Wartime innovation generally comes from the armed forces in the form of better guns or bombers. But surviving a war often requires just as much ingenuity. An online exhibit opened this week features artifacts from the Sarajevo Siege from 1992-1995 that show how everyday citizens in
Sarajevo got through the war by innovating with what little they had
during the crisis. It includes car radios, satellite telephones, solar cells, coffee makers, water carts and more. Each real-life object is viewable via video, 3-D model, or simply as an online image.
The “Sarajevo Survival Tools” project is part of the “Sarajevo Under Siege Exhibit,” an online museum created by the Faculty of Electrical Engineering Sarajevo (ETF) and the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Sarajevo siege was a time when many ordinary citizens were by all intents and purposes held hostage; the city was surrounded by armed occupiers, limiting movement and access to daily goods.
The online museum captures that sense of being locked in–along with the lists, descriptions, and images of war-time artifacts on the site, a haunting “Welcome to Sarajevo” sign greets you as you enter the “Digital Story” section, where a disturbing, historical video plays.
The project was initiated as a lab exercise by 3rd-year computer science students as part of a course in computer graphics. You can see all the objects here.