Predictable outcomes

“Predictable Outcomes” - a documentary photographic project

What began as an effort to document the imprint political history has left on architecture and landscape, has gradually revealed the continuous practices of systemic neglect, erasure and alteration of historical evidence. Over time, this neglect seemed to create a barrier, an emotional distance from the victims, separating them from historical majorities of correct ideology and later, nationality. The sites, which still keep the memory of their victims, have become the “places of special interest”, where state sovereignty is exercised, and economics reign freely over the memory.

The consequences left by two stages of nationalist ideologies and their rule in Serbia are deposited not only at the sites of mass crimes, but also, in the physical narrative of architectural mimicry that has pre-dated and announced the crimes of wars and genocide. Regimes of the 1930-40’s and the 1990-00’s have had mirroring national agendas reflecting not only what was to be done and hidden, but also the choices guiding the decisions on what was to be built and how. The resulting architecture still communicates the messages and methods of its creators, influencing the views and actions currently forming Belgrade’s political and cultural landscape.

The drive to establish ”Politics of memory” as a form of new, locally standardized cultural policy to re-shape “the memory of the city” in a positively engaging way, adding another layer of “cultural” prerogatives and curation over the interpretation of historical facts, channeling the need to commemorate the Holocaust and the genocides of the 1990’s into the need for more “culture and dialogue”, on the future of the Holocaust sites in the city. Such ”Politics of memory” are used to reconstruct the Serbian memorial landscape into the cultural “Politics of sight” in the attempt to hide the methodology of Serbia’s own “primary acquisition of capital” from view. Given the entrenched tradition of censoring of the research, education and commemoration, the stage is set for the conflict between parts of the city and public that want to commemorate the Holocaust sites, and the real-estate investors funded drive to raze the evidence and commercially re-use the desirable camp locations, while the rehabilitations of the Nazi-era quislings were allowed to advance through the courts.

There is always the “Next year”, which is to be the year Belgrade’s city government is to begin the work on the Memorial Center at Staro Sajmište. Also, “Delta” corporation has announced the construction of a shopping mall over the site of the camp “Topovske šupe”.

The photographs of Sajmište, Topovske Šupe and Jajinci are the first stage of an ongoing project that is set to juxtapose the tangible connections between the buildings of the decision makers with the system of camps and mass executions sites tracing the history of the Holocaust, as well as the mass-murder sites of the 1990’s Belgrade. The focal point of the series is the site of the camp “Staro Sajmište”, where the modernist architecture of the futuristic expo fairground had to contain the horrors of a death-camp without the “selection”, and subsequently, the horrors of life in a self-centered culture attempting to insert the memory of itself in place of the victims.