Amila Smajović

Monument-sign is part of a project explored by the AMILASTATE within her project entitled Globalization – an internal Combustion Process, as well as a series of projects related to the similar topics, such as S.O.S. – Creating Security and Common Sense Zones.

I consider a monument to the siege of the City to be a complex process. I have chosen to make/mark a space that can be read as a memorial to the siege of the city. For the first time this year, I felt a need to speak about that experience from a 10-year distance. The reasons should be sought in the annulment of the crime and in human civilization that shows the need to mark the site of suffering as the warning. I am the witness of time, the witness of some facts, and the facts and the witness of various attempts to revise my own memory. Now, we are witnessing the process that followed one after another: identification of crime, justice, marking, warnings, memories, forgetting all other truths, substituted meanings, or complete loss of memory, as well as the struggle for that very memory. There was no attempt to wait for the succession of generations that would inevitably erase memory and give it a different meaning, as it was the case with the post-communist period and with the destiny of the monuments dating from it.

Today, monument is a sign. I am interpreting monument as a traffic sign. I have chosen the form of a traffic sign – that of warning (entering onto the road where you do not have priority) as the form of Monument. Traffic sign serve to regulate and impose the rules of movement and behavior in traffic. The Monument-sign symbolically warns of the 1992-1995 period, of the time of the siege of Sarajevo and that period has got the right of “priority” for BiH. The choice of location – the intersection at Marijin Dvor, in front of the Parliament and Government buildings, now called the buildings of the joint administrative bodies, I use in order to mark the place “where everything started” and the place where everything ends, i.e. the place where the meaning of the word “siege” is being modified. I think that the form of a traffic sign is the best illustration of the necessary dynamism of contemporary monuments. Monument is not at a determined place, nor is the location marked for us to visit it intentionally, but the monument is erected at the place of exceptional frequency, of constant movement. It came to us, rather than us to it.

It is installed in space, over-sized in relation to the real sign, illuminated at night and decorated; it gets a structure of a memorial. The universal form of recognition of content of a traffic sign, i.e. of its message of warning, is my need to give the Monument-sign a universal language. I consider that the form of Monument-sign may be applied at other locations as well, other states and continents, and its message would be: One needs to learn the life rules of behavior – Do not kill!

Project received for the competition for new monument/artwork in public space in the category “Monument-sign”.