Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict (Cultural Memory in the Present)

Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict (Cultural Memory in the Present)

Andrew Herscher

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0804769362

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

While the construction of architecture has a place in architectural discourse, its destruction, generally seen as incompatible with the very idea of "culture," has been neglected in theoretical and historical discussion. Responding to this neglect, Herscher examines the case of the former Yugoslavia and in particular, Kosovo, where targeting architecture has been a prominent dimension of political violence. Rather than interpreting violence against architecture as a mere representation of "deeper" social, political, or ideological dynamics, Herscher reveals it to be a form of cultural production, irreducible to its contexts and formative of the identities and agencies that seemingly bear on it as causes. Focusing on the particular sites where violence is inflicted and where its subjects and objects are articulated, the book traces the intersection of violence and architecture from socialist modernization, through ethnic and nationalist conflict, to postwar reconstruction.

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extricate themselves from historical discourse. As Roland Barthes puts it, “for history not to signify, discourse must be confined to a pure, unstructured series of notations”; the spatial and temporal circumscription of the reports above attempt such a series.20    Emergencies But the indicative status of discourse cannot be “pure.”21 Barthes’ description of indicative discourse presumes and reproduces its own indicative status, its own purity, its own separation from ideological

Petrovaradin Bridge, Novi Sad, Serbia. From the Web site of Vojvodina Province (, accessed 12 January 2008).    Emergencies of Novi Sad in many newspaper and magazine articles and Internet postings. One such posting, circulated on, by the theater director Dragan Klaic, was a reminiscence: I remember the uneasiness I felt every time crossing the bridge, even in the daytime: the wooden planks of the side board got lose [sic] and rotten and one could see the water

Bergson’s concepts of vision and motion to depict relationships between the building’s masses and voids, the most important of the latter being the street around which the two parts of the building were located. According to Weiss, Dobrović’s choreography of form and void was designed “to be experienced by a contemporary citizen always on the move,” or what Dobrović termed homo spatiosus. As such, the building suggested that “the identity of the nation was to be found in the void, in nonmatter,

months after the war, after some eighty-five churches and monasteries had been attacked, KFOR troops were deployed at Serbian Orthodox sites, deployments eventually made at 151 churches, monasteries, and other patrimonial sites.25 In some cases, these troops protected churches whose congregations had fled and which therefore remained empty; in a few cases, they protected the rubble of already destroyed churches. Many churches and monasteries were protected by “fixed positions,” that is, by troops

the social order it is formulated in and expelled from: “The abject appears in order to uphold ‘I’ within the Other.” See Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984). 13. In an urban planning report, the destruction of the bazaar is described as “the destruction [rušenje] of the ‘covered market’”; see Municipal Archive of Prishtina, Prishtina urbanizm fonds, Bogoljub Jovanović, “Dosadašnja urbanistička aktivnost u Prištini” (1965). 14.

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