- Spaces of Memory. Architecture by Aleksandar Kadijević and Milan Popadić
Following an international symposium held in Belgrade in 2011, Aleksandar Kadijević and Milan Popadić coedited a sizable and important collection of essays on the spaces of memory with a particular focus on architecture. This volume, Prostori Pamćenja. Arhitektura [Spaces of Memory. Architecture.] consists of 34 essays written by Serbian and international scholars trained in various disciplines—from architecture to psychology—each asking critical questions with respect to the role that architecture plays in shaping individual and collective memory. The majority of the texts deal with the complex formations of the spaces of memory in the territories of Serbia and former Yugoslavia since late antiquity to recent times. Closely intertwined with the questions of personal and collective identity embodied in architecture, most of the essays examine war memorials and various other types of architectural and urban compounds specifically designed for the display of societal values and aspirations in a given time and region. A few essays provide valuable comparative case studies of the memorials in 20th-century Russia, Poland, Scotland, Italy, Germany, and the United States. Written in Serbian, English, Russian, and French and generously illustrated with more than 180 images in order to access the largest readership, all the chapters are thematically intertwined and presented chronologically. [End Page 167]
The first essay is by Olga Špehar, who examines imperial palaces—which were built in the territories of modern day Croatia and Serbia during the late 3rd and early 4th centuries—through the lenses of their importance in the promotion of the Roman imperial cult. Several case studies examine the role of Byzantine and Serbian medieval and Renaissance churches and their performativity aspects for creating memory landscapes, closely linked with religious ethos and the memory of specific historical events of the past. Jasmina Ćirić writes thoughtfully on the Old Testament motif of the Tree of Life, whose expanded meaning came to be the prefiguration of Christ and is evidenced in Byzantine and Serbian medieval churches. Branislav Cvetković examines medieval churches and their furnishing built to commemorate specific historical events such as military victories. Saša Brajović highlights the role of the Mother of God and Marian ceremonies and processions in the formation of the civic identity of Perast and the bay of Kotor, during the periods of the Venetian Republic, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian Empires.
The majority of the texts focus on the architectural and urban designs that highlight societal values or commemorate historical events from the more recent past. Branko Čolović considers chapels and tombs as the expression of Serbian identity values in 19th-century Dalmatia. Ljubodrag P. Ristić highlights the role of the British diplomatic and travel documents in the international promotion of Serbian architectural heritage in the 19th century. Milan Prosen and Viktor I. Kosik examine Russian émigré architecture in 19th-century Serbia and the Balkans as peculiar identity spaces that canvassed vast geographical distances. Igor Borozan highlights the creation of Serbian national visual culture based on the legendary battle on Mišarsko polje of 1806, where, as he successfully argues, the field (polje) over time became a memory space itself. Then again, Haris Dajč showcases how the actual space of the Sava slope in Belgrade provided an urban topography for the historical development of Belgrade in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In their texts, Miloš Stanković, Dragana Ružić, Dimitrije Lj. Marinković, Dušica Živanović, Violeta Obrenović, Vuk Nedeljković, Sladjana Žunjić, Aleksandra Ilijevski, Aleksandar Kadijević, Magdalena Pokrzyńska, Nenad Lajbenšperger, Vladana Putnik, Paolo Tomasella, Ivan R. Marković, and Dijana Milašinović Marić examine specific case studies of memorials built in honor of military heroes and victims of war as architectural solutions for expressing respect for historical individuals that continue to inspire the collective ethos and identity in a given region. These case studies include the...