SIV- Palace of Federal Executive Council, 2011
15 Photographs, 135 x 90 cm each
Courtesy of the artist
Basic information on the Palace of Serbia, located in Block 13 in New Belgrade between what are now Mihailo Pupin and Nikola Tesla Boulevards, can be found in encyclopedias, both the hardback versions and those hovering – in a way unfathomable to ordinary people – around us in the planet’s digital information sphere. When it was constructed, the building was named the Palace of Federation but, colloquially, sometimes even officially, it was called “SIV” (acronym for the Federal Executive Council). When two more structures had been created to meet the needs of increased state administration, the established name received a numerical addition: “SIV 1”. After the breakup of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, only the name the Palace of Federation was used, and after the disappearance of the two-member union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2006, the building was unofficially designated as the Palace of Serbia.
Today the Palace of the Federal Executive Council exists in the fourth state, under a new official name. In the broadest sense, many of its original functions have been restored. Not all, of course. The feeling of ghostly abandonment has long gone. People who enter the building to get a job done circulate through its corridors again. Even passers-by are now allowed to approach the building. It cannot be said that its interior is a public space – restrictions still exist – but it seems that a lot more people have penetrated into the interior.
“Time Capsule” is a child’s game in which important items (ranging from valuables to trinkets) are buried in a waterproof container, most often a metal box, and then, many years later, accessed in order to understand a bygone age. However, these small, often peculiar treasures do not belong exclusively to children. They have frequently been buried by adults and the Internet lists numerous capsules buried over a century ago. Some are to be opened on the scheduled day of a significant event in the distant future, and some objects have even been sent into space.
Fortunately, the powerful edifice of SIV Palace has not been buried. It can be said that today it is an unintentional “time capsule”. In front of us, almost untouched, stands the material basis or representative visual frame of a social system that, in the non-material sphere, offered a passport to travel anywhere, a home, free education and health care, employment and the prospect of progress. If you look at the photographs by Dušan Đorđević, you not only get an insight into the aesthetic views of mid twentieth-century socialist Yugoslavia, in what was considered representative in the field of monumental and applied arts – but a keen eye will also easily recognize in them the spirit of a time when there was still confidence in the future.
(Mileta Prodanović, Time Capsule, excerpt from the monograph Dušan Đorđević, SIV, Belgrade, 2014)
Dušan Đorđević (Belgrade, 1966) studied at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Department of Photography, Film and TV Camera in Belgrade. He gained his professional experience in Copenhagen; worked as a photography editor for numerous magazines in the country and abroad; a long-time photographer for the Atelje 212 Theatre. He builds his artistic career through exhibitions, monographs and projects in the field of photography.