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Spomenik | Jan Kempenaers
The former Yugoslavia is dotted with monuments that were built in the spirit of postwar unity but are better known for their futuristic aesthetics. Many have described the spomeniks— a Slovenian word for “monument” – as looking like something out of a science fiction movie. So it is perhaps fitting that director Kaleb Wentzel-Fisher decided to feature them in his crowdfunded feature-length science fiction film Sankofa.
Wentzel-Fisher was inspired by the work of Dutch photographer Jan Kempenaers, who spent three years chronicling these towering sculptures in his photo series Spomenik. He saw Kempenaers’ work on a blog and “was instantly intrigued,” he says. “After moving to Berlin, I realized that they were so close and I just had to buy a plane ticket and check them out for myself.”
Kempenaers isn’t at all surprised the monuments have inspired so many people. “There becomes a certain aura around these places,” he says. “It’s hard to explain exactly what it is, but I always tried to capture that aura in these pictures.”