Shortlist, Relics of a Utopia by Laurin Schmid
"From the 1960s onwards architects created a series of striking monuments known as Spomeniks in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. These brutalist memorials made of concrete and steel were erected in honour of the partisans and to celebrate Tito’s new republic. However, since the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s many of them have been forgotten. In 2019 I visited more than 50 Spomeniks. The project was not without its challenges: some of the monuments are secluded, while adverse weather conditions often meant I had to make several visits before the conditions were right. Many of the monuments were photographed under moonlight, but due to the presence of artificial light sources this was not always possible. (In some cases I arranged for the lights to be switched off, or placed blankets over them, but this was impossible with streetlamps and light pollution from cities.) When artificial light destroyed the atmosphere of an image I had to leave the Spomenik out of the series. The moonlit monuments are like something out of science fiction. The interplay between light and shadow reflects the contrasting symbolism of future and past, remembering and forgetting, appreciation and destruction."