Un-war Space Lab (Armina Pilav, Karla Crnevi, and Servet Cihangiroglu):
Çardak in the void
18. 8. — 4. 9. 2020
X-OP / artKIT, Glavni trg 14, Maribor

Association X-OP is pleased to announce the beginning of the Touring residencies program, which will take place from November 2019-March 2020. Through an open call the Risk Change jury selected a collaborative project by Un-war Space Lab with dr. Armina Pilav – architect, feminist, university researcher and lecturer, Karla Crnčević – film worker and Servet Cihangiroğlu – intermedia artist, entitled “no-connection:notes on transformation of violence” (working title) to be developed throughout the residency stays and presented in Maribor in March 2020.


The program RC Touring residencies consists of three residency stays (Rijeka/HR, Novi Sad/RS, Żejtun/MT) where the site specific in situ research will be carried out in collaboration with project’s partner institutions, other researchers, interdisciplinary artists, architects, curators and other professionals and lay audience whose situated knowledges can reciprocally help generating new (unruly) knowledges, learning, unlearning processes and understanding of particular research topics in relation to the conceptual frameworks of the Risk Change project. Within these frameworks, the project assumes a transdisciplinary and collaborative approach, using various artistic and academic methods combined with activist strategies.

“The aim of the “no-connection:notes on transformation of violence” (working title) project is to explore and document multiple narratives, social and political meetings, spaces of hospitality and non-hospitality of migrations that relates to Novi Sad, Rijeka and Zejtun’s urban, social context and beyond. The research process will be developed in form of site-specific meetings as a temporary and one-time collective creation of a “network of relations and multiple viewpoints” across different physical and virtual spaces as are parks, national and natural borders (rivers), streets, radio transmissions, video camera observations, sound recording, being together with the others in silence, skype calls, google translate conversations and other ephemeral spaces and media. With this research and ephemeral documenting process we are thinking about taking the necessary distance from the ethno-nationalist political systems, directly, through individual/group and at first glance small acts, but when performed collectively and repeated can make difference and fight the rising fascism in our own neighborhoods, city and finally on the larger scale within and out of the still fortress EUrope. We are recalling here the idea of Giorgio Agamben from the ‘Coming Community’ (1993) discussing the proximity of the bodies, their possible relationships, paraphrasing it, as the new and I would add different use of self and the space in which we are located, that goes beyond the rule of law and state-nation belonging.”

Touring residencies blog: http://rctouring.riskchange.eu/

The exhibition is a result of the Risk Change Touring Residencies program undertaken by Un-war Space Lab from October 2019 until March 2020. During this time, their research focused on national border systems and border infrastructure, emphasizing how they define, influence, manipulate, surveil, and destroy people’s lives. They also equally violently inscribe histories in the surrounding landscapes. In Malta, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina Un-war Space Lab collective created particular transitional spaces in the form of site-specific meetings under the name čardak / çardak. These spaces included many agents – humans, non-humans, and took place in natural or build landscapes. In solidarity and collaboration with many people on the move, the collective has gathered audio and visual material, photos, found objects, texts, historical content, and plants, which will be presented in this site-specific exhibition.

Under the current circumstances and questions this project brings forward, instead of an official opening ceremony to mark the beginning of the exhibition, on Tuesday, 18 August a short film essay by Un-war Lab will be streamed on the tower of the Main train station in Maribor between 8—11 p.m.

“In our view, čardak/çardak spatial and material characteristics are subject to changes, according to the different territories, pandemic outbreaks, biopolitics, individual perception and imagination of belonging to the given by birth state or nation. čardak/çardak was an impermanent space for our way of living an impermanent life during the residency traveling. Our being together in čardak/çardak and meeting the others was impermanent, short and characterized with a long list of opposing conditions as being: safe/unsafe, legal/illegal, inside/outside the migrants’ experiences, making/unmaking images of migration, between open/closed meetings, political/unpolitical, in the noise/silence with ourselves or others. We were collecting site-specific narratives of events and conditions when the humans have had and still need to move due to the wars and other natural or man-made disasters, lack of employment in their own country, resources as a consequence of the century’s long colonization processes and extractions of natural resources in different parts of the Earth.

In the conflict geographies, some examples of contemporary čardak(s) are numerous checkpoints between Israel and Palestine, the drones flying over the USA and Mexico border to control and stop migration to the USA, thermal night vision cameras on the borders of the Balkan route, as well as on the Slovenian and Croatian borders, to control and stop migration to the European Union.

The word čardak/çardak originates from the Ottoman times and refers to a border control object ‘watchtower’ close to rivers, crossroads, on the edges of cities, and strategic borders. The watchtowers were located on the analog distance on the borders between the Ottoman Empire and other territories. The guards in the watchtowers were able to communicate using light or sound analog signals to announce the danger. In rural regions between Croatia and Serbia, čardak was made and use to store yellow gold – the corn – from the agricultural fields. It is also a name for the traditional stone and wooden house for hosting the people in the šumadija region in Serbia.

Forming our own čardak/çardak, in Croatia, Serbia, Malta, and even this one ‘in the void’ in Maribor is an attempt to show an imposed free space from humans and their intentional activities that form the impermanent society. We are gathering in the mediatic space while remaining interrelated and de-centralized group aware of transitional geographies while inhabiting them, opposing the fascist order of belonging to the nation-state constructs and continuous reproduction of violence and war with all possible means shifting between weapons, military industry, migration laws, capitalism and patriarchal abuse of nature and humans.” 
(Un-war Space Lab)

Un-war Space Lab is led by Armina Pilav, a researcher in ecologies of violent spatial transformations and lecturer at the Department of Landscape Architecture, The University of Sheffield. She received the Marie Curie Fellowship for her Un-war Space research (2016-2018) developed at the Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment at TU Delft. Karla Crnčević holds a MA in film dramaturgy and is based in Rijeka and Zagreb. She is one of founders of the Unseen, experimental hybrid festival held in Cavtat, started in 2017. Her work explores politics of images and sound through various formats and working conditions. Servet Cihangiroglu’s work focuses on ephemeral documenting of the contemporary conditions of war in Turkey while exploring his own experience and living in complex and conflict environments. In his practice, he employs various bodily interactions and different physical materials in performative relationships, photography, video, urban and domestic spaces.



Armina Pilav is a feminist, architect, researcher and lecturer at the Department of Landscape Architecture, The University of Sheffield. She received the Marie Curie Individual Fellowship for her Un-war Space research (2016-2018) developed at the Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment – TU Delft. Armina research, practice and teaching intersects and focuses on politics of re-presentation and re-production of physical, mediated space, bodily experiences in extreme conditions of the war destruction or other disaster condition. Armina uses cross-media tools, psychospatiality and radical observations to explore ecologies of transformations of rivers, land and related natural forms, architectures and society during and after the wartime. Her work explores and creates in the same time different processes and spaces as are archiving practices, transitional landscapes, impermanent organization of humans/non-humans within the post-traumatic landscape systems. She publishes in magazines and academic journals, exhibits regularly, and her recent research on destruction of Sarajevo, Mostar and inhabitant’s transformation of violence has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2018), as part of the Architecture of Shame project in Matera in July 2019. Armina is a member of the Association for Culture and Art Crvena in Sarajevo.

Karla Crnčević was born in 1989 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. She holds a MA in Film dramaturgy and BA in Comparative literature. From 2012, she intensively works as a film worker, mainly as Assistant Director, Production Assistant and Script Supervisor, on different type of productions for local and foreign film market. Worked as an Assistant Dramaturge/Dramaturge on Obrana Sokratova, d. T.Janežič, Dubrovačke ljetne igre 2013.; Živio Harms, d. A. Popovski, theatre Kerempuh, Zagreb 2014., My little corner of the world, d. Anica Tomić, Dramsko kazalište Gavella, Zagreb, 2014., Obustava radova / Nedovršeni, Montažstroj, 2015. She has produced videos and audio pieces for contemporary dance works (Šavovi, d. Mila Pavićević; Elegies of Lost and Found, d. Mila Pavicevic&Sergiu Matis). She works as a program coordinator, publication editor and producer on Film mutations: Festival of invisible cinema (Film-Protufilm) in Zagreb. Periodically she collaborates with Third program of Croatian Radio. Her poetry, film and theatre critic essays were published in couple magazines and web portals. In 2018, Croatian audio visual centar suported her long documentary The Escape Lines, on which she started collaboration with researcher Armina Pilav. Her first short movie Up the hill was shown on the opening of Vox Feminae festival in Zagreb, as ‘broken’ documentary. She is one of founders of the Unseen, experimental hybrid festival held in Cavtat, started in 2017, a festival which discusses different models of audio-visual representation in public space and occupying space by movie image and body performance creating unusual types of social choreography.

Servet Cihangiroğlu was born in 1985 in Şırnak, Eastern Anatolia where he completed primary, secondary and high school education. In 2014, Servet graduated at the Institute of Fine Arts, Sculpture Department at Hacettepe University of Ankara. His work focuses on ephemeral documenting of the contemporary condition of the wars in Turkey while exploring his own experience and living in the complex and conflictual environments. In his practice, he uses multiple interactions of his body and body of others and different physical materials through performative relationships, photography, video, urban and domestic spaces. He exhibited in numerous group exhibitions and festivals, while his works are part of private collections. Servet also participates in art residencies and pedagogical projects crossing artistic and cultural fields where working with different age groups. Currently, he lives in Paris as artist in residency hosted by the I-team learning lab organized by Relais Culture Europe from Paris.


Touring Residencies program partners and host organisations:

MMSU – Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka, Croatia

MSUV::МСУВ Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina, Novi Sad, Serbia

FOPSIM, Foundation for the Promotion of Social Inclusion, Żejtun, Malta