Dayton Express

‘Dayton Express – Bosnian railroads and the paradox of integration’ is an interactive documentary that is designed to provide a space for exploring the nationalist partitioning of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

To watch ‘Dayton Express – Bosnian railroads and the paradox of integration’, please click here.

Introduction – by Amir Husak

Writing about the early days of railways and their impact on our concepts of space and time, Wolfgang Schivelbusch (1984) says: “As the space between the points – the traditional traveling space – was destroyed, those points moved into each other’s immediate vicinity: one might say that they collided.”

The collision that Schivelbusch is talking about implies something positive, namely the exchange of goods and ideas. However, in today’s Bosnia this basic premise of railroad traffic appears to be a paradox; while the trains do collapse the space between Bosnian towns, the politics of nationalism continue to expand it. Connecting two places often implies collisions of opposing ideologies and differing interpretations of shared history. With this in mind, I isolated the railroad as an interesting prism through which many existing problems and prospects could be observed and studied. In the course of my production work the trains and railway stations proved to be the space where one could experience the country’s multifaceted identities as well as its dissonances.

Dayton Express creates narrative lines by incorporating biography, autobiography, history, poetry, photography, and fiction. It uses new media’s interactive capabilities as a tool for intervention, and attempts to mediate in spaces where communication gaps lead to a myriad of misconceptions about both past and present. The project itself is a virtual train journey that aims to familiarize its passengers, i.e. the interface users, with Bosnia-Herzegovina, its people, and the socio-political issues that hover above it. Finally, Dayton Express is a personal reflection on memories of travel, dreams, and disappointments.

Welcome aboard!

Epilogue – The Reed Trains – (original title ‘Vozovi Svirači’)

The Reed Trains is a short essay film that examines the aftermath of violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina through the prism of railway travel. Once a complex network that provided connections to many European cities, Bosnia’s railroad suffered an intense period of destruction in the early 1990s. The demolition of hundreds of kilometers of rail tracks has left many small towns and villages virtually isolated from the rest of the world. Nationalist partition and the ubiquitous travel visa requirements have further isolated Bosnian citizens, whose dreams of boundless travel have turned into lost hopes. The film does not merely reflect on memories of railway travel; driven by a largely autobiographical text from one the country’s most promising young writers, Nihad Hasanović, the film blends the personal and political in a story about coming of age in a city under siege.

If you would like to contact the makers of this documentary, or obtain a copy of The Reed Trains DVD, you can do so by writing to

‘Dayton Express – Bosnian railroad and the paradox of integration’ is featured as part of TransConflict’s new initiative, TransCulture, which aims to showcase efforts to explore and transcend inter-ethnic divisions through a variety of cultural means.



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