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Museum of Revolution

Belgrade, Serbia
1 of 9
Never finished museum

In 1961 a daring design by Vjenceslav Richter was chosen for what was meant to be one of the most prominent buildings of socialist Yugoslavia - the Museum of the Revolution in New Belgrade. Richter stated that the purpose of this museum was "to safeguard the truth about us". Over decades, changes of site, financing and legislature led to delays and the eventual abandonment of the ambitious project. The underground level of the Museum remains, now home to several dozens of people, tucked in between government buildings and the largest shopping center in the Balkans.

The never built Museum of the Revolution was meant to be publicly open in 1981 and was supposed to present collection and permanent exhibition, a complete insight into the labour movements and people's revolution within the whole SFR Yugoslavia. The project was initiated through a national competition charged with the task of expressing the socialist ideal, one that constitutes the 'revolution' of the international workers movement. At the time, Museums of the Revolution were sprouting across Yugoslavia and this one was supposed to be the centerpiece, a monumental modernist structure with the location carefully chosen in keeping with the vision for the New Belgrade. After a decade and several attempts to better the scheme through engineering and planning concerns the construction started but was short-lived. Only the underground level was cast and it is still there - a black box recording political vicissitudes, causes and effects distilled to this day.

Using film as a medium at the Serbian Pavilion of the XIV. Architectural Biennial in Venice, director Srdan Keca traces the aftermath, leftover archeology of Richter's museum through several narratives, which are displayed in the perimeter of the pavilion as three separate projections. As living quarters for a gypsy community the Museum's foundations are inhabited, while at the same time, the place is utterly invisible. This habitation, whether it is a cave, a 'primitive hut' or a memory of the museum, shown alongside the tranquility of the park, nearly became the site for one of the most significant institutions of Yugoslavia.

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bostjan, March 17th, 2017
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