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An e-flux Book Launch for Socialist Architecture: The Reappearing Act is a book by Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss with a series of photographs by Armin Linke.
Since 2009, Jovanovic Weiss and Linke are documenting the current state of selected places of socialist architecture in the former Yugoslavia. The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia disappeared in the early 1990s and was "balkanized" in various new democracies and former socialist states. Every of these new states inherited momuments, buildings and infrastructures, which were taylored for the earlier socialist society. After the disappearing of Yugoslavia, this inherited architecture often remained empty in a kind of limbo between reutilisation and modern archaeological ruin. The documentation Socialist Architecture – The Reappearing Act considered this indecisiveness in five emerging democracies: Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, and investigates the relative impact on the spatial perception and the fate of the former ideological architecture of Yugoslavia. This book dares the assertion, that socialistic architecture is insofar successful to date, as it creates public space, even if the system, which produced it, disappeared.
This book brings experiences of exploring decentralized socialist architecture across Yugoslavia between 2006 and 2009. Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss and Armin Linke found these sites appearing as spatial creatures that they believe were not in the intended official view of socialism. At times they played ball in empty halls spontaneously with curious kids who were around. At times they had to ward off angry people (and stray dogs and birds) who saw them gathering documentation. Yet, they were in a position to immerse into the success of the architecture of soft and liberal ideology of socialist Yugoslavia. These places that had been made in the name of inclusion of Yugoslavia’s soft socialism, today perform the reappearing act of their own success and spatial magic. These locations are now emptied of the ideology that made them. On the other hand, they are full of a new kind of life, and today this significance is more open-ended than ever intended.