Sarajevo Singular Plural. In Honour of Zdravko Grebo

Jakob Finci, Wolfgang Petritsch and Christophe Solioz (Eds), Baden-Baden: Nomos | Southeast European Integration Perspectives, vol. 14 - forthcoming
Sarajevo Singular Plural offers a collection of contributions – essays and art and photography portfolios – focusing on Sarajevo as a “multiplex city”. The volume mirrors a multi-disciplinary collaborative investigation process which has its origin in a thoughtful and praxis-driven commitment to the notions of “with”, “being-with” and togetherness related to the urban space.

This volume intends to explore the modality of the “with” proper to Sarajevo, repeatedly presented as the city-artist of “living together”, of “being-with”. So-called togetherness is both subtle and volatile at the same time; it neither amounts to a conventional sort of political correctness nor to a repeatedly instrumentalised simulation.

Moving thus beyond the well-intentioned, but very often empty, discourse of the melting pot, a discourse unable to reach the very things it is talking about, the book screens how “being with” – at one and the same time co-existence, exposure to each other and hybridisation – is translated into the permanent metamorphosis of a city bonding its past and future. The challenge is thus to rediscover the energy and poetic productivity of the “Sarajevan text,” by freeing old “sentences” as much as possible from their patrimonial hold and, above all, by making it possible to read new ones.

Analysing the [dis]continuities and the scars, but also the prospectives, of Sarajevo, the urban space is scrutinised from a diversity of standpoints combining approaches inspired by architecture, urbanism, literature, art, anthropology, history, philosophy, social sciences and politics. Embracing “plural urbanism”, the volume views the city on the one hand as ceaselessly active and perpetually changing; and, on the other, as multidimensional and collaborative systems composed of highly reactive projects connecting a wide range of the “drivers for change” involved in reflexion and negotiation, joint ownership, reinvigorated local democracy and “commutative solidarity”.

“Being-with” – a radical operator, an action rather than a substance – is not, actually is not-yet. Aware of the necessity to overcome multiple shortcomings as well as the overall unfinished state of affairs, “being-with” means to affront, confront, transform, develop, recompose, combine, rechannel. At stake is a paving of the way to an “authentic future”.

The city thus deserves an approach made with reserve. A reserve which avoids a betrayal of its subject by identifying it too closely. Accordingly, this volume presents – instead of holistic approaches – fragments as much as single words and sentences which simulate the act of walking. “Only thoughts which come from walking have any value.” (Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, Maxims and Arrows 34).

The city’s discourse is created foremost by the flâneur, the wandering onlooker as he moves through the space and discovers the city as text, a hieroglyphic text which must be decoded. Thus, the urban space offers traces of meaning that are lost in the search for itself and in the [re]invention of itself.

This volume should not be considered as a closed and completed whole, a form deposited once and for all, or a totality. It amounts rather to an open site inviting a further combination of the different contributions which may be conceived as fragments which engage, over time, different readings of the urban space.

With first confirmed contributions from: Jean-Luc Nancy | Almin Zrno | Ferida Duraković | Edin Numankadic | Sabina Tanović | Larisa Kurtović | Jasmina Husanović | Mejrema Zatric | Smirna Kulenović | Emina Kujundžić | Yvana Enzler | Nicolas Moll | Igor Štiks | Gordana Anđelić-Galić | Nenad Stojanović | Nina Ugljen | Asim Mujkić | Nina Knežević | Srđa Hrisafović | Senka Ibrišimbegović | Milomir Kovačević – Strašni | Haris Piplas | Kenan Vatrenjak | Selma Harrington | Anida Krečo (updated on July 18, 2022)