ENCOUNTERS – MONTAЖ$TROJ’s 2019 project utilizes the story of the construction of the University Hospital in Blato, Zagreb, to reveal the consequences of neoliberal politics and confront us with the reality of health becoming a privilege of those who can afford it. This premise was examined with the citizens of Zagreb who, for more than a decade in the late 1980s and early 1990s, had been allocating a certain amount from their income for a voluntary tax for a hospital that has never been finished.
Those citizens are today’s elderly. ENCOUNTERS started in Zagreb’s nursing homes “Sv. Ana,” “Trešnjevka” and “Centar.” A table with a floor plan of the hospital was designed for the occasion and equipped with banners with slogans and roll-up advertisements evoking propaganda materials for the collection of the first and second voluntary taxes of the ‘80s.
Residents of Novi Zagreb were interviewed in front of the Health Center Siget and Utrina Market. A market stand was rented from Zagreb Markets, equipped with banners and roll-up advertisements in the manner of stands used to collect signatures for referendum initiatives. A “book of solidarity” was printed and signed by the citizens to affirm that they would agree to another – a third voluntary tax, in order to see the hospital completed.
The artistic action ENCOUNTERS sheds light on the blind spots of public health in Croatia, causing an eruption of dissatisfaction that has been smoldering for years in the consciousness of an entire generation. The work on the project once again focused on the valuable architectural facility on the city’s outskirts and the possibilities of its future use.