(…) then, Yugoslav culture was not entirely open either functioning inside a systemic “membrane” that filtered the exchange with the outside world. Similarly, Yugoslavia’s position between the “three worlds” of the Cold War was not symmetric either. The chief reference points of exchange shifted at first from East to West and then only slightly back East, indicating that the Modernity was still flowing predominantly from the developed West. But thanks to its non-aligned connections. Yugoslavia also had a significant presence in the Third World through its architects, planners and construction companies, establishing itself as an alternative source that channeled modern culture and technology from the “core” to the “periphery”, at the same time increasingly transcending its own “semi-peripheral” position. Whether this amounted to an alternative model of globalization and wether it allowed greater emancipation for all the involved parties deserves to be further explored and theorized.
Vladimir Kulic, Maroje Mrduljas, Wolfgang Thaler, Modernism In-Between, p.49
The in-betweenness is an unavoidable tract of the matter we are going to explore in Belgrade. The in-betweenness of a region, as the authors of the excellent volume this post takes the cue from point out, is also a cliché. Every location lies in between other territories, conditions, borders, and its specificity and identity derive from what surrounds it. Nevertheless, both former Yugoslavia and its supposed administrative capital Novi Beograd are particularly affected by some extraordinary in-betweennesses, either in geographical, temporal or historical perspective. New Belgrade exudes an exemplar, epitomized in-betweenness. In between eastern and western perspectives, in between imperial forces, in between clashing ideologies, in between ethnic conflicts and spinning nationalisms…
From another point of view, if we look at in-betweenness as an implicit condition of centrality, the story of Novi Beograd is also that of a sudden peripheralisation, of a place born to be central and pushed at the margins by historical turnovers and political disruptions. And such a dynamic, such a displacement from centrality to periphery, back and forth, is the essential concept of our exploratory project.
How therefore not starting from here our wandering around Novi Beograd?