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

Ederlezi Rising (2018) Review

A Serbian low-budget sci-fi film  featuring a renowned adult entertainer in the role of an android designed to help (and pleasure) her astronaut/operator on the trip to Alpha Centauri, sounds like something that could, at best, aspire to be a cult-classic taken apart by trash-movie enthusiasts like Mystery Science Theatre 3000, or, at worst, languish in the depths of IMDB’s Bottom 100, only occasionally drawing … Continue reading Ederlezi Rising (2018) Review

Understanding Marina Abramovic

For a nation that takes immense pride in its famous sons and daughters, the Serbian public’s apparent disinterest in Marina Abramovic’s global success as an artist is an aberration. Despite the fact that Abramovic is by far the most acclaimed living artist from the former Yugoslavia, the average Serb would probably not know her name. She is mostly absent from the Serbian press, there are … Continue reading Understanding Marina Abramovic

Hidden Belgrade (22): Pištolj-mala and Lower Dorćol’s lowly days

Now a budding foodie hub, attracting Belgrade’s fashionable creatives, Lower Dorcol was the site of Belgrade’s most notorious shanty town, Pištolj-mala (“Pistol slum”), some 90 years ago. As Serbian architect and historian of Belgrade’s urbanism, Dr Zlata Vuksanović Macura, notes in her research(with some great photos), at its peak this shantytown housed about 1,500 souls in about 300 houses , spread in the area around … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (22): Pištolj-mala and Lower Dorćol’s lowly days

Hidden Belgrade (21): The rise and fall of the Friendship Park

There are a few testaments of Socialist Yugoslavia’s global ambitions dotted around Belgrade, from the obelisk by Branko’s bridge commemorating the first meeting of the Non-Aligned movement in 1961, to Sava Centar, built to host conferences of OSCE and Non-Aligned Movement in 1977 and 1979, respectively. However, the most striking and poetic memorial to rise and disastrous fall of Yugoslavia’s international clout is the Friendship … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (21): The rise and fall of the Friendship Park

Hidden Belgrade (16): The Forgotten Feminist Palace

If you pass through a hallway of an unassuming building with a blackened facade in Resavska 11, you will find yourself staring at a graceful jewel box of a building which currently houses Serbia’s leading folklore dance society AKUD “Lola”. Its pink and white facade, hides behind it one of the prettiest halls in Belgrade, decorated with wonderful chandeliers and elegant art-nouveau ornaments. This hall, … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (16): The Forgotten Feminist Palace

Hidden Belgrade (12): Konjarnik: Buddhism, Brutalism and rap

As you approach Belgrade by highway from the East, you will pass a hill from which you will be able to see the whole city in front of you, but the view will be dominated by three massive stepped concrete buildings. Officially called Rudo, after a city in Bosnia, the complex is known as the Eastern Gate, in parrallel with another brutalist masterpiece that is … Continue reading Hidden Belgrade (12): Konjarnik: Buddhism, Brutalism and rap