City as Theatre and Laboratory: Is Tourism now the only Performer on the Dubrovnik Stage?
Talk by Sandra Uskokovic and Boris Bakal
6:30pm Thursday 12 March
Recent redistribution of property and a redirection of capital
investment associated with the new market economy, and increased tourism
flows buoyed by a wave of transformations in the UNESCO designated
historic city of Dubrovnik have led to the city’s museumification,
gentrification and an effacement of public spaces and memory of the
city. The production of consecrated, canonized images, and a
romanticized image of the historical past, serving tourism and
entertainment have undermined its urbanity, replacing it with a
monumental, static image.
Once a theatrical city, Dubrovnik is
today a city laboratory for experimentation, choreographed in silent
complicity with tourism, while urban image construction is entangled in
short-term investment strategies. In a historical moment when the
experience of public space seemed to be entirely mediated by ownership
and finance, an opportunity emerged for art practices that highlight the
complex social experiences of urban space in more creative and palpable
ways that focus on the public interest. The Shadow Casters’ project is
one such practice, a critical performance of memory that pieces together
the performative depictions of urban images and the performative
translations of mute urban objects in Dubrovnik. The project seeks to
make the urban past present in ways that can be experienced, generating a
knowledge of the relationship between past and present that is
oftentimes troubling, and at other times comforting.
About Sandra Uskokovic
Sandra Uskokovic is a scholar of modern and contemporary Central and Eastern European art, and Associate Professor at the University of Dubrovnik, Croatia. A visiting scholar at universities in Europe, Asia, and North America, her research interests include art criticism, modern and contemporary art, urban and cultural theory, performative arts and heritage studies.
About Boris Bakal
Boris Bakal is a theatre/film director, actor and intermedia artist (Zagreb, Croatia). He authored theatre and film projects, performances, installations and multimedia artworks which have been presented at festivals and exhibitions in over 20 countries worldwide. He is been a visiting lecturer at New York University, State University of New York (SUNY) Stony Brook, and Columbia University.x