DOMINIK WOJCIECHOWSKI THE WORLD’S YUGONOSTALGIA
Polish photographer Dominik Wojciechowski explores the process of identity making and its complexities in the case of the former Yugoslavia by seeking to critically understand Yugonostalgia and the post-Yugoslav identity.
Svijet (The World) was an illustrated journal, popular in the former Yugoslavia, which survived through its break-up. After 1991, the lifestyle-oriented magazine became an iconic object of remembering an irretrievably lost history. It appealed to a stream of perceptions that mused over the good, old times, which directly contrasted the rough present, as well as the insecure future. One such current was Yugonostalgia—the longing for a shared past, socialism, and Marshal Josip Broz Tito.
Focusing on this agonising struggle at the end of the Svijet, this project is a visual tale about the disoriented identity of the natives whose countries developed on separate roads after the 1991 break-up. It is an archival record of a generation living in a thorny reality: born and raised in Tito’s shared community, yet now fighting for a new sense of identity. After plenty of editorial incidents, Svijet eventually shut down in 2017.
While travelling around Former Yugoslavia, through the countries that are not so similar anymore, sometimes even treating each other like enemies, it is difficult not to see the common factor, a shared ethos. Something far more deep than their shared history. It is the post-Yugoslav identity and mentality that appears on different levels—both in private and collective stories. It shows up in daily decisions, in political, social, cultural life as well as the collective imagination. In opposition to Yugonostalgia, which is emotionally pointed to the past, the post-Yugoslav identity is a daily practice. It is born in-between yesterday and today, between a historically rich past and the still evolving present.