In December 2015 we had the opportunity to record a conversation with the Serbian architecture historian Vladimir Kulic, whose writings on Yugoslav spatial production, and in particular the book “Modernism in Between”, have been an important source of inspiration for our researches on Belgrade. We publish here three long excerpts of this interview, in a rough edit completed by some archive images helping to contextualise the discourse. The first block introduces Yugoslavia as a peculiar territory in-between in the geo political and cultural scenarios of Europe during the cold war era, and discusses intellectual and artistic influences on Yugoslav modernism and way to socialism. It includes some passages on the figure of Bogdan Bogdanovich and his surrealist  roots,  a tract that he had in common with Henri Lefebvre. In the second block we discuss about Novi Belgrade, its achievements and flaws, finding again Lefebvre among the constructive critics of the project in a competition for the regeneration of the city promoted by Bogdanovich when he was mayor of Belgrade. Finally in the third block we go through the dissolution of the Yugoslav federation and todays development of Belgrade.

Part 1 – Yugoslavia in Between

  • Yugoslavia in between.
  • Modernism as a binding agent in the Yugoslav composition.
  • Intellectual influences, surrealism, Bogdan Bogdanovic
  • Dissolution of the modernist dream of Yugoslavia: Urbicide?
  • After the Wall, Yugoslavia crumbling into the postmodern turn…

Part 2 – Novi Beograd

  • Novi Beograd. Celebration of a totalitarian power or collective construction of a socialist society?
  • Socialism, participation, autogestion.
  • Standardisation vs. customisation
  • Henri Lefebvre: between planning critique and fascination of autogestion
  • French Banlieu: same design, different social outcome
  • Novi Belgrade as a positive example of modernist urbanism

Part 3 – Belgrade today

  • “Social standards”, how do public services survive in the neo-liberal landscape?
  • From federal administrative capital of Yugoslavia to residential district in nationalist Serbia
  • Transition to the ownership model. Affordability, displacement, segregation?
  • 60 years after: is Beograda Na Vodi the new New Belgrade?

Filmed December 17, 2015 at the American Academy, Berlin

Interview conducted by Lorenzo Tripodi / Laura Colini
Camera and sound Manuela Conti
Editing Manuela Conti / Lorenzo Tripodi