Lexicon for the Provisional Future(s)

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Informal World Wide Investor

October 3rd, 2007

giu_7507.jpgIn every city in the Western Balkans, the Western Union logo is one of the most common brands animating the streetscape. With the beginning of the rise of the diaspora, from the 1990s, those that left the countries started to send money to their families or friends through International Money Transference Systems. Despite the fact that the economic condition abroad is not always easy, the diaspora maintains a strong link with its own country and with its families; it keeps transferring both money and goods even after many years. These transfers support the countries’ economies and make the construction of most of the houses in the cities and the countryside possible. So, very often the real investors in the reconstruction or just in the life of post-war cities are those who left the country. (more…)

foto90.jpggiu_7248.jpgCrossing the Western Balkans, an infinite number of single houses fills the landscape along the main roads. Mainly are new constructions, mostly are under construction, few are extremely luxuries. The speed and the distance let us see them as a mushroom, while getting closer they show their own free and individual architectural style. The patchwork of architectural possibilities can be read as a potential for a self-construction process, which can provide a co-existence with the landscape they inhabit and more social relations, especially between different communities. Ideas and forms drawn from existing physical and urban conditions become patterns of spatial occupation and social interaction. It is a way even to encourage participation of the citizens into planning process, starting from the neighbourhoods scale and initiating sustainable processes.

Could it be a model for a planning process, an in-between approach to the issue of participation in future aspects of architecture and town planning?

by: Giulia Fiocca & Laia Solé, 2007

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0-24 Personal Service

October 3rd, 2007

Through the human landscape of the Western Balkan is very common to jump in a kind of system of informal agencies. It is evident the existence of an informal system and network for solving and providing every kind of facilities and services at any hour. The lack of a service framework and the consequence presence of this kind of informality has to be seen as a potentiality for letting the system works better and for the maintenance of a latent civic sense, forgotten in the welfare societies. Moreover, this informality reveals the absence of borders between public sphere and private life; between the workplace and the intimacy, and, as a consequence of those attitudes, a conception of complete flexibility of daily time. giu_7915.jpggiu_7881.jpg

A strange noise, then smoke, and the car breaks at 9 p.m. on the main road to Belgrade, 5 km away from Podgorica. By foot, we reach a ‘Diskont Pica’, where the owner calls someone, and suggests us to reach a house next to a certain ‘kafana’ [bar, ed.]. Once there, a lady makes a call and after 10 minutes a guy on a motorbike appears. In 2 hours, while we are drinking ‘rakija’ and chatting about everything and nothing with the mother and the sister of the mechanic, he comes and goes with pieces for the car. Finally the car is repaired.

Giulia Fiocca and Laia Solé, 2007

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Universal Language

October 3rd, 2007

foto41.jpg Football: a sport that unites all and cuts across geographic and social divisions. Football is more than a game and perhaps nothing more universal exists. On a vacant parking somewhere or a schoolyard or on a lot, on a beach… the game is always the same, all over the world. Travelling around the world, you just need to know the name of some football players as a sort of psycho-geographical map. Football can enter everywhere, so suddenly the international players become your neighbours and the players of your national team are seen immediately as your good friends. In that sense, football becomes an international language that promotes space, both in physical and in social terms.giu_4157.jpg
Thanks to football as a universal common language, we had moments of occasional exchange and communication on the road with local people through a slow travel methodology. A village, few km before Novi Sad, offered plenty of salesmen of melon and watermelon along the main road. We stopped just for a coffee and we spent more than 2 hours chatting with some locals without any common language except of football. At the end, in the car we had plenty of balls to eat: melon.

Giulia Fiocca and Laia Solé – with Jordina Sangrà and Elena Benigni

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Disparate (Im)Mobility

October 3rd, 2007

foto4.jpgThe paradox of geographical and political changes and the consequences of the international political movements on the intimacy of the personal mobility. The feeling of being today former YUGO and ex-EU citizens. In a moment in which the distances seem to be closer and closer and the European mobility is pushed to an extreme level, thanks to low cost flight companies and high speed train lines connecting different countries, the mobility for a part of the society and for the former Yugoslav citizens is still (and even more) a huge problem. (more…)

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