Creative Forum Serbia 2013

The spectacular, first ever Creative Forum Serbia opened at exactly 19:00 h. Aside from the exclusive program and the extraordinary quality of the audience of professionals who gathered this way for the very first time in Serbia, the reason why this event was so innovative was is the location in which it was held. For the first time, after seven years of reconstruction, BDW was honoured to be allowed to open the doors of the icon of Yugoslav modern architecture: the Museum of Contemporary Art at Usce.

As homage to the location, BDW co-produced on several floors of the Museum site-specific design exhibitions from over ten European countries, each created to fit a particular room of the museum, along with sound and augmented reality segments, under a single name: INNOVATION SQUARED. This was the ideal setting for the greeting cocktail, provided for the guests by Samsung. Right after the cocktail, CFS’ guests had immediately the opportunity to gain insight into the ideas of global creative leaders. The latest creative industries documentary produced in Serbia was premiered, titled: „Freedom Squared“, by Miodrag Ilic, a film about the creative processes of some of the greatest creative minds of the XXI century, who took part in the 2012 edition of the Belgrade Design Week.

At 20:20h sharp, based on global standards of the PechaKucha license, thirteen most influential Serbian creatives that marked the year 2012, carefully selected by BDW curators, presented their work with in form of the distinctive PechaKucha Night presentations. PKN is a format of individual presentations in 20 slides, each of which lasts 20 seconds. PechaKucha Night is held in 500 cities worldwide, and this was the first one organized by Belgrade Design Week. The people who got their 6.6 minutes of fame, were Vesna Pejović, an amzing designer and the person who first brought PKN to Serbia, an innovative designer of vertical gardens Rade Kosanovic, Ugljesa Vrcelj from the “Superdot” studio, with his one-of-a-kind educational and creative project Mooshema, Serbia’s representatives at the Venice Biennale last year – the young architecture studio „Mada“, Kosta Mijic from the architectural website “Superprostor“, one of the winners of the last year’s competition 100% Future Serbia – Marko Runjic from the architecture studio “Rudesign”, Serbia’s most prominent fashion designer Dragana Ognjenovic, the most relevant new media festival organized in Serbia – „Resonate“, presented by Galeb Nikacevic, the sensational graphic designer Filip Bojović from the “A3 format” studio, the best new Serbian ice cream start-up “Moritz Eis”, Strawberry energy – a company that created an innovative solar charger for mobile devices, the avant-garde design studio “Modemekanik” and finally, another of the winners of the last year’s 100% Future Serbia competition, Igor Stupar. 

During the two 45-minute sessions the audience was literally breath-taken, shouting out passionate comments and giving rounds of applause, witnessing why the selected creatives earned the title of the most outstanding individuals in Serbian creative industries last year. For many of these national creatives, the first „CFS powered by SAMSUNG“ was, in fact, their first grand stage appearance, time when they received their first applause coming from roughly 500 people, and for over 100 accredited journalists, more than 30 of which came from international creative media, CFS was also the first encounter with Serbian creative arena. During the breaks after this impressive presentation of national creative individuals, the main question was whether some of them deserve to participate in the main program of the international BDW conference which starts tomorrow, and whether the world mega stars participating in this program would match this explosion of Serbian intelligence, energy, vitality and innovation. Little did they know of what was to come in the next three days of BDW…

During the break between two PKN sessions, Belgrade Design Week’s founder Jovan Jelovac announced the auction of exclusive photographs from the collection titled 10/10, by the world-renowned photographer Dusan Reljin, who flew in from New York to Belgrade for this event and presented his initiative on the Museum’s grand stage. A good friend of BDW, last year’s superstar lecturer of the BDW 2012 conference held at the National Library of Serbia, he was introduced to the Serbian creative scene for the first time by the works exhibited inside the “2012 – 100% FUTURE SERBIA” project, and expressed his wish to encourage Serbian creatives to show their work to the world. When we told him that the 2013 project was left without a single supporter or patron, Dusan suggested that BDW should still produce it, in whatever way possible, and that he would think of a financial support which could cover at least a part of the production costs. What an amazing man!

