Dejan Habicht: PST, Memorial Blocks
Photograpic installation and lecture, 2001 — 2008
On 11 April 1941, the occupying Italian army seized Ljubljana; two weeks later, organized resistance began. When the occupying army realized that partisan operations were being directed from Ljubljana, it set out to physically separate the city from its hinterland. Between January 1942 and September 1943, a 33-kilometer barbwire fence dotted with 102 bunkers was erected. On 9 May 1945, Ljubljana was liberated. The barbwire was removed, the bunkers were torn down, and in less than a year hardly any traces of the fence were visible. In 1958, the vestiges of the bunkers were protected by decree as part of the cultural heritage. In the spring of 1961, the work collectives of Ljubljana-based work organizations (as companies were called in socialism) began erecting the Memorial Blocks. These octagonal pillars of uniform size, designed by the architect Vlasto Kopač, were erected on the sites where the bunkers had been situated during the war. The pillars bore a barbwire motif, the years 1942 and 1945, and the name of the work organization which had “donated” the individual pillar. By 1962, 102 had been erected. Despite the municipal ban on any construction on the line of the wartime barbwire fence and on (re)moving the pillars, many of them have disappeared, while some of them are now suddenly on private property, inaccessible to the public.
The aim of my PST (acronym for The Path of Remebrance and Comradeship) project was to document the actual (2001) outlook of Ljubljana on the border from 1942 but the aim of Memorial Blocks project (2008) was not only to determine how many are still standing around Ljubljana, but also to see what has happened to the work organizations which “donated” them.
Dejan Habicht: Memorial Blocks
Lecture performance, 2016
Tuesday, 16 February 2016 at 5:30 p.m., +MSUM.
Dejan Habicht (1960) is a professional photographer and conceptual artist. The focus of his work is the everyday and memory. He lives in Ljubljana.