8TH KILOMETER | BOR | SERBIA 2021
Representing Serbia at the Biennale Architettura 2020, MuBGD, a team of eight architects, designed and produced an exhibition under the title The 8th Kilometer. The exhibition design was selected by the Scientific Committee, and the commissioner Slobodan Jović via an open call organized by the Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade in 2019. MuBGD team interpreted the theme of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia How Will We Live Together? through the life-work relationship which generates forms of collectivity and is manifested as a relation between one city’s production base and its urban structure. The specific subject of the research that forms the main content of the exhibition in the Pavilion of Serbia is Bor, a mining town in East Serbia. Geographically positioned within a non-ferrous metal mining basin, this town was urbanistically and architecturally developed during the post-war industrialization period, as a further upgrade to its multicultural character previously developed through the town’s core economic activity – mining.
As the authors of the exhibition have noticed, in everyday language the residents of Bor refer to the individual places of the town through a measure of their distance from the Bor open-cast mine, which they take as a starting point – “kilometer zero” or “the end of the world.” Furthermore, the inhabitants’ system of orientation is analogous to the methodology of planning and construction of the town itself by way of seven city kilometers. In this sense, the “eighth kilometer” represents a qualitatively new layer of the town, suggesting directions of its further development beyond the mining industry.
The exhibition demonstrates that in the example of the Bor Basin, developed mining production has so far been unambiguously positioned as the sole factor of the town’s existence. By placing this production into global capital flows, the town exhibits the absence of opportunities to improve its social and spatial plans. At the same time, due to the unsustainability of the previously proposed alternatives to its socio-economic development, Bor also represents an opportunity to redefine the life-work relationship and consequently its physical framework. Therefore, the exhibition and the research investigate the future of this relationship through the topic of the “eighth kilometer” which introduces disruption into the order of the existing seven urban zones, i.e. seven city kilometers.