Belgrade. City of Commons - Beatriz Cantinho

City of Memory

Thinking of the proposed theme ‘city of memory’ and its definition, one of the places that stroke me the most in the city, was the two adjacent buildings of the headquarters of the federal ministry of defence. Nato forces bombed these two buildings on May 7th, 1999. They were left as ruins among other places in the city, and were declared protected monuments since 2005.

Here, one is confronted with the visual impact of this two buildings and a sort of overlaid historical symbolic meaning, given by the military propaganda covering one of the facades. Thus remembering us, how the history is often manipulated, rewritten and appropriated by the state, neglecting its connection with extremely violent and traumatic experiences belonging to a common memory. Rumours are that these sites could eventually be transformed into Luxury hotels, although because they are classified monuments, façades would have to be maintained.

This immediately remind me of one building in Lisbon, which use to be the headquarters of the state political police during Salazar dictatorship, where torture of political prisoners took place, suddenly and despite huge public contestation, was transformed into a luxury condominium.

Time to move to the next stop...

Text by Beatriz Cantinho. Pictures by Manuela Conti - Oginoknauss