8TH KILOMETER

8TH KILOMETER | BOR | SERBIA 2021

8TH KILOMETER | BOR | SERBIA 2021

THE 2ND
KILOMETER

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Mitić Dragoljub, The House of Culture in Bor. At the fringes of the opening of the House of Culture on December 30, 1971

Bor, 1971 (Public Library of Bor)

Kolovratar Đura, Movie Theatre “Pobeda“ (at night) in Bor During the 1950s

Bor, 195? (Public Library of Bor)

Most of today‘s cultural venues and institutions, as well as public services of Bor, are occupying the space of the historical town center of Bor and the second kilometer

< Mitić Dragoljub, The House of Culture in Bor. At the fringes of the opening of the House of Culture on December 30, 1971

Bor, 1971 (Public Library of Bor)

Most of today‘s cultural venues and institutions, as well as public services of Bor, are occupying the space of the historical town center of Bor and the second kilometer, in the vicinity of the industrial facilities for copper ore processing. Loose spatial definition of this section is outlined by the premises of a primary music school, also housing a cultural center, the Movie Theater “Zvezda” located next to the Hotel “Serbia”, the Old Post Office building, the Town Hall, a department store, the old farmers market, a primary school and, finally, the House of Culture accommodating the National Library, Radio Television of Bor, the Tourist Organization and the Museum of Mining and Metallurgy. Moše Pijade Street, the backbone of the town‘s structure, meets here with the open spaces of the Park Museum, a city park, Liberation Square and a plaza with a depressed amphitheater in front of the House of Culture.

Markov Ljubomir, Dolphin Show at the Indoor Pools of the Sports Center “Mladost” in Bor, 1990

Bor, 1990 (Public Library of Bor)

Mitić Dragoljub, The Ceremonial Meeting of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia Municipal Board in Bor on Day of Youth, May 25, 1962

Bor, 1962 (Public Library of Bor)

These cultural venues and their content are connected on multiple levels with the mining industry, which was the source of financing for the construction of some of the venues. This connection is also strengthened through the cultural institutions‘ functional nature, development dynamics and fortune, that are bound, directly and indirectly – through citizens‘ actions, to changeable, fickle and uncertain state of affairs of RTB Bor company.

The House of Culture

Mitić Dragoljub, The House of Culture in Bor. At the fringes of the
opening of the House of Culture on December 30, 1971

Bor, 1971 (Public Library of Bor)

The House of Culture building and its immediate physical surroundings illustrate the link between the above-mentioned processes. The construction of the House of Culture was initiated in 1966, but a fund for constructing a venue for social organizations was formed several years earlier, by allocation of resources drawn from Bor workers‘ earnings. The building was under construction during 1970-1972 and it was designed to house the Central Library, the Adult Education Center, social and political organizations, the Youth Center, the Social Club, theater and cinema, and several craft and hospitality enterprises. The idea of placing town‘s key cultural institutions in one building reflects agitprop and “state-dictated bureaucratic and didactic” characteristics of the cultural politics in the second half of the 20th century. The result of this practice which governs the official culture in Bor today is a relative disconnection between the town‘s public life and public cultural heritage. Located right next to this politically designed cultural space, a plaza in front of the House of Culture serves as an important site of the town‘s heterogeneous social life which includes entertainment, leisure, political ceremonies, as well as citizens‘ and workers‘ rallies.

 

Markov Ljubomir, Paraćin Highway Interchange Blocked by Workers in 2004
as an Organized Protest Against the Privatization of RTB Bor

Bor, 2004 (Public Library of Bor)

Labor
movements

Labor movements are a particularly significant aspect of the town‘s social life and their history can be traced back practically to the very roots of mining at the start of the 20th century. During the period of socialist self-management, workers were official participants in managing the company policies and labor unions attained post-revolutionary form of bureaucratized participation with all its complexities and contradictions.

Although the role of workers and their organizations, following the change of sociopolitical system, was in different ways diminished or totally nullified, these movements represent the essential content and value of the cultural heritage which stands witness to the harsh nature of labor, as well as the significance of labor strife and its historical and contemporary deviations.

The nature of social interaction and life of numerous Bor‘s citizens, influenced by the particularities of their daily jobs and production organization, has established an authentic workers‘ culture, a kinship of life and work, feelings of intimacy with the industrial backdrop. During the period of economic stagnation emerging by the end of the past century, it has manifested itself as a culture of despair. From 2010 different strategies of cultivating a “positive” image of the town funded by RTB Bor donations have been trying, quite awkwardly, to redefine this by the questionable actions of “embellishing” the town space and “disneyfying” the industrial heritage of Bor, as manifestations of financial recovery thanks to the town and mining industry‘s team efforts.

Markov Ljubomir, RTB Bor Workers striking on Miners‘ Day, August 6, 2000s

 Bor, 2004 (Public Library of Bor)

PUBLIC INTERIORS

Although the citizens of Bor are aware of environmental, economic and social problems emerging from this relation, they still remain tied to its founding principle or the myth of modernization when assessing the viability of future life and work in Bor. Seeking to deconstruct the idea of optimism based on town‘s financial recovery as a consequence of mining industry‘s revival, this project develops different interpretations of utilizing extant cultural venues and public spaces of the second kilometer, exploring the relationship between their morphology on the one hand and the contemporary process of cultural production and Bor‘s social life connected to this space on the other.

< Markov Ljubomir, RTB Bor Workers striking on Miners‘ Day, August 6, 2000s

 Bor, 2004 (Public Library of Bor)