Where fish and bullets coexist: Bosnian post-war landscape project selected for major international conference

Drowned in Neretva River

Department of Landscape Architecture Lecturer Dr Armina Pilav has been selected to present a project that explores post-war landscapes in Bosnia, at the 2020 Future Architecture Creative Exchange.

Armina was one of only 25 successful projects, selected from over 400 applications, for the international exhibition that will take place in Ljubljana from 12 - 13 February.

Armina’s project, Drowned in Neretva River, explores the post-war landscape of the city of Mostar in Bosnia and the Neretva river that runs through it.

The city, which was developed along the banks of the river, saw its nine connecting bridges destroyed during the Bosnian war, from 1992-1996.

Drowned in Neretva River explores how the ecological and social environment surrounding the river has changed in the post war years, where fish and bullets now coexist on the riverbed and temporary war bridges embody survivors’ trauma.

Armina said: “Neretva and her organic system changed in environmental terms but also in its spatial and social role. In the wartime, the river ecosystem started to deposit anorganic materials, pieces of exploded bombs, remnants of temporary bridges and other debris. Since then, the river natural ecosystem is in constant becoming introducing hybrid spaces and species that today are underrepresented.”

“Our idea is to ‘think with’ Neretva and through narratives on architecture, nature, mapping, underwater archeology, represent her hybrid condition in Bosnia and internationally.”

The project is a collaboration with Damir Ugljen and Jonas Langbein from cross-media research-based practice Un-war space lab.

Projects were selected for the 2020 Creative Exchange by 23 members and 11 alumni of Future Architecture. 19,849 votes were cast in the public vote.

Armina, who joined the Department of Landscape Architecture in September 2019, leads postgraduate Landscape Design and Art Practice and the undergraduate Field Study module.

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