Thursday, June 23, 2011

Memorials in former Yugoslavia

Memorials in former Yugoslavia

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Fat Possum, 2011)

Unknown Mortal Orchestra are a Portland-based trio that have just issued their self-titled debut on Fat Possum Records. Insound's description of "break-beats together with 70s pop harmonies and a minimal Krautrock rhythm section" sounds spot-on to me but it was the album cover that really caught my attention.  

The photograph on the cover of their album is of a monument at Petrova Gova in Croatia. This is one of countless monuments that were commissioned by former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito in the 1960s and 1970s to commemorate sites where WWII battles took place. They were designed by different sculptors and architects to convey a powerful visual impact and to show the confidence and strength of the "bortherhood and unity" of Tito's Socialist Republic. 

Petrova Gora

Petrova Gora (Jan Kempenaers, 2006)

In the 1980s, these monuments or "Spomenik" attracted millions of visitors per year, especially young pioneers for their "patriotic education." After Yugoslavia fell apart in the  early 1990s, the monuments were completely abandoned, and their symbolic meanings were lost.

From 2006 to 2009, Belgian photographer Jan Kempenaers toured around the republics of the former Yugoslavia with the help of a 1975 map of memorials. His photographs were published in the 2010 book Spomenik, which can be viewed here

Kozara (Jan Kempenaers, 2007)



More Spomenik can be viewed here and here.

? from Unknown Mortal Orchestra on Vimeo.

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