Nurope Zadar


Memories, Indentites, Archipelagos

Nurope, Zadar Oasis, Fall 2010

The project “The Mediterranean – Memories and Reflections” analyzes the relations between the past and contemporariness in life on the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean has always been the place of origin and intersection of different civilizations, religions and cultures. The history of the Mediterranean is the history of conquests, dominations and cultural influences. It reveals the idealistic wars, such as the Crusade, which was fought to gain jurisdiction over the place of Christ’s tomb. The place itself is covered in fog of historic oblivion, because the Romans destroyed the former Jerusalem and the Byzantine Empress reconstructed it through her vision. The Empress was from the same empire whose capital city, Constantinople, just like Zadar, was conquered and plundered by the warriors lead by her and other visions. It is the history of great ports, merchant routes and lighthouses. In modern culture, it is the place where futurist manifest meets the political activism of Kosta Gavras, and literature meets the memories of Orhan Pamuk with changing identity of Fernando Pessoa. The Mediterranean is the place that is constantly reflected on its own history, denying it, impersonating it blindly or pretending as though it never existed. Just as the ideas of the Mediterranean travel far north, that same Mediterranean reflects itself in architecture, literature and landscape organization in the north. The north constantly returns to the Mediterranean, in one great circle from Greek battles of Lord Byron to James Joyce’s stay in Pula and Trieste. The town of Zadar is one of the spots in the Mediterranean where the fusion of history and reflection is so strong that it turns the whole town into infinite forest of symbols and events. As the great Slavko Mikolčević once wrote “We will only return the old rocks on their previous places and the town will rise again”, and Zadar is constantly destroyed, reconstructed, and it lives the fullness of Mediterranean life. Modern and traditional, popular and distinguished, just as it fuses the poor stone houses with gothic and classicist palaces in its architectural matrix. In place where once stood medieval stone walls, the Austro-Hungarian urbanism produced a number of buildings just like the ones on the waterfront in Rijeka and Pula. In Second World War most of the buildings were destroyed, and consequently replaced by trees. In 1950s, a white stone house was built in place of former reading room, which encompassed the poetics of Bauhaus through almighty Socio-Realism of that time. And then, just like in some paradigmatic turn of events, in 2005, an installation named Sea Organs were built by Nikola Bašić, and in 2008 Greeting to the Sun was built nearby. At the very end of the waterfront full of history and importance is the magnificent sunset that occurs in the scenery of the channel and numerous islands. At that very place the sea produces the sound-music of the organs, and the Sun feeds the cells that reflect the vibrating light in the night. Four elements – Water, Air, Fire and Earth fuse and tell us countless stories about the town and the Mediterranean. The stories that just like in the book by Claudio Magris are set in “That other sea”. The idea of this project was to touch and reveal some of them.