8th Forum, Skopje
Guest Speaker: Ms. Artan Sadiku
Theorist and activist
Topic: Struggles of Skopje: Solidarity and modernism against the ethno-baroque
Artan Sadiku is a theorist and activist from Skopje and holds a PhD in political philosophy. His primary interests are theories of the subject, feminism and radical practices in politics and arts. He works at the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities in Skopje, where he lectures at the Social Philosophy Department and is actively involved with the Leftist movement Solidarnost and the Cultural Club Syndicate. His latest publications include “Provocation to a final resistance of truth: ethics of a heretical discourse” and “Contracting a radical democracy in the Balkans: The ‘return of the people’ as a possibility for feminist inauguration of politics.
The eighth and last Urban Forum invited Skopje, the capital of Macedonia – as key speaker the activist and philosopher Mr. Artan Sadiku, the Lecturer at University of Skopje. The focus of the forum highlighted the Project SKOPJE 2014 and the loss of the modernism architecture. Mr. Sadiku brought in mind the 1963 murderous earthquake which ruined ¾ of the city and many foreign famous architects and many studios from ex-Jugoslavia worked on the project of prominent Japanese Kenzo Tange. Nowadays some of them are nostalgic and they overwhelm the pressure of this reactionary ‘political vellum’. As contradictory, SKOPJE 2014 is designed to revive antiquity and stimulate a sense of ‘national identity’ based on Great Alexander’s Macedonia.
Mr. Sadiku claims the sum of project budget which has captured the value of 1.3 billion euros, the same amount of one year national budget. The downtown buildings are lined with stucco curtains and converted under a neoclassical style. Everything is done fast, and at low quality and even so expensive concerning the quality and esthetic. Despite the copyright law, none of the architects (authors of the downtown buildings) has been consulted.
Considering the project “beyond the kitch’ and comparing it with ‘Las Vegas’, it also denies the parallel with the textbooks in the school – that after the ‘new’ national identity will be transmitted not only through urban identity but also through history and reflection in the past. This has led to a complete overthrow of the academic world. On 2014 architecture students’ got in massive protests, which resulted in a hit fired by the entire University of Skopje. This was the biggest move that blocked the entire education system for a month and brought the government’s appeal to their demands.
Coming in power of the leader of the opposition, Mr. Zaev (Prime minister) it is open the debate about the abolition of this project… it is not easy at all, because it is going to cost a lot, and it will last a long time as process.