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2nd Biennial of Contemporary Art D-0 ARK Underground, Bosnia and Herzegovina
curators: Basak Senova and Branko Franceschi
curators' assistant: Irfan Hosic
artists: to be announced
venue: Tito’s Atomic Shelter
coordinates: Konjic, 2013 biennial director: Edo Hozić
coordinator in chief: Sandra Miljević Hozić
visual identity and graphic design: Erhan Muratoglu
website: http://www.bijenale.ba

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Project D-0 ARK Underground is stationed in the space of the Atomic shelter in small city of Konjic, 45km south of Sarajevo. It is known as Tito’s Atomic shelter. The CODE name is Istanbul. The shelter occupies a space of 6.500m2 and consists of 12 connected blocks. It resembles a complicated labyrinth, with residential areas, conference rooms, offices, strategic planning rooms, and other functional areas. The construction and existence of this bunker was kept secret until the 1990s, when ARK was finally revealed.

The shelter itself is an Artifact. It has been build to protect high-ranking politicians and military commandants of Ex Yugoslavia in case of the Atomic War. At this moment the object is still under the Ministry of Defense of B&H, and it is among 60 other Military objects that are no longer perspective or needed by the Ministry of Defense of B&H.

The Biennial Directorate wants to protect it and keep it preserved and as they see it, the best way to accomplish that goal is to protect it with help of artists and their artworks.

The first biennial was opened on May 27th 2011. Partner countries for the organization of the 1st Biennial were Republic of Serbia and Montenegro. Selectors were Branislav Dimitrijević and Petar Ćuković and it was curated by Branislav Dimitrijević. There were 44 participating artist and most of the artworks stayed exhibited at the shelter. Artist came from 18 countries, approximately 50% from the region and 50% around the world. Council of Europe proclaimed this project as Cultural event of Europe.

Partner countries for the 2nd Biennial are Republic of Turkey and Republic of Croatia. The selectors and the curators are Basak Senova and Branko Franceschi. They work seperately with complimentary curatorial statements.The biennial will be opened on April 26th 2013.




 

TIME CUBE
(curatorial statement by Basak Senova)

If we're built from Spirals while living in a giant Spiral,
then is it possible that everything we put our hands to
is infused with the Spiral?
*

Our thoughts concerning a spatial metaphor for chronology is based on our movements on a front and back axis and we accordingly treat future and past as though they were locations ahead and behind**. However, in the time conception of ancient Greek, time was a circle where everything would come back to its start. Relatively, as the cognitive mapping of the Aymara people of South America suggests, the past is ahead and the future is behind. In any case, a sequence of time is remembered and told through attached and linked objects, subjects, and locations. Sequences have orders, yet, the act of remembering re-orders sequences either by eliminating some them or through the differing perceptions of chronology. Regardless of constructed histories and collective memories, remembering means jumping from one sequence to another.

The same logic indicates there to be one or more readings inscribed in all of the journeys of remembering. Each reading guides towards a new reality and each reality illuminates a new path to discover curves, waves, missing details, obscured secrets, and disguised opinions. Readings of the past. Reminiscent of future memories. In the act of remembering, the odyssey becomes deeper and the narratives twist even more when the variables are constantly changing to anchor a memory. We jump from one sequence to another, sometimes back and forth, and sometimes by spinning in spirals.

By navigating through sequences of time, the Time Cube project aims at dwelling in past and future memories by (i) reconstructing narratives; (ii) experiencing diverse realities simultaneously; (iii) connecting the temporal with the spatial; and (iv) processing the evidences of fiction and fact together.

The central object of Time Cube is "Facility D-0, Tito's Atomic War Command" located in Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was built (from the 1950s through the 1970s) as a shelter for the Yugoslav Army headquarters with 350 chosen ones to protect them from a possible nuclear fallout. Now, this very object still stands as a unique fiction, which is also a pastiche of industrial aesthetics and facts with working engines and ventilators as the backdrop of a historical fact.  The bunker simply freezes time and is totally isolated from the outer world. At the same time, the bunker unfolds all the possible tensions, disappointments, dreams, hopes, and miseries of the entire geography.

This curiously fascinating project intends to detect evidences of past and future memories by challenging accredited perspectives of history with artistic projects. Research-based projects form the spine of this intention by shaping the project through their own expedition. In due course, Time Cube is open to accidents and coincidences through juxtapositions, intersections, and connections with other projects and art works that are concurrently presented in the bunker.


*Quoted Maximillian Cohen from Pi (1989), directed and written by Darren Aronofsky

**Núñez, Rafael E. and  Eve Sweetser. (2006) "With the Future Behind Them: Convergent Evidence From Aymara Language and Gesture in the Crosslinguistic Comparison of Spatial Construals of Time", Cognitive Science, Volume 30, Issue 3, pages 401–450, May-June 2006










THE CASTLE
(curatorial statement by Branko Franceschi)

K., who had half-risen and smoothed his hair,
looked at the people from below and said:
"What village have I wandered into? So there is a castle here?"
*

In fact, there is no village and no castle. But, amidst the picturesque mountains and gorges of Bosnia and Herzegovina adorned with citadels and castles remnants of its warfare past, fake village houses hide the entrance to the ARK D-0. Built during the Cold War era it represents the modern inversion of the medieval emanation of military and political power. Instead of it crowning mountain peaks with elaborate stone construction that provide bird’s eye vistas of the ruled lands below, its might is embedded in solid rock hundred meters below the surface, its electronic protrusions scan wide and far, secrecy and invisibility being its main assets. Yet, the essence remains the same. It was conceived and built to preserve political and military elite from the perils of war and to maintain it in power long after the populace – the sole reason of elite’s  existence and the fundament of its power - has been annihilated in the nuclear blast. The well lit, airy, bleak and austere interior of symmetrically mirrored shape with countless rows of corridors, plain doors opening into cells and billets of dated state-of-the art technology, represents military functionalism of survival at the highest attainable level. It also reeks of paranoia, egotism of totalitarian rule, and misuse of public funds from international creditors, indebting future generations. In the end, the complex social structure it was built to protect from the long range missiles hitting from above, crumbled from within and the memories of its mighty, loved and feared leaders are inevitably fading away.

The facility itself was saved from the preprogrammed red-button ignited detonation doom thanks to the brave trick of a single military official. Though it ultimately failed, can we think of ARK D-0 as anything but the marketing tool of the contemporary tourism craze? Is there a salvation on the path from generals to tourist agencies?

The transgenerational group of artists, the witnesses, the prodigal, the heirs to the age of the Cold War paranoia facing contemporary challenges, will contribute their efforts to recur the enchanted atomic shelter to the visibility. They dare authority, the undisputed, and the unquestionable. They will add a flash of vision, light and sound to the silent undead skeleton structure lurking in underground darkness. They will reflect complexities ARK D-0 stands for and they will bring it back to the people who paid for it, but for whom it was never built.

*Franz Kafka, The Castle, 1926




 



         
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