its deep openness to Western consumerist culture. Indeed, if you ask average former Yugoslavs what the main difference was between them and their supposed ideological comrades in the Warsaw pact, they … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (43): Last days of Yugoslav socialist consumerism

Hidden Belgrade (42): Art for The People!

Public art in Belgrade is back in fashion with many ambitious projects completed and planned. They range from the sculptural/architectural collaboration between Turner prize-winning Richard Deacon and widely acclaimed local sculptor Mrđan Bajić to the future gigantic monument to  the founder of the most successful of Serbian medieval states, Stefan Nemanja, made by the acclaimed Russian sculptor Alexander Rukavishnikov. There have also recently been two … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (42): Art for The People!

20 Yugosphere songs from 2010s that you have to hear before 2020

As the last summer of 2010s is slowly coming to an end, I thought that it was a high time for a listicle celebrating songs from countries of ex-Yugoslavia that marked the past decade for me. I don’t want to claim that they are the best songs made in the past decade in the region, nor a fair representation of what is going on on … Continue reading 20 Yugosphere songs from 2010s that you have to hear before 2020

The Many Charms of Yugohotels

Hotels and resorts of Socialist Yugoslavia got a lot of press in the past few years (two examples here), especially as every summer more and more foreign tourists are heading to its coasts and cities over the summer. This recent fascination with ‘Yugohotels’ is more than just due to the trendiness of the Eastern Adriatic coast in the past few years, or the hipsterish love … Continue reading The Many Charms of Yugohotels

Abramović, Žižek and Milanović: Yugoslavia’s First and Last Global Public Intellectuals

For a country that’s been dead for almost thirty years and whose contributions to the world, according to the Western prestige-press range from German Nazism to  Islamophobia in Australia it may be surprising that in the past few years, a number of Yugoslav intellectuals seem to have charmed their Western peers, and to be giving their fair share of insights into the current malaise that … Continue reading Abramović, Žižek and Milanović: Yugoslavia’s First and Last Global Public Intellectuals

Beyond Brutalism: Belgrade’s Magical Pre-WWII Architecture

Although best known for socialist modernism and brutalism, Belgrade’s architecture is (in)famously eclectic due to the various political twists and turns that shaped the city’s identity (as I’ve written here). Although through much of the 19th century, Belgrade’s foreign and foreign-educated architects were trying to find their feet by copying architecture of Serbia’s powerful neighbours, in early 20th century and arrival of art-nouveau, which embraced … Continue reading Beyond Brutalism: Belgrade’s Magical Pre-WWII Architecture

Pokretači #48 Muharem Bazdulj

Muharem Bazdulj je pisac, novinar i prevodilac. Jedan je od najnagrađivanijijh pisaca sa prostora bivše Jugoslavije. 
Pričali smo o njegovim spisateljskim početcima, vrednosti štampanih medija, kao i o tome kako je biti “javni intelektualac” u BiH, Srbiji i šire, što je i jedna od tema njegovog novog romana: Kvadratni koren iz života. Continue reading Pokretači #48 Muharem Bazdulj

Brief Histories of Favourite Balkan Foods

While foreign rule and power struggles often brought havoc to the Balkan peoples, it also left behind a diverse cuisine in which various influences merge and make the best use of the region’s fertile lands. While some regional specialities do not cross borders, the limits between the national cuisines in the Balkans tend to be blurry, with many nations enjoying same foods, albeit claiming them … Continue reading Brief Histories of Favourite Balkan Foods

SpomenikDatabase: How an American Helped Preserve Memories of Yugoslav WWII Memorials

About a decade ago, Yugoslav WWII monuments were almost forgotten at home but started capturing people’s imagination around the world when Jan Kempenaers, a Belgian photographer, created his ‘Spomeniks’ (‘Memorials’) series, which included images of striking monuments at Kosmaj in Serbia, Podgaric in Croatia and Tjentiste in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His eerie photos of oddly-shaped memorials in dramatic settings attracted the attention of design and … Continue reading SpomenikDatabase: How an American Helped Preserve Memories of Yugoslav WWII Memorials

Pokretači #31 Donald Niebyl – Spomenik Database / Illinois, USA

Donald Niebyl founded and manages Spomenik Database, a website dedicated to monumental Yugoslav WWII memorials. Donald not only travelled up and down former Yugoslavia visiting monuments (or ‘spomeniks’ as they are called in local languages), but he also researched and wrote detailed history of many of them, soon to be published as a book – ‘Spomenik Monument Database’ (pre-order on Amazon). Notes Spomenik database on … Continue reading Pokretači #31 Donald Niebyl – Spomenik Database / Illinois, USA

Pokretači #29 Luka Popović – Ex-Yu Aviation / Beograd

Luka Popović već 10 godina svakog dana na Ex-Yu Aviation blogu piše o novostima u komercijalnoj avijaciji na prostru bivše Jugosavije. Njegov blog je jedan od 100 najboljih u svetu avijacije, i često je citiran od velikih medijskih kuća. Sa Lukom sam pričao o tome kako izgleda praviti izuzetno uspešan blog, da li postoji formula uspeha, i šta je toliko privlačno u avijaciji. Beleške View … Continue reading Pokretači #29 Luka Popović – Ex-Yu Aviation / Beograd

Hidden Belgrade (31): How Slets and Sokols Helped Work Out a Yugoslav Identity

It has been 30 years since the last ‘slet’ – a spectacular annual event much like the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games that included the presentation of a relay baton that had been carried across each Yugoslav state followed by mass games featuring coordinated gymnastic routines and dances. The event was part of the former Yugoslavia’s Youth Day celebrations, one of the largest events … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (31): How Slets and Sokols Helped Work Out a Yugoslav Identity

Pokretači 2.09 Mario Milaković – Yugodom/Super Bake, Beograd

Mario je serijski pokretač, koji stoji iza Yugodoma i Super Baka. Yugodom, pokrenut 2013. je prostor u Beogradu koji slavi estetiku SFRJ, i koji je postao atrakcija za domaće i strane ljubitelje dizajna, koji u njemu mogu i da odsednu. Super Bake su socijalno preduzeće, pokrenuto kroz crowdfunding kampanju 2017.,  koje ne samo da vraća svojim mušterijama ukus detinjstva, već i pruža nasim starijim sugrađanima … Continue reading Pokretači 2.09 Mario Milaković – Yugodom/Super Bake, Beograd

Escaping Tito’s Long Shadow

In Serbia and most former-Yugoslav republics, May, it seems, was, is and will be, at least for another few decades, the month of Tito. Not only does it start with the International Worker’s Day,  but Tito was born, celebrated his official birthday, and died in May. He was born on 7 May 1892 in Kumrovec, Croatia, to a Croat farmer father and a Slovene mother. … Continue reading Escaping Tito’s Long Shadow

Belgrade’s Socialist-era Interiors

With a MoMA exhibition of Yugoslav-era brutalist architecture coming up in the summer, countless photos of Spomenici (aka WWII monuments) making weird architecture listicles and the never-ending appeal of mid-century architecture, it seems like a high time for Serbia to start preserving its Socialist-era architectural heritage, including its peculiar interiors. Although there have been some notable public efforts recently, like reconstruction of Belgrade’s Museum of … Continue reading Belgrade’s Socialist-era Interiors