In this conversation with Ana Džokić, we address the local politics of space and architecture in the capital city of Serbia, and former capital city of Yugoslavia, Belgrade. We use Ana’s carrier as an architect to explore the evolution of the way the city is inhabited from what she calls “wild city” at the end of the 1990s (recalling two other Archipelago conversations in Mexico City and Cairo) to the most recent capitalist development (in particular the Belgrade Waterfront project). We also questions the role of architects and its evolution in this politics, from the position of technocrat to the one that orchestrates conversation about the commons.

Ana Džokić lives between Belgrade and Rotterdam. Since 2000, together with Marc Neelen, she forms the practice STEALTH.unlimited. Through intensive collaborations with individuals, organisations and institutions, STEALTH connect urban research, visual arts, spatial interventions and activism. For about fifteen years they investigate the urban developments in Western Balkans, starting from their Wild City research on the massive unplanned transformation of the city of Belgrade since the 1990s. From 2009, STEALTH conducted four editions of the Cities Log research that investigate roles of different players in the development of cities in the region. As part of the Unfinished Modernisations project, they produced Kaluđerica from Šklj to Abc in 2012, an illustrated narrative on the dream of just legalisation of one of the largest informal settlements in the Balkans. In 2010, STEALTH co-initiated the platform Ko gradi grad (Who Builds the City) in Belgrade and within it in 2012 the long-term community-based housing project Smarter Building. Ana is part of the Ne da(vi)mo Beograd (Let’s not Drown Belgrade) initiative. She was trained as an architect at the University of Belgrade and completed a two-year postgraduate program at the Berlage Institute in Amsterdam. Currently she is completing PhD at the Royal Institute of Art (KKH) in Stockholm.

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