MEMORY OF THE CITY
The project explores the memory and the cultural heritage of the City of Belgrade that are necessary for concrete policies and urban regeneration projects, and strives to identify different ways to activate the memory in urban regeneration and city identity formation, ranging from public policies to different practices in the field of art/culture.
The project is based on the premise that collective memory enables citizens to identify with history, as well as with the tangible and intangible heritage of their city, and that collective memory plays a defining role for the identity of a city, enhances cohesion within the community and incites citizens’ participation in the development of the city.
During the last few decades a large number of cities based their urban development on culture as the main driving force of their socio-economic regeneration. Successful examples of this practice show the importance of the role collective memory plays in the city’s identity formation, as well as in safeguarding its authenticity and building the positive image of the city among its inhabitants and visitors. Moreover, collective memory can be perceived as an instrument of urban planning and reconstruction based on saving and reviving cultural heritage.
Considering Belgrade in the given context, as the city which is currently undergoing redefinition of its identity and repositioning at regional, European and global level, it might be expected that memory (collective and individual) become key generator of its raising identity. Material traces of the city’s history are mainly devastated, there is no defined public policy in the field of commemoration and marking the places of memory, while frequent transformations of its urban landscape together with lack of systematic approach in archiving and revitalisation of its intangible heritage and latest accelerated development of the city which implies visual uniformity and alienation of citizens, led to non-existence of continuity in its urban development. Thus, activation of memory in Belgrade’s development could become driving force for revitalisation of its cultural heritage and contribute to increasing participation of citizens in development of the city.
I Realisation and exhibition of Dušica Dražić’s artwork on the topic of the place of individual/private memory (Cultural Centre of Belgrade, 17 August - 1 September 2011)
The key issue of this segment of the project and work of the artist Dušica Dražić will be individual/private memory of citizens of Belgrade and its possible impact on the city development. It will be based on recognition and safeguarding the authenticity and unique identity of certain parts of the town. In her work the artist will deal with oral histories and memories of inhabitants of a private house which will be destroyed, according to urbanistic regulation plans, in order to be replaced with a new building.
Within the context of the project Memory of the City artwork and exhibition of Dušica Dražić (Blue print) is treated as an illustration of importance of recording oral histories and individual memories of citizens in order to safeguard the authenticity and identity of a part of the city which is located outside its central nucleus and which is defined and shaped by intimate/private memories and narratives of its inhabitants.
II International Symposium MEMORY OF THE CITY - Policies and Practices of the Memory Preservation and Integration in the City's Development (Cultural Centre of Belgrade, 12-13th September 2011)
The Symposium is based on the premise that critical approach and examination of the past are basic preconditions for quality development/future of the community, as well as that memory plays a key role in the city’s identity formation.
The aim of the Symposium is to stress the importance of exploration, preservation and communication of cultural heritage and collective memory places. It also should urge all relevant institutions and various social actors to take responsibility and engage in revitalisation and activation of memory in the community development.
III Realisation of the workshops and site specific installations in the public space of the Slavija Square
(September 2011 - January 2012)
The workshops explore memory of Belgrade, in particular the history and collective memory of Slavija Square as a public space with strong collective identity and a place of great importance for history and memory of Belgrade.
The main aim of the workshops is to identify collective memory, narratives and cultural heritage as potential generators of the redefinition of the city’s identity and its urban development. Apart from this the workshops and site specific installations are supposed to incite a more engaged and responsible relation of citizens towards safeguarding memory, heritage and socio-cultural values of the city/community they live in.
IV Publishing a printed catalogue on the project results (January 2012)
Friend of the project_ Cultural Centre of Belgrade
Austrian Cultural Forum Belgrade | ERSTE Stiftung | Fund for an Open Society | Ministry of Culture, Media and Information Society | Municipality of Vračar | The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia