NATO AS ARCHITECTURAL CRITIC
“NATO as Architectural Critic” is a videotaped conversation about the NATO bombings of Belgrade in the spring of 1999 and its forensic dimensions vis-à-vis architecture and urbanism. Four particular targets, all in Belgrade, are addressed in this video: the Yugoslav Army headquarters; the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Communist Party; the headquarters of Radio Television Serbia (RTS); and the Chinese Embassy.
The records used in this video conversation include news articles, legal documents, video clips, architectural drawings, websites, texts, and visual simulations. The objective in this visual investigation is to examine the role of a perpetrator as a cultural critic of the aesthetics of the space of the perpetrated in the process of choosing the targets. It points to the methods used by perpetrators such as the “proportionality principle,” which calculates the legitimate collateral damage committed in strikes. The aesthetics in this video are perceived as a fluid, malleable, susceptible, and yet persistent process illustrating an elastic relationship with international law.
Srdjan Jovanović Weiss
"NATO as Architectural Critic" – Video
During the 1999 NATO bombing of Belgrade, the media⎯ which was under the control of the collapsing socialist state of former Yugoslavia⎯found itself in a real conundrum when faced with the actual threat of bombing: whether to continue media operations and risk the lives of its staff, or simply turn a blind eye. On Monday, April 5, 1999, a daily newspaper from Novi Sad called Dnevnik published an article translating as “Dangerous criminal claws of USA,” with a subtitle “Socialists of Priština warn European public.”
Politika Daily extended its reporting on the bombing on April 26, 1999 with several articles, one of which could be roughly translated as “First time in the history of war since the invention of television: television headquarters deliberately destroyed.” On the same date Politika Daily also ran an article commenting on the strategy for NATO’s “Merciful Angel” operation against Yugoslavia. The editors of Politika Daily were quick to counter the “Merciful Angel” branding of the military operation with a Serbian medieval icon: the “White Angel,” a medieval fresco at the Mileševo monastery. It was the “merciful” against the “white.” The “merciful” angel prevailed.