Duška Boban’s photography exhibition entitled THE MODERN CITY was held as part of the 39th Split Salon in The Marjan Park Association’s stone kiosk on 10 November 2015.

The series of more than 100 analogue photographs refers to the continuity of architectural modernism, from the early 20th century to the excellent examples of high modernism architecture created in the second half of the 20th century during socialism in Split. 

Photos depict mostly residential and public buildings that bear witness to the architectural aesthetics of the era, but also the ways in which we relate to them today. The special value of the photographs lies in the camera shooting angle which guides the observer into an interesting process of trying to decipher the location of certain buildings and raising the question of, what is the actual value of a building we are passing by on daily basis often without even seeing it.

However, Duska Boban didn’t just show photos of the city that we inherited from previous generations which still forms the most striking contours of our urban environment and life in it, but she also promoted a new location for cultural activities and artistic tensions in the Marjan Park Forest. She invited an entire artistic and creative community of the city, members of civil society and other stakeholders to join the Marjan Park Association and gather around its stone kiosk in order “to examine and discuss different spatial and development possibilities of the city, in opposition to the dominant and primarily economic i.e. tourism-oriented prism of development of the city of Split.”

Duška explains: “If we consider that the kiosk was built by the Marjan Park Association as a souvenir shop in 1958, and that it did not rely on international tourism, it is clear that the purpose of the kiosk from its early beginnings was to strengthen local urban identity and intra-regional networking/connecting. This re-opening in an updated form of the souvenir shop represents a kind of historical reinterpretation of the cultural practices aimed to serve the community.” 

The potential of this ‘emerging’ cultural platform, as Duška sees and plans it in the Marjan Kiosk, was recognized by the School of Visual Arts selection team in the summer of 2015 by accepting it in its program called Design for Social Change held in New York. This affirms Duška’s work in which art – in this case photos of the local modernist heritage including the Marjan Park Forest – and social engagement meet and intertwine in the best possible way.

Dalibor Prančević