Sarajevo Survival Tools is a showcase of extraordinary ready-made objects that citizens of Sarajevo had to design and hand-make when the capital city of Bosnia-Herzegovina was under siege from 1992 to 1996. The exhibition’s wide range of objects expose an atmosphere of everyday struggle through horrid conditions while revealing shining examples of human ingenuity. From oil tin watering cans to improvised torches, the exhibition shows how basic needs like electricity, running water, food, medicine and communication can be solved through design under adverse conditions.

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The exhibition was held at the Historical Museum in Sarajevo, and it also featured an interactive website created by students from the Sarajevo Faculty of Electrical Engineering (ETF) in coordination with Dr. Selma Rizvic. The website has a Virtual Museum, which is an interactive tool complete with 3D models, videos, and some information on each object – like the materials, production methods and the author’s name.

Apart from different types of weaponry, one object that caught our eye was a cleverly crafted watering can made from a tin of oil donated by the USA. It’s a very useful object when the lack of food forces people to grow vegetables in public parks. There is also a playful trolley made from a drink crate and roller skates that is useful for bringing water home from public faucets. A foam insulated glass bottle inside a cardboard box makes a “fragile” thermos flask, and a dynamo-powered improvised torch is made with a bike lamp and a pair of salvaged handles.

These DIY objects tell stories about the need to stay alive during times of civil strife. They don’t feature the latest technology or the slickest design, buy they do temporarily solve a problem readily available materials. These objects shine as examples of human ingenuity and resourcefulness, and they are also extraordinary examples of non-consumerist design culture.

+ Sarajevo Survival Tools

Via The Guardian

Photos: ©ETF Students