MAO Unfinished Modernisations: between Utopia and Pragmatism, Ljubljana 2012
Modernist architecture and urbanism in socialist Yugoslavia reveals many original and progressive models. The planning of cities and settlements in the period of vital postwar economic growth proves to have been of a particularly high level. It was comprehensive and well controlled with unprecedentedly greater responsibility dedicated to the common living environment, as it is perceived today. Architecture presented and served as a research laboratory for industry and a source of innovation in construction. And the political elite used modern buildings as a propaganda or communication tool with which to demonstrate to the world how advanced the country they managed and operated was.
Through various issues, processes and architectural projects in the countries of the former Yugoslavia the Unfinished Modernisations project definitively fills in some grey areas in the world history of modern architecture. The topic of this collective research, which concludes with a conference in Ljubljana, is interesting owing to questions emerging from enhanced insight into the architectural production that has been rejected as irrelevant and outdated since the moment society (here) embraced democracy and the market economy. Now, when social ideals as well as critical and experimental approaches to building are again at the forefront of architectural thinking, discourse and practice, it is both highly relevant and revealing to study the spatial layer that was created with the modern production of space and to try and determine its legacy for the future. Did we understand modernism, its protagonists and manifestos, well enough or were we too superficial in our reading of them? What are their key messages to the contemporary production of architecture? How much does an architect, whose role is now (and forever) changing, still refer to the “heroic times” of modernism? Can modernist activism, faith in progress and a collective social conscience, still be detected within the profession?
The purpose of Unfinished Modernisations – as is reflected in the title – is no idealization of the period, nor of the system in which the architectural and urban production under discussion developed. Because of its undeniable shortcomings modernisations are not finished, they are incomplete. But at the same time this incompleteness, with which we are faced daily, presents a situation that we need – now and further in the future – to address.
Detailed information can be found here.
Introduction / Uvod
Lectures / Predavanja