THERE IS A LOT OF UNTAPPED CREATIVITY IN THE ARTS AND CULTURE SECTORS, ESPECIALLY AMONG INDEPENDENT CULTURAL PRODUCERS: YOUNG, SOON TO BECOME ESTABLISHED!
Skopje has been a conundrum for many of us. After its
sic scene to appear in Skopje. Skopje was named
active to the suffocating mono-culture that has been
near annihilation by a massive earthquake in 1963,
“Detroit on the Balkans” because of its established
recently enforced. This is the challenge that drives us
Skopje became a testing ground for the city of the fu-
and valued underground electronic music scene.
to make projects like Skopje Creative Hub. We con-
ture. It was proclaimed a world symbol of solidarity by
Alongside, the Skopje Jazz Festival was created, to-
nected with the most ground-breaking tendencies cur-
the Yugoslav leader Tito and the United Nations who
day one of the most respected festivals of this kind
rently active in the city and expanded their field of
sponsored and mediated the rebuilding of Skopje.
in the world. Skopje was becoming a contemporary
action. The international group of creative minds that
Skopje became a small U.N. in its own right. The most
city where diversity was translated into a multifaceted
participated brought fresh ideas, activated the public
influential creative minds of that time including Kenzo
space and expressed interest that goes beyond the
Tange, Arata Isozaki, Constantinos Doxiadis, Van der
format of the festival. Skopje Creative Hub 2014 re-
Broek and Bakema etc. were drawing and building the
Besides this multiplicity, over the years Skopje has
future blueprints of the city. Skopje became a melting
increasingly become a city divided between its differ-
pot of ideas, a fact that is now largely forgotten.
ent ethnic groups. It was in the 2000’s that a shift
established Skopje as a capital of creativity.
emerged in the way Skopje was developing which Skopje has a strong multicultural and multi-ethnic
was characterized by market-rate privatization cou-
character which dates back to Byzantine times, but
pled with weak local government. Skopje is now no
really honed itself during the Ottoman rule in the 14th
longer the city of the modern way forward, but rather
and 15th centuries. After WWII, Skopje was on a path
a city which is asking constantly what it wants to be,
towards modernization which was in tune with the so-
defending itself against market politics and political
cialist narrative of Yugoslavia and remained one of
greed. The citizens are preoccupied with daily politi-
the most culturally diverse capitals on the Balkans.
cal scenarios and intrigues, slowly becoming passive
This diversity has allowed for a culture of open-mind-
spectators and consumers of whatever the market,
edness and forward thinking to thrive in Skopje espe-
the government or who- whatsoever has to offer which
cially after the earthquake of ‘63.
makes it impossible to think of initiatives for change. How can we react to these trends? What can we, as
During the breakup of Yugoslavia, while the wars in
young professionals, offer and why are these kinds of
the region were unfolding, Macedonia was becoming
creative initiatives non existent in Skopje today?
a small bubble of freedom - oasis of peace - as it
was called. The lines of ethnicities were being blurred
We are just as inspired by the proximities and mul-
by culture. For instance this enabled a thriving mu-
tiplicities of the urban fabric of Skopje as we are re-
Digital version of our book about Skopje Creative Hub 2014 - new content in public space