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Projects / Projects

Small Urban Interventions "Revival of Monuments"

The topic of Public art & Public (PaPs) space educational course for the academic year 2016/2017(third year of Undergraduate Studies) was the realization of a “Small Urban Intervention” and measurement of its short-term effects in public space. A group of three students, including Sanja Đurić, Katarina Radičević and Staša Petrović, decided to implement their idea through the project “Revival of Monuments”. The students explained their idea as follows: “Often, preoccupied with our business of the day, we are not paying attention to the monuments, important people and events that they are representing. The goal of our project was to ‘humanize’ the monument and examine how much people are paying attention to changes in their surroundings, despite daily routines and concerns. We did not want only to revive the monument, but to make a day better for bystanders.” They decided to implement the idea in the monument of great, world’s physician, Nikola Tesla (Frano Kršinić is the sculptor of the monument that was placed in front of the Building of Technical Sciences, University in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1963). This location was chosen because it is a daily route the students’ themselves passing-by. Limited to the realization of low-cost intervention, students decided to use their own skills and knitted a woolen hat for the monument. The project’s results presented at the final exam by students showed the most people did not notice the intervention. However, all the people who perceived the intervention had a positive reaction; some of them stopped to take a picture, while the others smiled happily awhile passing by. These reactions of the people were very satisfying results of the project and the students were pleased with the experience they had during the PaPs educational course.

The next academic year (winter semester 2017/18), the PaPs educational course continued to explore the topic of Small Urban Interventions. Additionally, we had the honour to host Rachel Klipa (an artist and Program Manager of Community Engagement at the Office of Public Art, City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US) as a consultant, during the entire course period. While reviewing the past results of the course, Rachel found the project “Revival of Monuments” very interesting. She said simplicity and great power to transform a place makes the project beautifully. Immediately, Rachel proposed prominent follow-up step to the project through another implementation. This time, she intended apparently far location in the US, yet the most closely connected with the monument to Nikola Tesla in Belgrade. On Goat Islands in Niagara Falls (NY, US), a replica of the monument to Nikola Tesla was placed in 1976 (it was the donation of Yugoslavia in US). Rachel founded exciting the opportunity to connect the two monuments to Nikola Tesla (in Belgrade and at Niagara Falls) with a modest installation such was wool hat. She asked the students who are authors of the idea if they would like to knit another hat for the monument at Niagara Falls. She also expressed personal interest to place the hat by herself, on the way back home in the US. Thus, in March 2018, the monument of Nikola Tesla in US also got a hat made in Serbia. The Niagara Falls are a well-known touristic destination with many visitors and most of them usually take pictures with the monument. Rachel argues the monument has a prominent location, most of the visitors are familiar with the identity of great scientist Nikola Tesla and people have no barriers to make a contact with the monument (for example kids are climbing on it). Thereby, she witnessed many people coming to take a photo with the monument also with the woollen hat while she was following the post-implementation process, in the period of two weeks. Rachel was joyful to implement the PaPs’ installation in the US and she found the contribution important. She highlights that the project “Revival of Monuments” continues to live in photos that people take and, it serves as a silent reminder about possibilities to connect places and people.

 

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