The un-war space open lexicon is a research process aimed to explore entanglements of war (violent) and un-war (non-violent) spaces in the cities/states that were and are still in the state of war or exception as for example Paris and Turkey.
It can be used and perceived as well as a method for spatial analysis and understanding of our current landscapes and cities reinforced by military presence and representations.
Lexicon contains define and non-defined terms. Thus Everyone at the moment of reading the lexicon is invited to contribute to the definition or discussion of the proposed terms.
It is constructed inventory for the found elements in the process of analyzing of the existing research archive of the citizens documents made during the siege of Sarajevo with attempt to identify un-war architecture and materiality of it. The amount of time that has passed since the end of the siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War allows us to conceive of the wartime city as an experimental and dynamic space. This wartime space is actually still strongly inscribed in the post-war Sarajevo through citizens’ memory, diaries, objects from war and in different public spaces. Proposal of this research lexicon is to analyze and employ these collective experimental spaces and ephemeral architecture samples as relay for source-based design approach for post-war cities, open to observe war destruction and military operations (violent) and citizens’ reaction to it (non-violent) altering tragic connotation of the war but also general fascinations about it.
Looking at the materiality of the Sarajevo siege is a transitional process of analyzing urban space of Sarajevo through the processes of destruction – construction – destruction – reconstruction. Un-war space research project is interested in learning analytical methods of the city during the wartime period from the experimental techniques applied by citizens during the war that further on will be employed in the educational realm on war/post-war cities as well as for design or experimental projects about war/post-war cities.
Isabel Stengers with her book “In the Catastrophic Times” (2015, pp.147) is interested in the artifices that demand collective, experimental art while creating pragmatic learning techniques loaded with human experiences. She points out in her text that: “It is often said that techniques are neutral, that everything depends on their utilization”. She continues with the suggestion to “substitute for the term utilization the term use and the sense of neutrality changes. It is no longer what allows responsibility to be shifted onto the mode of attention that every pharmakon demands”. In the case of this research lexicon, philosophical use of pharmacon as a composite of poison, remedy and scapegoat can be translated through the intention of the lexicon to identify processes and collective means of producing transitional spaces and objects during the war that were used to normalize citizens’ life during the war.
Abolition of war
Teresa Stoppani introduced the term artificial disaster that she defines as: “the violent destruction of the body of architecture by an intentional and planned act that affects architecture in its physical presence as well as in its strategic and symbolic role.” As examples of artificial disaster Stoppani considers: war, humanitarian intervention, intelligent bombing, act of terrorism, or State coercive diplomacy. Examining her text “The Architecture of the Disaster”, I realized that she adopted this terminology in order to be able to argue that artificial disaster is a type of project that attacks for architecture represents and stands for – social and political systems, religious values, economic systems, financial assets and so on. As such it acts in space and on space, that according to Stoppani its finality is not the form. (Stoppani, 2012, p.136).
Dynamics of war
Elements of the war space
Elements of the un-war space
Experience of the war space
Experience of the un-war space
Landscapes of war/change or Living Landscape
It is a landscape condition of moving of the earth and other natural recourses all the time for military purposes and for creation of a safe infrastructures for civilian use. Landscape of change was very specific use of the land in the city itself and on the hills surrounding Sarajevo and was subject to the physical activities: digging of the tranches for military and civilian use, creation of “accidental cemeteries” (Špilja, 1993, p.22) on the safe areas in the city, urban gardens for food production, land protection, construction of underground tunnel under the Sarajevo airport as the only way out from the city.
During the war in Sarajevo the interior organization, the meaning and the use of the individual homes changed. Houses and people’s homes as we are used to think about it and use it, made for specific family with certain amount of space and the interior decoration, locked and open only for invited guests, during the war opened to everyone and for all kind of uses as for shelter for civilians or soldiers. Due to internal displacement and migration to other safer countries many houses and flats were completely empty, abandoned where you could step in at any time and do whatever you wanted.
Methods of un-war architecture
Military operations are used for creation of the war space, places and cities and they are performed as: observation, occupation, controlled from distance and by sniper public space of death (I will show it on a descriptive model), battle tranches, bunkers.
Paramilitarist war documentary
Space in between military and citizens’ spaces, juxtaposition, exchange, transitional space. “Here the system flips the –– catastrophe –– and give rise to a whole new state of form” (Kwinter, 1992, p.60), where the question of scale was defined at the moment of the construction and by the available construction materials. Spaces were made of fragments, construction of the ephemeral structures/objects upon whole or damaged buildings that served to protect themselves from the Serbian forces shelling and sniper activities from the surrounding hills and dwelling buildings.
It takes material destruction of the city and buildings as a resource for the quotidian practices of basic, small and nonviolent building interventions for changing the war present, for hiding and protection of civilians from bombing while sleeping, cooking, playing, reading and for any other imagined activity. Un-war architecture produces spaces of disruption/distraction, safe and shared spaces through total transformation of individual and collective life as well as material objects. Distraction itself can be employed both socially and spatially. The word derives from the Latin dis-, “apart” and trahere, “drag”.
Uneventful visual representation.
Unwar photography is a display of the spatial conditions and social relations aiming to share human experience of individual and collective adaptation to the war conditions through appropriation practices of the landscape, city, buildings and houses during the war. Unwar photos are supporting evidentiary material showing construction practices of unwar spaces, culture and new society.
Un-war space refuses militarism.
"The term was coined by Sarajevo's Association of Architects during its city's siege in the 1990s. The Association of Architects thus applied architecture's particular techniques of spatialization and visualization to its city's destruction: architects mapped damage in terms of its architectural space of infliction (roof, facade, direct hit on building); they diagrammed its architectural effect (roof damage, partial burning of building, complete burning of building, total destruction);"
Andrew Herscher, 'Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict', p. 82-83, 2010.
War photography is often loaded with strong and sensational images of dead bodies, blood and desperate people that are living in the war city.