Thursday, 13 October 2011

Breaking Belgrade

There is nothing fashionietzsche loves more than a city break. As Roland Barthes and Walter Benjamin had us understand, the whole city is an archive, and last weekend my archive was Belgrade. One of the most exciting things about visiting Belgrade was that there was very little written about it and there is nothing better than 'discovering' a new city.  Here are a few things I especially enjoyed:

1) Architecture: Frankly I couldn't get enough of it. 1930s simple modernism standing adjoined to 19th Century Austro-Hungarian ornamentation, next to uncompromising stark communist buildings. Fascinating.

2) Ethnographic Museum: Absolutely worth a visit if you find yourself in the city. A great museum of material culture, covering Balkan dress, architecture and interior design. I particularly loved the downstairs display of slavic folk costume from 19th century, which was extremely detailed and strictly governed according to codes of gender, rank and status:

There was also a brilliant section in the museum on children's dress, which was particularly interesting because it was in many cases merely a scaled down version of adult clothing. This reflects the fact that there was no division in society between adult and child in these communities, with children being heavily involved in the adult routine of the day. Also, is it just me, or do the children in this photo (above) mimic the toy they are holding? You probably can't see it in this picture, but there is something rather eery about the similarity in their expressions and got me thinking about the significance of dolls in early childhood.

Oooh there's nothing like a city break for ones pseudo intellectual bones!

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