Nova Gorica

A walk in Nova Gorica, a new modernist city  built after an arbitrary border was traced to divide the territories assigned to Yugoslavia and Italy after WWII. Nova Gorica, which developed in the area previously occupied by the old cemetery of Gorizia, was established in 1948, a few months after the definition of the new border. The first project of the socialist city, which was to “shine” across the border, was designed by the architect Edvard Ravnikar, who offered a rationalist approach inspired by Le Corbusier. Many young people from all over Yugoslavia, called “mladinici”, were involved in the construction of the new city centre, which was meant to become the administrative core of the recently annexed area. The first buildings to be constructed were the so-called “ruski bloki”, six blocks of houses lined along a main road, and the building of the people’s committee (today the Town Hall), built on a project by the architect Vinko Glanz in 1953.

From Museo Diffuso della Memoria.

Piazza della Transalpina “Mi gradimo socializem” (“We build Socialism”)

Josip Broz Tito

The area where Nova Gorica will raise (1947)

Cemetery of Grassigna in Erjavčeva Ulica. This is what remains of  28.000 graves.

Model of Masterplan of Nova Gorica made by Edvard Ravnikar in 1947-1951

In the plan you can easily read the name TITO, although it is not confirmed wether this is intentional or not…

Perspective of the main road in Nova Gorica, Project of Nova Gorica, Edvard Ravnikar, 1949

(Pokrajinski arhiv v Novi Gorici) (via

(Pokrajinski arhiv v Novi Gorici)

(Pokrajinski arhiv v Novi Gorici)

(Pokrajinski arhiv v Novi Gorici)

People’s Committee Building in Nova Gorica by architect Vinko Glanz, 1948 (photo 1953) (Pokrajinski arhiv v Novi Gorici)

”Ruski bloki” 1950 (Pokrajinski arhiv v Novi Gorici)

postcard of Nova Gorica 1964

postcard of Nova Gorica 1969

”Ruski bloki’

Town Hall

Il 22 dicembre 2007 con gli accordi di Schengen il confine è stato eliminato

Live Expanded video performance during In/Visible City Festival 2015

Read more about Gorizia Border City in the Urban Reconnaissance blog



A huge development project funded by Arab Emirates capitals aims at transforming Belgrade’s face. It has been imposed as a project of national interest without any democratic process, erasing existing masterplan and laws. The activists of the campaign Ne Da(vi)mo Beograd organise the resistance against the silence of civil servants and mainstream media.

Interview with Iva Cukic / Ministry of Space

Realised during TRANSEUROPA Festival 2015
Photos from
Filmed and edited by ogino knauss

Marginal Notes opening at Remont Gallery Belgrade


1-5 October 2015

Exhibition produced by Transeuropa Festival / Transnational Dialogues

Curated by Luigi Galimberti

Thanks to Miroslav, Marija and everyone at Remont gallery

Photo by Boris Burić

Towards Belgrade

Invited by Transeuropa festival 2015, we had the opportunity to come back to Belgrade and open again our file on this city. We coordinated a urban reconnaissance workshop dedicated to the “City of Commons”,  taking the cue from the concept of city as a common good to design an urban walk exploring key spaces of Belgrade and its political life. This also provided us with additional preparatory fieldwork for a possible new Re>centering Periphery episode.

The main focus of our research remains on Novi Beograd, the modernist new town designed to be the capital of Yugoslavia, and on the dynamics that have transformed this exemplar socialist city in a middle class Serbian residential district. But the relation/connection with the “center” (historical, political, administrative), and the investigation of privatisation, commodification and financialisation processes are key question that we want to address with our investigation.

Since our last visit some important events have changed the scenario. First, the progressive uncovering of the Belgrade on Water project, an overwhelming speculative development sponsored by the mayor and funded by Arab Emirates funds, which is going to impact tremendously the city. Our friends of the Ministry of Space collective are in the forefront of the campaign against this crazy project imposed to Serbian citizens without the pale shadow of a public debate, and we started to document their campaign and the vicissitudes of the project.

Secondly, the dramatic refugees crises affecting Europe sees Belgrade as an important node in the routes of migrants seeking safety in  more stable and solid Northern countries. This international conjuncture has greatly endangered the already troubled idea of an European integration process and the Serbian participation to it, with domino effects of borders’ closures, suspensions of the Shengen’s treaty and deployment of fences, walls and barbed wires.

Between nationalists winds and rampant global capitalism, the overwhelming flows of people highlight the fragility of the process of integration and internationalism that inspired the political and planning landscape of modernist era. The role that Yugoslavia had in the age of Cold War – both internationally as a leading country of the non aligned block, and internally as an attempt at a multi cultural federated state comprising different ethnic and cultural components –  has today vanished into the political disintegration of the federation  and the insurgence of nationalisms and genocidal movements  leaving a tragic heritage on the ground.

What remains of this multicultural vocation of Belgrade is one of the main issues inspiring our research. Still Serbia located as it is at the heart of Balkans is geographically, politically and culturally a bridge, a liminal territory dividing, and at once connecting, imperial blocks, cultural dominations and transnational interests. It is a hub of human, financial and logistic flows, characterised by a paradigmatic in-betweeness. This liminal identity is reflected and crystallised in the many city gates – functional  and symbolic – that have been built in the course of the time. Among these, we discovered during this trip the sister of the Genex Tower in Novi Beograd, that is the East Gate, Istočne Kapije, a complex of three 99 meters high  owers on the oriental side of the city.

We had also the time for a short comeback on some of  the locations already explored in Novi Belgrade in 2013. Meandering around Staro Sajmiste we met Bogdan, an artist in his sixties who has been living and working  in this building since he was born, and is  now the last person still occupying it. Bogdan offered  us a tour in the building and a shaky climb on the dilapidated constructivist tower. He said us that the government he will be soon forced to leave the place and does not have any clue of what are the plans of the  government for the area.

Similarly uncertain is the destiny of the beautiful building of the Modern Art Museum (MOCAB) closed since 2007, right after the interesting project Differentiated Neighbourhoods of New Belgrade. The building is planned for refurbishment and reopening soon. The billboards on the facade still report the date of the new opening in few days, but the place shows no signs of works going on. The director Zoran Eric said us that they plan to issue a new tender procedure for the works and hope to reopen the building sometime next year.

“Licht, Luft und Sonne”