The Road
to Belonging

Intro

UNBUILT BELONGING: In the election year of 2009, bulldoggers announced the opening of the construction site Podbrežje, a new social housing project located in the underdeveloped southern area of New Zagreb. Eleven eight-floor apartment buildings, a cultural center, school and two kindergartens supposed to offer a new domestic surrounding for 1800 young families. The project started with a one-kilometer-long road and a massive parking lot that supposed to serve to the apartment new blocks. But the blocks were never built. The long road, the parking lot and many political promises are all that remained from the initial vision. After seven years, the nature took over the road, creating a surreal fragment of the dysfunctional urban infrastructure. The road is a mark of belonging that never came to fruition.

BELONGING FADES: On the other side of the road is a small village of 15 family houses. Some of the houses are hundred years old. The oldest man in the village moved in right after World War II. Together with fifty neighbours, this old man is faced with the uncertainty brought by the road. Faced with promises that the project will move on, but also being well aware of reality, the people on the site are unable to plan their future, to move on with their lives – not on this site, nor somewhere else. They are stuck – still living in their houses, but in front of the massive concrete surface that reminds them of the possible future which they are not part of. On the margins of urban visibility, their sense of belonging fades away.

The road is a border between two realms of belonging.

The project THE ROAD TO BELONGING is a landscape intervention on the oversized and completely useless roundabout in the end of the dead road. Seven years ago, on the same site was a garden with more than 60 trees, all wiped out during the construction works in 2009. The project aims to reconstruct memory of the garden by planting a tree in the center of the roundabout. It also develops a DIWO (Do it With Others) approach to engage neighbours in building small-scale structures over the road in order to reach the roundabout and transform it into a new public space. The roundabout will become a visible point, an occupied chunk of community landscape in a sea of meaningless rubble.

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  • Zagreb opens exhibition with basketball match

    4 September 2017 14:57 by ACTOPOLIS

    Fotos © Ana Opalić Fotos © Ana OpalićFotos © Ana Opalić Fotos © Ana OpalićFotos © Ana Opalić Fotos © Ana Opalić Fotos © Ana Opalić Fotos © Ana Opalić Fotos © Ana Opalić
    A colorful, festive as well as sweaty programme characterized the exhibition opening at the Student Centre in Zagreb on June 8th 2017.

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© Nikola Bojić
Nikola Bojić

Nikola Bojić

© Nikola Bojić
Actopolis-City: Zagreb

Nikola Bojić holds a Master's degree in Art History and Museology from the University of Zagreb and a postgraduate Master's degree in Design Studies from Harvard University.

Bojić is a researcher and designer interested in spatial storytelling. Whether on a territorial or site-specific scale, his practice often digs into the social and political dimensions of space, analysing and disturbing the lines that divide public and private realms. He worked as an art director and set designer of a theatre piece in Algeria, which dealt with the issue of illegal immigration across the Mediterranean sea. In China he designed a landscape installation which honours the people whose villages have been destroyed in the name of new urban development. During his stay at Harvard University he wrote Excavations, an experimental book that aims to translate reading into an authentic spatial experience.

Along with public art & design practice, Nikola is a regular speaker at conferences and design festivals around the world. Currently he is editing the Life of Art magazine for contemporary visual arts published by the Institute of Art History in Zagreb.