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Kolovratar Đura, An Assembly of Workers and Communists Supports Comrade Tito’s Foreign Policy

Bor, 1949 (Public Library of Bor)

Unknown, Portrait of a Miner With a Pipe

Bor, 1947 (Public Library of Bor)

Rejoyce, my homeland, for your flame Still burns as shock workers proud Smelt this endless winter Into a brief month In Bor basin

< Kolovratar Đura, An Assembly of Workers and Communists Supports Comrade Tito’s Foreign Policy

Bor, 1949 (Public Library of Bor)

The environmental crisis lasting for decades in Bor has long been its citizens‘ means for negotiating the balance between life and work. In the project outline for the previous, sixth kilometer, it was emphasized that the activities of mining industry and smelting operations, although detrimental to Bor‘s natural environment and citizens‘ health, represent a basic, and often the only source of livelihood. However, demographic indicators unequivocally point to the depopulation of the town and municipality, i.e. drop in natality and increase in emigration rate, during the last twenty years.

Mitić Dragoljub, An Assembly of Workers at the Open-Cast Mine in Bor

Bor, 1969 (Public Library of Bor)

Markov Ljubomir, Opening of Mine Facilities in Krivelj

Bor, 1985 (Public Library of Bor)

The wave of migration that has commenced by the beginning of the 1990s, due to economic instability and the inception of post-industrial era, now culminates as a result of the increased publicity of adverse ecological indicators, as well as the uncertain future of Bor mine following the change of ownership and business model.

New Town Cemetery

Mitić Dragoljub, A Welder in RTB Bor

Bor, 1962 (Public Library of Bor)

The last section of Bor‘s linear structure is occupied by the New Town Cemetery, thus the seventh kilometer stands in both literal and symbolic way as a closure to Bor and this project. The New Town Cemetery was built and officially opened in 1973, and in 2017 the Municipality of Bor made a Detailed Regulation Plan with the aim of expanding the town cemetery and its facilities and infrastructure. As an epilogue to this research, this chapter focuses on the problem of Bor demographics as an explicit reflection of life-work-city relationship. Regarding the spatial and thematic features of the seventh kilometer, the site for this project‘s intervention is the borderline between the protective green area and the “Memorial Garden” (Vrt sećanja), as outlined in the Plan.

Markov Ljubomir, RTB Bor Workers at Strike

Bor, 2004 (Public Library of Bor)

Is Bor a dying town?

The relationship Bor‘s citizens have towards death includes specific funerary customs. In their everyday life, the citizens of Bor practice the custom of writing the last farewell, which rarely gets published in local newspapers – instead it gets posted on a specific medium of social communication – an obituary notice board. These notice boards can be found at the town‘s each kilometer, and an obituary is posted on the board belonging to the late person‘s place of residence,. As time goes by, these boards become conveyors of the town‘s spirit and purpose, and harbingers of the question: “Is Bor a dying town?”

Markov, Ljubomir, Union Protests in Bor, 2001 (Sign: We don’t want to plant peanuts, we want to cast copper)

Bor, 2001 (Public Library of Bor)

The terminal position of the seventh kilometer and the end of the town metaphorically suggest the fading of life in this town and imply further exploration of its empirical interpretation. Simultaneously, this position strives to create a peculiar continuation of life. The projection of this kilometer‘s future entails a spatial postulation of life‘s continuation in Bor embodied in memorials which keep us from forgetting the destructive nature of the environmental crisis. Their role is two-fold: to cherish and emphasize the subtleties of Bor‘s citizens‘ funerary customs, and to remind us of the current situation and its main cause.

< Markov, Ljubomir, Union Protests in Bor, 2001 (Sign: We don’t want to plant peanuts, we want to cast copper)

Bor, 2001 (Public Library of Bor)

The Seventh Kilometer:
Art Photography

In my personal recollection gallery two pictures stand apart, etched in my childhood memories. They both dominata the town’s landscape – the smoke billowing from the factory smokestacks and the obituaries. Growing up in a mining town, whose economic and social heyday was long gone, documenting the obituaries emphasizes the impression of grey backwater and torpor which define the town and its people. The coverage I started in Bor, in 2010, with end nowhere in sight, seemed like an appropriate visual metaphor for a dying town. The name od the project is “The Seventh Kilometer” after the eponymous section of Bor where the town cemetery is located and it comprises a series of photos with the aim of impartially comprehending the local mortuary cuult and death ritual, which, regarding certain well-known cases, haven’t evolved much since pagan times. An open-pit mine as a spatial negative of a red hill which dominated the town before the great discovery of copper vein, a yawning gap in the ground, nucleus from which the town emerged – in a metaphorical way resembles an entrance into the underworld. Thus an imaginary line is formed: from kilometer zero – a symbolicaly begining, to the cemetery – the end of everything.

Katarina Đorđević (Facultz of Fine Arts, katarinadjordjevicginger@gmail.com)
finished undergraduate and master studies at the Faculty of Fine Arts in
Belgrade, at the Department of Painting. She enrolled in PhD programme in 2019
at the same facultz and department. She participated in many group and one
solo exhibition. She lives and works in Belgrade.