12 Days in Serbia

Belgrade’s FIA Art Group, together with Publikum, had commissioned and produced a special calendar for the Serbian public throughout the turmoil of the 1990s, as a way to offer a glimpse of hope and positivity.

karlssonwilker partners Hjalti and Jan were the first non-Serbs invited to this project. Rather than providing a standard calendar design in the safety of our studio, we wanted to put our feet on the Serbian ground, to smell the air, taste the food, and get an insight into their local culture. Our hope was to create an immersive project that would take place in real-time over the course of twelve days, with one piece of design produced every single day, ending up with 12 pieces: a full calendar. Instead of over-thinking and having the luxury of time, we forced ourselves to produce on-the-fly and to create a public statement that same day—which turned out to be more nerve-wracking than expected.

From our arrival at Nikola Tesla airport, being greeted by chanting children and a traditional dance group, we realized the importance of the project, which got our heart rate up and our adrenaline pumping, helping us to deliver a worthy project. Daily trips included visits to various landmarks, as well as ongoing conversations, interviews, and visits with politicians, famous musicians, artists, and all kinds of young creatives, and otherwise important personalities. There were plenty of experiences with locals, and of course, the food and drink, which all helped to inspire the twelve pieces that we created “live”, in real-time. This project was the first in a series of real-time design adventures, with South Africa and Jerusalem following.

Few months later we attended to launch of the calendar, a big event in the center of the city.

A book was also produced, bilingual, English and Serbian.

Hjalti and Jan had the pleasure (and distress) to be interviewed multiple times each day from a multitude of media outlets. See how they fared here.

A year later, we returned once again to Belgrade, for an exhibition titled Serbia Remixed.
We also showed a series of large format portraits of well-known and fictional Serbs.