The Phantoms of Skopje

Cities are places for exchange, as all the books of history of economics explain. But these exchanges are not only exchanges of goods, they are exchanges of words, desires, memories.

Italo Calvino

(Calvino on Invisible Cities, Columbia Review, N. 8, 1983, pp. 37-42)

 

Several years ago there was an initiative in Skopje for putting up info-boards on important locations in the city, a routine familiar in all the bigger cities of Europe. Through photo-documentation, architectural drawings and texts, the boards contain information on the history of a certain place or building. In the period of 2000-2002 many such boards were put up in Skopje … But, as it usually happens, within short time the boards were destroyed, broken, pulled out… Unrecognizable remainders are all that was left - a repellent picture that speaks of the attitude towards the city we live in.

"The Phantoms of Skopje" is a work through which I tried to point out to our indifference concerning the processes happening in the city – it loses its form, it slowly dies out of lack of communication, contents, happenings… One of those processes is the destruction of the monuments and the public cultural spaces… The result of that destruction is the oblivion that the city has been left to.

"The Phantoms of Skopje" project is one of the possible, one of the parallel topographies and histories of the city.

Searching for Skopje's urban myths, at 6 important chronotopes of Skopje: the Cultural centre "Tochka", the Macedonia Square, the "Jole" inn, the monument of Mother Theresa, the "Ilindenska" street across the Government building, 6 mementoes were put up with portraits of Ampo, Mizavir, Kef, Azdis and Boce together with the story that tells their ghostly contribution…