In his work Bigger Than Life (2018, 30 min.) he explores the urban development project “Skopje 2014”. In 2010 the Macedonian capital began tocreate a new “ancient” core. The government wanted to style the city as a cradle of ancient civilisation and a fountain of Europe. Numerous public buildings, museums and monuments were constructed with a classical feel, while existing edifices – including socialist architecture from the 1960s – were lent an “ancient touch” in the form ofcolumns, balustrades and other features.
Softić responded to this gigantesque and problematic venture with a musical film: in four acts he documents the imperial attitude behind the building project with humour and precision. Pathos is met with pathos and ironically framed. Alongside sometimes kitschy shots of the new buildings in all their splendour are scenes that blatantly expose their character as stage sets. Softic demonstrates how history is written and how regulating the (imagined) past is intertwined with a desire to control the present and future. He questions how relevant Antiquity is to modern-day Europe and who has the right to construct history, especially as this urban revision blots out Macedonia’s ethnicand cultural diversity. The linear, homogenous history it narrates excludes a large section of thecountry’s population.
Adnan Softić was born in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Hercegovina) in 1975. He studied film and aesthetic theory at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg, where he was a guest lecturer in film and time-based media. Softić has received various awards and scholarships, most recently the prestigious Villa Massimo residency. Bigger Than Life won this year’s3sat-Förderpreis at the International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen.
The book A Better History. Eine bessere Geschichtewas published to coincide with the film and can be purchased in our museum shop. On 10 October at 6 pm the Berlinische Galerie will host a reading with the artist.