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Autogestion, or Henri Lefebvre in New Belgrade

Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber

Produced in conjunction with Bitter and Weber’s exhibition at Landesgalerie Landesmuseum, Linz, Autogestion, or Henri Lefebvre in New Belgrade presents a previously unpublished 1986 text by French philosopher and urbanist Henri Lefebvre. Printed as a facsimile of a recently discovered manuscript, Lefebvre’s text is based on the concept of “autogestion” (worker’s self-management), an idea central to urban restructuring processes. The text is contextualized and interpreted by accompanying commentaries and essays.

The text from Henri Lefebvre was submitted as part of a proposal with French architects Serge Renaudie and Pierre Guilbaud for the International Competition for the New Belgrade Urban Structure Improvement in 1986, sponsored by the state of Yugoslavia. In his urban vision for New Belgrade—the capital of former Yugoslavia founded in 1948—Lefebvre emphasizes the processes and potentials of self-organization of the people of any urban territory to counter the failed concepts of urban planning from above. For Lefebvre, at this late point in his life, the promises of both modernist capitalist as well as state socialist architecture and city planning had failed. Yet, Lefebvre viewed New Belgrade and Yugoslavia as having a particular position in what he has elsewhere called “the urban revolution.” As Lefebvre states, “because of self-management, a place is sketched between the citizen and the citadin, and Yugoslavia is today [1986] perhaps one of the rare countries to be able to pose the problem of a New Urban.”

Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber have worked since 1993 on projects addressing cities, architecture, and the politics of representation and of space. Sabine Bitter is based in Vancouver and works at Simon Fraser University. Helmut Weber is based in Vienna. Their exhibitions include Right, to the City, Upper State Gallery, Linz; We Declare: Spaces of Housing, Gallery Gachet, Vancouver; Live Like This! Camera Austria, Graz; Caracas, Hecho en Venezuela, Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver.

Available in five different editions of foldout poster covers.

Fillip is a publication of art, culture, and ideas released three times a year by the Projectile Publishing Society from Vancouver, British Columbia.