The Pilgrimage | Pionirsko hodočašće

In Yugoslavia’s historical laboratory of the future, socialism, self-management, tolerance, and inclusion intersected in various ways with architectural imagination. Today, the artifacts that constitute Yugoslavia’s socialist architectural heritage, and especially those that were instrumental in the ideological wiring of several post-war generations for anti-fascism and inclusive living, have been swallowed by the entropic appetite of aging collective memory, exacerbated by various forms of local and global political investment in forgetting their meaning. But, for those who choose to claim citizenship to the idea of Yugoslavia, now thirty years after its destruction (and do so precisely in opposition to crude transitional capitalism and its related nationalisms), memorials like the Partisan Memorial Cemetery in Mostar (vandalized in the summer of 2022) serve as navigational devices, both backward into history and forward into the future. Private memories of pilgrimages to the memorial sites they mark are as anachronistic in contemporary society as these objects themselves. And yet, if this anachronism is a way to anchor anti-fascist and transnational collectivity, they must be protected. Or, at the very least, remembered.

The Pilgrimage synthesizes “memories” from Yugoslavian elementary and high-school visits to these memorial monuments. It offers them in a shifting and spatial multi-channel video presentation accompanied by a non-linear documentary soundscape. Our A.I. “Stane” (StyleGAN3) has been trained on archival and individual photo documentation of the monuments to output a series of video interpolations based on them. The six monuments currently included are but a sampling, chosen for their likelihood to have been visited by Yugoslavia’s youth up until 1991, and thus most prone to resonate with the messages of anti-fascism and national brotherhood. In offering its synthesized memories of the lessons for the future that the original memorials were meant to carry, The Pilgrimage also presents anti-fascism and unity as political and activist positions available (and necessary) today, for the sake of the future. The Pilgrimage is both historical and impossible.


Ana Miljački, PhD, Professor of Architecture, and
Director of Critical Broadcasting Lab, MIT
Ous Abou Ras, MArch Candidate, MIT
Julian Geltman, MArch, MIT
Pavle Dinulović, Assistant Professor, Department of Sound Recording and Design, Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Belgrade
Calvin Zhong, MArch Candidate, MIT

CAST, Faculty Mellon Grant, MIT

Melika Konjičanin, Researcher,
Faculty of Architecture, Sarajevo
Ana Bakić, Assistant Professor, Head of Department of Drawing and Visual Design, Faculty of Architecture, Zagreb
Jelica Jovanović, Grupa Arhitekata, Belgrade
Andrew Lawler, Belgrade
Sandro Đukić, CCN Images, Zagreb
Other Tomorrows, Boston

Exhibited as part of Time Space Existence at the Palazzo Mora European Cultural Center

May through November 2023