Bojan Mrđenović

Adriatic Highway is a road that follows the East coast of Adriatic Sea. In a local context it represents a capital infrastructural project which has connected Adriatic territory, and which has played an important role in the development of tourism in Croatia. Opening the road in 1965. has brought direct economic prosperity to many towns in the region, but it has also brought many issues related to aggressive interventions in the cultural heritage and natural landscape. Constructing the controversial road has caused antagonism between urban planners and conservators, whereas today it represents one of the most beautiful roads of the world.

 

Driving along the highway today reveals fast and intense transformations of the landscape and infrastructure that are made in order to intensify tourism. Mass tourism can be devastating, risky, and eventually low-profit activity. However, lack of choice has forced many people to orientate their activities towards touristic exploitation of their surroundings. Different initiatives are dramatically transforming the landscape on a daily basis in this peculiar environment. As a result, the roads are getting crowded, too many buildings are being built without taking care of integral urban planning, public space is under pressure, cultural and natural heritage is getting devastated.

 

Natural landscape, architecture and infrastructure have shaped a particular socio - spatial context in which we can trace crossover of economy, ecology and culture, as well as the effect that this intersection reflects on the territory and on the people. Further development of tourism is faced with a challenge of turning the holiday and the experience into a profitable economic resource, but at the same time keeping the authenticity of the present landscape and the way of life on the territory.

 

Photographic record of the present situation reflects wider social picture, which is important to be documented, since it is in a fast and permanent change. The idea is to create a large sequence that represents imaginary travel along the Adriatic coast. The main motif that connects this whole territory in a literal way, but also the motif that keeps this narrative in one place is the road: the Adriatic Highway.

 

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Bojan Mrđenović ©