Lexicon for the Provisional Future(s)

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Wearable Mosque

April 19th, 2008

figure-1When the Bosniak nation arose from the ashes of the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a new era of mosque building began. The notion of a resurgent Islamic identity is now negotiated on the ground, yet with no coherence to the plot: as one mosque reaches back to the glorious Ottoman past with its double minarets, another offers a tribute to the great Age of Secularism with its simplicity; the marble walls of yet another celebrate the Pan-Islamic vision of its Saudi donors. These newly built mosques in Bosnia-Herzegovina render visible the competing visions of the Bosnian Muslims’ identities. (more…)

A-National Heroes

August 14th, 2007

brucelee-1The unveiling of the first monument to Bruce Lee in the world, in 2005 one day before the Chinese star’s 65th birthday, did not take place in Hong Kong, but in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Designed by the young artists Veselin Gatalo and Nino Raspudi
from the Mostar Urban Movement, the gold-plated life-size statue of Bruce Lee was meant to set a symbol against the ethnic animosities in this divided city. Bruce Lee might represent a hero from the past shared by Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs, yet, he is not the only imported superstar to inspire new monumental curiosities of the Western Balkans. A bronze statue of the Rocky Balboa, for example, now victoriously stands over the main square in Žitište, a small village in Vojvodina, while the locally-native Johnny Weissmuller alias ‘Tarzan,’ and the busty-wonder Samantha Fox are also about to get a shiny pedestal in the Serbian townships of Međa and Čačak. What all these sexy and muscular muses have in common in the context of the Yugoslav disintegration is that they have all become new ‘a-national’ heroes for people now struggling with their identity amidst an eroded history. (more…)

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