Zagreb: Tourists, Shops, Terraces, Squares
Zagreb: Tourists, Shops, Terraces, Squares – From European Square to the National Treasury comments upon the transformation of Zagreb’s city centre, caused by an increased presence of tourists, in the form of a guidebook on the seven squares of the city core. This alternative tourist guide addresses primarily the citizens of Zagreb and is available online (with folding instructions). The artist will also distribute it in selected squares from 16-31 August, beginning with the European Square at 6:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come and pick up their copy, walk along the indicated route, talk with the artist about public space in Zagreb’s city centre, and share their views on transformations caused by tourism.
In an attempt of stratifying the population of city centres, sociological studies in Germany have identified the so-called S-groups as their residents before the 1980s. S-groups consisted of the poor, singles, foreigners, and elderly. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, changes in the lifestyle and professional orientation of the middle classes attracted the A-groups to the inner cities: lawyers, architects, and academics.* Borrowing this stratification, I would add along the same line that Zagreb has become occupied by the T-groups: tourists, shops (trgovine in Croatian), and terraces. As the city centre has been increasingly used for commercial activities and private apartments are sublet to the visitors, the original inhabitants have been gradually evicted. The T-groups consist of forms that generate capital rather than the genuine users of urban space.
Transformation of Zagreb’s city centre in the past few years has been going hand in hand with a rise in tourism. One can read that in 2014 the number of accommodations per diem has increased by 20%, and an ever growing number of hostels, private lodgings, souvenir shops, restaurants, and cafés in the city centre proves that the tourist season has been successful.
The fourth motif in the title of my UF project – squares – refers to places that combine the first three as footnotes in my reflections on the city. In this way, the project title Zagreb: shops, terraces, tourists, squares serves as a guideline along which my work evolves as well as a guideline for walks through the city centre.
My walks through Zagreb, intended for its citizens, focus on squares in the city centre. The fictitious tour through the squares, which tell the story of the relationship between tourism and the city on the empirical level, is summarized on leaflets that remind of tourist publications in terms of design. I distribute these leaflets on squares, using the motif of the promoters of mass tourism, and this action serves as a basis for research and an incentive for conversations with the passers-by, Zagreb’s citizens.
Walking through the narrow passages that remain between the terraces of cafés and restaurants, the squares that now barely exist, one may ask what has become of that public space in which everyone should be able to participate, regardless of one’s gender, age, or class; space that would offer room for various activities and various uses.
After all, whom does the city centre belong to? (KD)
Katerina Duda (b. 1989) is currently completing her studies of the New Media at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 2014, she graduated sociology from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. Her art projects focus on issues related to the city and urban spaces, from questioning the memory of space to the topical issues characteristic for a specific site and its activation through intervention,
movement, or by including the users of space into the working process. Recently, she has been exploring the way in which tourism has been influencing the city and the local population. She has participated in a number of group exhibitions, projects, and residences. More information at: katerinaduda.net