Needless to say that BDW was thrilled, we accepted his proposal and invited Dusan to join us in person at the first Creative Forum Serbia powered by SAMSUNG. Dušan Reljin selected ten of his favourite photographs he made during his illustrious career, and offered to sell them as exclusive pieces, in signed 3/3 copies.  The other two copies which were not brought to BDW will be sold in Dusan’s Gallery in New York for $5000 a pop, and only for BDW, the initial price for the auction of the large, high-quality prints is only €500 a copy. All the money raised at the auction is going to the key non-profit project of promoting young creatives in Serbia: “100% Future Serbia”, and much to our satisfaction, the first three photographs have already been reserved during the exhibit. On the website and in other media which follow this auction, we expect shortly the information on how to bid for the remaining photographs by Dusan, and how one can become not only the owner of a valuable work of art, made by the most successful contemporary Serbian photographer, but also a true patron of new Serbian design!

At the end of the first Creative Forum Serbia evening, powered by SAMSUNG, we witnessed a performance of the legendary eighties electro sound pioneer in Serbia, Dr. Spira, who brought his new material from London, to bring us back to the era of his iconic album “Diagnosis“, to confirm the existence of the album “Design for a Real World”, for which many experts claimed to be nothing but a myth – a Belgrade urban legend. It was most certainly the highlight of the evening: performing in front of a few hundreds of hardcore fans who waited with anticipation from 19h until nearly midnight, Dr. Spira came to BDW with brand new exclusive English material of some 30 minutes. And what material it was! Even though we announced his performance as BDW’s response to the recent KRAFTWERK performance at MOMA NY, Dr. Spira proved us wrong with his new stuff, which was more like „Joe Cocker meets Leonard Cohen“, but with his signature distinct, inimitable guitar riffs of two carefully selected electric beauties he brought with him from London.

The electric guitar virtuoso, Dr. Spira also lived up to his reputation of a sound designer and innovator, which is the primary reason he was chosen to launch the INNOVATION SQUARED Conference. The fact is that, in the eighties, Belgrade’s rock ’n’ roll had its little secret – the „Iron Chicken“. The Iron Chicken was a small guitar tube amplifier, which contained the details of much bigger commercial amplifiers and it was the pinnacle of electric guitar recording experience at the studio Druga Maca, owned by producer and composer Dušan Mihajlović – front man of the cult „Doktor Spira i Ljudska Bića“ band („Dr. Spira and the Human Beings“). Spira made these amplifiers in Belgrade in the mid-eighties, until he moved to London. The Iron Chicken would have remained one of Belgrade’s urban legends, kept alive only through a few remaining pieces, if Dr Spira hadn’t needed a small amplifier for his own home studio these days. When he realized that he couldn’t find what he needed on the market, after two decades, Dr. Spira took the soldering iron, and the result of his work was shown as a world premiere at the BDW – the brand new „Steel Chicken“: Dr. Spira played using the „Steel Chicken“ as amplifier the entire concert. The highlight of the performance was a ten-minute version of his legendary Yugoslav hit „Dolazi zima“ („Winter Is Coming“), one of the most beautiful songs from the late seventies, performed by a variety of the most prominent national musicians such as Sladjana Milosevic, „Suncokreti“ („Sunflowers“): “Dolazi zima, duga i hladna, zatvori vrata, upali vatru… Pada prvi sneg…” („The winter is coming, long and cold, close the door, light the fire… The first snow is falling…“)

After the concert, as a special treat for an evening of dedication to the first Creative Forum Serbia, as an icing on the cake of this exciting program, and most of all, as homage to the hosts of BDW 2013, the visitors gathered in the park outside the building of the Museum of Contemporary Art, the icon of Serbian architecture, to enjoy the 3D mapping of the building, created by the celebrated Serbian animation designer Goran Balaban. For the first time in its history the white marble facade of the legendary MOCA building was transformed into a whole new, intimate, and at the same time gigantic poetic experience, with carefully selected classical music, absolutely exhilarating, which got a huge round of applause by the crowds in the middle of the night at Usce park. We saw Balaban’s own magic creations, followed by the Greek mythology monsters, digital visuals by the KramWeisshaar studio, and other graphic contents of the exhibitions inside the museum, rushing though the museum’s facade. All true fans of MOCA and BDW will cherish in their memory this last act of the first Creative Forum Serbia, an unforgettable and poetic vision of authentic Serbian creativity. At the same time, we showed our true love of Belgrade to our guests from around the world, from Europe and from the region, as well as our support to perhaps Belgrade’s most important museum, which remained closed for the past seven years – which is impermissible. This unique finale was made possible thanks to the support Samsung, which donated a 20.000 ANSI Lumens projector to Belgraders, so that they can see their favourite museum in, literally, new light.