On our first proper day in Sarajevo we pretty much changed our perception of what we actually should do in this city. During the day we interviewed three very interesting people, who are all very important to the cultural well-being of the city.
The first interview was held on the Faculty of Architecture of University of Sarajevo. We approach a 60s modernistic building that has many fine architectural details, although the building is not well maintained. While taking a picture of it’s impressive entrance, a student passing by tells us not to bother by taking any pictures, as there is nothing nice there, but to my mind it sometimes takes an extra effort to see the beauty behind. We interview the dean, Mevludin Zečević, who talks about Sarajevo and it’s current issues with urban planning like corruption. He mentions as well his personal experience from war time.
Our second interview takes place in a flat of an apartment block in the Austro-Hungarian part of the city. We are in the office of a local organisation called Crvena (bosnian for red). Crvena is a socially progressive and critical NGO focusing on topics like feminism, urbanism and art. It’s directress, Danijela Dugandžić, discusses with us very openly our project. She states that there many people coming to Sarajevo to do a research about the war and she thinks that the people of Sarajevo are fed up with the war topic, which is nourished by the constant flow of war tourism. In her mind the inhabitants need a positive message and not something that would remind them of the violence and the siege. This is a big turning point for us because most of the literature that we researched so far focused on the siege itself and saw the inhabitants of Sarajevo as victims, whereas it looks like that they don’t really feel like that.
The last interview is very informal and takes places in a bar called Blind Tiger, which the members of the festival Days Of Architecture consider as the chamber of architects – an institution which is not existing in the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We meet Nedim Mutevelic and Ervin Prasljivic, both co-founders of Days Of Architecture, along with their colleagues. We talked a lot about the festival and activities they planned and organised to strengthen the public space of Sarajevo. They shared the opinion that people here are simply fed up with the topic of war and want to live in an ordinary city. After several (happy) hours in the bar we came to the conclusion that we should focus on positive urban activities which happened after the siege.