From Text To Exhibition Didascalies:
How To Visualize Research
KURS’s primary task was to translate the theoretical, analytical and archive content, produced and gathered during the course of researches conducted for the exhibition „We built cities for
you“, into visual language and a coherent representational whole.
A collage approach was chosen as a way to express as clearly as possible the thematic complexity and variability of the given material, itself dominantly textual. In order to simplify the content as much as possible, thus allowing a clearer reading and establishing a connection between the researches, the overall installation and composition have been derived in four levels. The first background plane is comprised of selected archive photographs representing the circumstances, people and infrastructure from the socialist period. This level is presented as rasterized and pale, almost invisible, constructing a frieze. The key sentences, clearly and unequivocally conveying the message of the researches, have been written in the second plane, which also contains the relevant statistical data. The third layer is placed on frames, containing parts of research, as well as printed archive material (posters, photographs). The fourth and last layer consists of objects and artefacts standing unattached to the walls. The additional element connecting and contextualizing all of the researches are the printed pages of the Sarayevo „Oslobođenje“ („Liberation“) newspaper, directly relevant to the themes of research.
The interplay of different materials, subtle variations in printing paper, hand written and printed text, puts a further emphasises on the contradictions of Yugoslav socialism, which this exhibition choses to talk about.
“We Have Built Cities for You”
An Exhibition on the Contradictions of Yugoslav Socialism
The Cvijeta Zuzorić Pavilion, Kalemegdan Park
13 June until 02 July 2018
From the curators text:
When, in the mid-1960’s, speaking of the position of workers, the then Chairman of the Association
of the Trade Unions of Yugoslavia stated that “If our workers’ situation is not good, let them go on
strike!”, he had no inkling of the fact that, soon enough, that would become the reality of
Yugoslavia. During the 1980’s, strikes became a regular occurrence in cities throughout the country.
From “Trepča” to “TAM”, from “Labin” to “Zmaj” – working men and women went on strike
demanding better working and living conditions, protesting against the austerity measures and the
neoliberal restructuring of Yugoslavia, which was primarily supported and pushed forward by the
political and economic leadership.
That is precisely what the exhibition “We Have Built Cities for You” is about. It is about the
contradictions of Yugoslav socialism, which were particularly manifest during the course of the
1980’s, and which led to the restoration of the capitalist system. However, the above-mentioned
social processes did not unfold in a linear fashion or without resistance. Complex class-related
forms of logic were involved, which collided and were engaged in conflicts, thus producing
contradictory political-economic phenomena that it is necessary to investigate and overview anew.
Today, all the states established after the destruction of Yugoslavia are nationalist-capitalist in
character, and neoliberal “transition” agendas carried out by the local regimes favour solely the
logic of capital. The results of a decades-long process of transformation are most evident and
measurable in the sphere of work – a total destruction of the labour structures and institutions of
democratic management of the economy, masses of unemployed or poorly paid working men and
women who fret over their existence on the periphery of the global capitalist system. From the
Vardar River to Mt Triglav, a connection still exists, but it has been transformed into the trajectory
of trading in misguided investments and a cheap labour force. In such a socio-political constellation,
few actors represent the interests of workers. That is why it is necessary to maintain the visibility of
workers’ perspective, review the experiences from the past and open up space for creating a
Within the framework of the exhibition “We Have Built Cities for You”, we return to the period of
socialism and its contradictions, and through a number of researches we raise issues that are inter-
related in a complex manner: from the economy, politics and workers’ self-management to leisure-
time pursuits, the media, culture and art.
The exhibition participants include: Bojan Mrđenović (Zagreb), Boris Postnikov (Zagreb), the
Centre for Contemporary Art of Montenegro (Podgorica), Crvena (Sarajevo), Doplgenger
(Belgrade), Filip Jovanovski and Ivana Vaseva (Skoplje), the group Borovo (Zagreb), Irena
Pejić (Belgrade), Iskra Krstić (Belgrade), Kurs (Belgrade), Lidija K. Radojević and Ana
Podvršič (Graz/Ljubljana), Majlinda Hoxha (Priština), Mario Reljanović (Belgrade), Milica
Lupšor (Zrenjanin), the Cultural Centre Punkt (Nikšić), the Workers’ Video Club (Zrenjanin),
Srđan Kovačević (Zagreb), Vigan Nimani (Priština).
Curators: Vida Knežević and Marko Miletić (Kontekst kolektiv)
Visual identity and exhibition architecture: Andreja Mirić
Exhibition design and research visualisation: Miloš Miletić and Mirjana Radovanović (KURS)
Production Centre for Cultural Decontamination.