Aleksej Nutz is a project manager, video journalist and photographer, born in Kyrgyzstan, grown up in Germany and living right now in Romania. On his last trip to Belgrade he plunged into the cities atmosphere and created a series of photographs, accompanied by a letter, which contains his impressions and his view on the pulse of Belgrade. Although he never really planned to visit Belgrade, he became a big fan of the city. Already looking forward to live there.
you are straight and your ruthless impressions hit me right in my face. That’s what I like about you. Cement flows in your veins. Concrete structures sprout out of your skin, like a hairy back, wall to wall, house to house. Your hair is full of cells, individuel cells – a microcosm behind each and every window. You are not beautiful. But that´s not what I am loving you for. Not for your surfaces. Sometimes I feel cramped by you and I tend to wiggle through, as through a tunnel. Although there is so much to see, smell and taste, in each corner remains anonymity. Casual acquaintances, my view is on every face – it is exhausting. I’m not trying to be part of the crowd, but rather be with you, a part of you. And I lose myself in your greatness. I am disoriented. Never mind. I find myself surrounded by your deep gray facades, pouncing on me, put me into the center, lift me out of you, take a peek outside and then swallow me again. You are spontaneous, aggressive and warm at the same time. You combine opposites and yet you live them through in different ways. I feel overwrought. Your billboards throw a cold light onto the cobblestones. I want to be with you. I want to breathe and taste, bury myself inside of you and chafe my cheeks on your scratchy walls. I want to feed myself.
You are not spruced up, or polished to shine. White ain´t your color no more. A deep grey color sticks to your streets during those wintermonths. Cracked walls. You smell like sweat, exhausted gases, waste, alcohol, cigarette smoke, pljeskavica (beefsteak), gas ovens and coffee. The old system remains in your bones. That slows you down and puts wrinkles in your face. Still, and maybe especially because of that you stay a breeding ground. One would oppose you, rebel, tear you down and recreate, combine old and new, modify, establish life and take it away the other day. I absorb your collective conscience, which flows over myself like a whirlwind in it´s clearest shape. Others try to squeeze themselves into tight shirts and wear third-class suites.
Periwigged and with a glued mustache they introduce themselves as insurance agents and try to sell life. But you stay authentic. You step right in front of me with a clear and steady gaze. A powerful handshake – you pat me on my shoulder and cannot supress a little smile. I can see, we like each other. Self-irony is within your tattoos, in those rusty scars along the water veins. Lifeless skeletons with broken oars and heartless turbines. You laugh. Oh boy, I like you. I am just a shameless voyeur. I am allowed to watch you quietly from all perspectives. You are not ashamed, but open yourself visibly and collide.
These are my impressions, they are new, they are strange. I try to keep a neutral look on you, as good as I can. Well, I cannot always succeed in doing so. But I love you. You could become my home. See you soon.
Dragana Kostica is the Belgrade-based editor in chief and founder of Still in Belgrade art, culture and club scene magazine. She holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Policy and Management in Arts (MA of Arts) and a Bachelor degree in Archaeology.