[artinfo] The Unconquered City: The Issue of Housing

Darko Fritz darko at darkofritz.net
Mon Dec 21 20:53:49 CET 2015

The Unconquered City: The Issue of Housing

The Women's Anti-Fascist Network of Zagreb, 
Katarina Duda and Iva Ivas in cooperation with 
Petra Miliãki

The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Media Façade
21 Dec 2015  - 6 Jan 2016

Connecting Cities Network / Invisible Cities
Mediator: Tactical Technology Collective, Berlin
"Interrupting Everyday" Workshop: m-cult, Helsinki (CCN)

Project Manager: Tihomir Milovac
Curator: Darko Fritz


The idea for a media façade was conceived during 
the Interrupting Everyday Workshop, held in June 
2015 in Helsinki, led by the Tactical Technology 
Collective and organized by Helsinki's m-cult in 
the frame of the Connecting Cities Network (CCN) 
project. The aim of the workshop was to bring the 
activist group and designer together to jointly 
develop a media contribution. Thus, work for the 
Museum's media façade, developed during this 
workshop, is directly linked to the practical 
work of the Women's Anti-Fascist Network of 
Zagreb (MAZ) and emerges from the topic of the 
latest issue of the association's magazine, 
elaborating on the issue of housing and housing 
policy. The project is the work of Katarina Duda 
and Iva Ivas of MAZ in co-operation with graphic 
designer Petra Miliãki.

The media façade of the Museum of Contemporary 
Art is used as a reflection of neighbouring 
façades surrounding the museum. The façades of 
the residential buildings in Novi Zagreb, a 
quarter built with the community in mind, are 
represented through a fragmented image shown on 
the three video channels of the media façade. The 
site-specific video installation on the media 
façade as an examination of apartments and 
housing conditions raises the question of the 
right to housing: above all, it is a reminder of 
the priority of housing rights over proprietary 

The authors explain the social and economic 
context of the project: "The housing crisis 
shaking Croatia and the entire EU has not emerged 
due to a shortage of housing. It is a consequence 
of hikes in rent prices, loans, the 
gentrification process and the migration of 
people from city centres. Analyses of housing 
policies in Yugoslavia identify the period as one 
of a state of permanent housing crisis. Although 
there were many issues, ranging from the mode of 
apartment assignment, the absence of a consistent 
housing policy, an insufficient number of 
apartments and their inadequate amenities (an 
inconsistency with European standards), to the 
incongruities between state- and market-driven 
housing policies, it does appear that the 
egalitarianism of the period was on a higher 
level than it is today. If we are to refer to 
this as a period of housing crisis, how then are 
we to describe the housing policy in Croatia 
after the 1990s? We live in inherited apartments 
or, if we are not that lucky, we buy apartments 
(for ourselves or for our children) by taking out 
loans we will then repay for some 20 years. The 
increasingly uncertain working conditions and 
temporary work contracts make us uncreditworthy, 
resulting in a growing number of young people 
facing no other choice than to become tenants. A 
better conceived housing policy that would 
include social housing is a national interest 
because housing is the basic prerequisite of the 
social integration of citizens, i.e. a 
prerequisite for their contribution to the social 
and economic development of the country. Unlike 
many European countries Croatia's constitution 
makes no mention of the right to housing or of 
the state's obligation to provide its citizens 
with housing. It is time we started considering 
the right to housing as a fundamental human right 
that represents not only the wellbeing of the 
individual, but also of the entire community."

The Women's Anti-Fascist Network of Zagreb (MAZ) 
has been active since 2007. It functions on the 
principle of direct democracy - there is no 
hierarchic structure, and all decisions are made 
at monthly meetings by the about thirty active 
members. The work of MAZ, in the spirit of the 
anti-fascist struggle, is based on the principle 
of solidarity and implies knowledge production 
and the creation of a venue for the gathering of 
various organizations and individuals with the 
objective of ever stronger and more intense 
integration, networking and the creation of a 
social space. MAZ's activities include the 
Solidarity March and Antifanight, the Unconquered 
City magazine, the Radio Borba ("Combat Radio") 
radio show, cleaning hate messages from city 
façades, etc. In 2015, the 70th anniversary of 
the liberation of Zagreb was celebrated with a 
bonfire on the Sava River embankment. Find out 
more at http://maz.hr

Unconquered City is the MAZ association magazine, 
the objective of which is to discuss the topic of 
anti-fascism, its heritage and contemporary 
meaning within a broad range of topics, and 
thereby to continue in other media the knowledge 
production taking place within the association 
through forums, workshops, self-education circles 
and event organization. The magazine is issued 
twice a year with the support of the Ministry of 
Culture and is the product of the associated 
labour of MAZ members.

Petra Miliãki is a visual communication and 
networked media designer (School of Design, 2011 
/ Piet Zwart Institute, 2013). In her 
self-initiated work she deals mostly with the 
interpretation of existing, collectively produced 
material and the development of media that 
encourages such production. She is currently 
working on the topic of culture and memory policy 
in the new media environment. She works as an 
independent graphic designer and web developer, 
mostly for institutions and initiatives in the 
domain of culture.

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