IBCT/If buildings could talk

01.10.2015 – 30.09.2017

Project partners:
– FRU – Faculty of things that can’t be learned, Bitola/ Skopje
– Shadow Casters, Zagreb

– Supervizuelna, Belgrade

THE GENERAL THEME of the project is devastation of public space and social housing communities as a result of rigid agendas of mighty corporations, corrupted national and city governments as well as an ideological urge to clean all traces of previous governing thus obliterating the collective memory and phenomena of certain cities. That is resulting into almost complete disappearance of the concepts of “community”, “communing”, “social owning”, “self-government of reality” thus disuniting the citizens into “strong” individuals not taking care about their own surrounding.


If buildings could talk (IBCT) is a collaborative project that unfolds the delicate, inner traces of the erasure of collective memory of the local history, exemplifying in through concrete urban spaces (buildings and their surroundings) which are/were landmarks in one city/area. This obliteration leads towards almost unrecognizable change of the local context affecting entire communities and various social strata as well as the overall urban tissue. IBCT attempts to speak creatively and interdisciplinary about local urban problems, sometimes relating to a single building or block – business or for living – in all partner cities. Through detailed analysis of this building/block components, contextualized with its surrounding and historical developments, IBCT relates to the tendencies of (un)solidarity, degradation, (re)newel of reality – showing also which are the conflicts in those buildings/blocks that potentially open ruptures in the general societal structure. The setting of IBCT is cruel and unpredictable period of so-called “transition” which tendentiously cleans all ideological, political, social, cultural and ethical components of the previous period. In a “wild” and naive desire for EU, trying to keep up with the late capitalist economic model, these policies have serious impact on community but also on the everyday life of the individual. Thus, the project – developed in Skopje, Belgrade, Zagreb and their local communities – acts as an envoy towards change of the perception, of thinking and acting, setting up an entire agenda of activities such as a performative game-structures containing the elements of theatre, film, lecture and exposed in public workshops, and walking tours “plays”, taking building as a reference (historical, architectural, political, artistic) point.

The project If buildings could talk (IBCT) is funded by Balkan Arts and Culture Fund BAC. BAC is supported by the Swiss Government through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the European Cultural Foundation (ECF).




ACTIVITY AREA I. Waking up the buildings
I.I. INITIAL RESEARCH of the partners
Two work meetings were realized in this period, according to the schedule of activities.
The first one took place in Belgrade, on 24-25.10.2015, during which the partners determined the agenda for the meeting that would enable activities in the following period. The initial framework of the project was discussed in detail. This included allocation of funds, the criteria of building selection and the methodology to be used, a strategy for media coverage, as well as the outline for following meetings. The partners, although equally engaged in the project, discussed splitting certain responsibilities.
The second meeting took place in Skopje on 18-21.01.2016, during which the partners shared their research. Every partner had worked toward detecting three case studies, later to be chosen from.
The buildings FRU was considering were Zeleznicka building, the Student dormitory Goce Delcev and the building Automakedonija in Skopje. Bacaci Sjenki was considering Klub megjunarodnog prijateljstva, Zagrebacki Paromlin, brick factory Zagorka (Armin Mordekhai Schreiner) I Tvornica Penkala Moster (Penkala-Moster Company) in Zagreb. Supervizuelna was considering complex buildings Belvil, Workers buildings Dorcol (architect Jelisaveta Nacic), Salon MSUB, and restaurant bowery 3 Seljaka.
In accordance with the project agenda, at the end of the meeting FRU chose Zeleznicka building, Supervizuelna decided to go with Belvil, while Bacaci Sjenki decide to research on Tvornica Penkala Moster (Penkala-Moster Company) in Zagreb.

All of the buildings were being considered in terms of relevance to the project goals on one hand, and approachability on the other. All of them were pillars of history, carved with memories of social turmoil, but were slowly decaying. In Skopje, one of the criteria for selection of the Zeleznicka building was the potential the building had as a space valuable for its autenthicity, and in opposition to the government’s brutal employment of kitsch. As described in the project summary we feel that revitalization, contextualization and preservation of authentic spaces is vital for the development of culture.


Methodology was extensively discussed between the partners, but every partner established their own methodology autonomously.


– A City for Everyone: Workshop on reading Detailed Urban Plans
(a project by Freedom Square, with the support of Heinrich Böll Stiftung)/ 24.09.2016/ Cinema Theatre of the Railway Workers Residential Complex in the frames of POP UP AKTO Festival for contemporary arts, Skopje (23-28.09.2016)

– A Collective Decision

Exhibition in the cinema theatre of the Railway Workers Residential Complex/ 27.09.2016/ Cinema Theatre of the Railway Workers Residential Complex in the frames of POP UP AKTO Festival for contemporary arts, Skopje (23-28.09.2016)
1. Newspapers Workers’ Collective and Ironworks ABC by Vladan Jeremic and Rena Radle (Belgrade)
2. Installation Institutions Need to be Constructed: Stasis, BADco.(Zagreb)
3. Installation I am also… by Nada Prlja and Daniel Serafimovski (Skopje)
4. Cultural Elevator project, Jelena Pashic and Matija Kralj (Zagreb)
The works by the art collectives Sviracinja from Skopje, Kula from Skopje, Elementi from Bitola and the project Artist as Audience: Talks Among the Audience by Mirjana Boba Stojadinovic, that were produced in the frames of POP UP AKTO in Bitola are included as well in the exhibition.
Music event by DSPH Sounds showcase/ MKD

– Workshop under the IBCT (If buildings can talk) project
A walk through the building in collaboration with the residents from the Household Council/ 28.09.2016/ Railway Workers Residential Complex in the frames of POP UP AKTO Festival for contemporary arts, Skopje (23-28.09.2016)

– Lecture: “Out of context: self-governance and sustainability as alternatives to the failed models of government”
Vedran Horvat, Institute of Political Ecology, Zagreb/ 28.09.2016/ Railway Workers Residential Complex in the frames of POP UP AKTO Festival for contemporary arts, Skopje (23-28.09.2016)