Launching an alternative and independent space in the field of culture – the Center for Contemporary Culture KRAK – is a necessity and need for the city of Bihać and its urban life. KRAK focuses on engaged discourse while emphasizing the importance of social practice, visual arts, architecture, design, and performance. The framework within which these ideas are achieved is bordered by a strategy of collaboration, social responsibility and environmental awareness.
The idea and motive for launching KRAK came from the specific political, social and cultural circumstances of the environment in which it operates. The main determinants of this environment are the neglected industrial past, ethno-national conflict, post-war post-traumatic experience, poverty and depopulation. KRAK is an urgent response to the ongoing crisis and social environment in the country, which wants to believe that culture, science and arts can and should be the drivers of social change. As such, KRAK wants to position itself as a platform of alternative learning, collaboration and coexistence with a focus on contemporary art strategies and inventive protocols in the field of contemporary culture.
Participation of a wide range of professionals and amateurs – artists, architects, designers, educators, lawyers, activists, gardeners, ecologists, beekeepers and legal entities striving for profiling and engagement towards socially responsible practices – is a key aspect and fundamental premise of possible creation of the new social realities. KRAK aims to be tested as the initiator of this practice and the incubator of a completely new sociability.
In mid 2020, Revizor Foundation published Artefacts of a Future Past, edited by Irfan Hošić, which cataloged the exhibition of the same name from 2017. This publication serves as the conceptual and program manifesto of KRAK.
Artefacts of a Future Past (ed. Irfan Hošić), Foundation Revizor 2020
The KRAK Center for Contemporary Culture in Bihać is an independent multifunctional space established by the Revizor Foundation which aims to work and produce new social practices. The main focus of KRAK is visual arts, performance, architecture, urbanism and design. What KRAK further focuses on are social engagement and ecology as ways of sustainable collaboration leading to urban and social regeneration.
The name KRAK originated as an abbreviation of "Kombiteks Workers' Club" (Bosnian: Klub radnika Kombiteksa), indicating the importance of preserving the local industrial heritage and culture of labor of self-governing Yugoslav socialism. With its headquarters in the industrial zone of the former textile factory Kombiteks, the area in and around KRAK has been the scene of various discursive-artistic interventions in the last few years, which gave rise to the idea of launching an active and propulsive space of action.
The idea and motive for starting KRAK came from the specific political, social and cultural circumstances of the environment in which it operates. The main determinants of this environment are the neglected industrial past, ethno-national conflict, post-war post-traumatic experience, poverty and depopulation. KRAK is a direct response to the ongoing crisis and the current social environment, which wants to believe that culture, science and art can and should be the drivers of social change. As such, KRAK wants to position itself as a platform of alternative learning, collaboration and coexistence with a focus on contemporary art strategies and inventive protocols in the field of contemporary culture.
The KRAK facility was awarded to the Revizor Foundation by the Decision of the Bihać City Council in December 2018. The facility was fully rebuilt with the support of the Open Society Foundation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, based in Sarajevo, and the European Endowment for Democracy, based in Brussels. The initial funds for KRAK's program activities were allocated by the American Foundation for Arts Initiatives based in New York, which created the precondition for its official opening.
Opening of the exhibition Artefacts of a Future Past, Kombiteks Workers' Club, March 22 2017
The KRAK Center for Contemporary Culture is located at the very entrance to the premises of the former textile factory Kombiteks in the Bihać neighborhood of Hatinac. Built as the Kombiteks Workers' Club and conceived as a place of socializing and workers' emancipation, today's KRAK is part of the spatial framework of the collective memory of the citizens of Bihać.
On its northern side, KRAK is bordered by the industrial halls of the Kombiteks complex, while on the southern side it touches the residential part of the town of Hatinac. On its western side, it is only a few tens of meters away from the river Una and the most attractive beaches in Bihać.
The KRAK building is a typical example of the architectural culture of Yugoslav socialism, which contains elements of brutalism, as well as the materialization and sensibility of local stonemasonry. The concrete frieze in the form of a crown represents the character of the whole building.
The architectural design was created by the duo Ena Kukić and Dinko Jelečević, who wrote the following in the project documentation: “The re-interpretation of the ruin in the post-industrial context has been approached through the valorization and rehabilitation of important historical elements and the formation of a new architectural identity that emphasizes valuable parts and compliments them with new ones … The minimalist aesthetics of all openings and other new elements of the exterior with natural materialization and clear form accentuate significant historical elements and introduce the visitor to the new function of KRAK.”
The visual identity of the logo was created by graphic designer Sead Mujić, using as his starting point a recognizable architectural detail of the Workers' Club building.
Ena Kukić and Dinko Jelečević, view at the western facade of the KRAK, visualisation, Graz 2018. (Design: Dinko Jelečević and Ena Kukić)
The team of the Center for Contemporary Culture KRAK consists of several individuals of different profiles who, with their affinities and hard work, represent the nucleus of its ideological and program activities. The KRAK team bases its work ethic on mutual understanding, solidarity and teamwork.
Center for Contemporary Culture KRAK was founded by the Revizor Foundation. It is an independent platform which encourages research and affirmation of scientific and artistic culture on the way to its uninterrupted productivity. Emphasizing the importance of interdisciplinarity with a slight focus on the humanities, as well as various types of artistic practices, the Revizor Foundation positions itself as an incubator of cultural pluralism and a collaborator in its implementation throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The mission of Revizor Foundation is to initiate new thinking, to encourage interaction between academic/cultural institutions and society, and to open new spaces for cooperation, knowledge transfer and other forms of scientific and artistic experience. The central part of Revizor Foundation’s program is the Center for Contemporary Culture KRAK in Bihać, scholarships for scientific and artistic projects, organization of academic and cultural events, and the establishment of a residential scientific and artistic research stay in the city of Bihać.
The Revizor Foundation was established in 2016 at the level of the Bosnian entity the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The body in charge of the smooth operation of the Foundation is the Board of Directors. The members of the Bord of Directors are Šeherzada Džafić, Mehmed Mahmutović and Irfan Hošić. The Revizor Foundation is an independent and non-profit organization funded by private donations.