Balkart

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KOSOVO 2.0

Editor-in-chief Besa Luci Photography Editor Atdhe Mulla Deputy Photography Editor Majlinda Hoxha Design Van Lennep, Amsterdam Lum Ceku, Prishtina Senior Managing Editor Michael S. Mckenna Online Managing Editor Hana Marku Copy Editors Julie Mannell Tim O’Rourke Associate Editor Jurriaan Cooiman, Culturescapes Foundation Guest Editors Alban Muja Eriola Pira

Senior Editors Joseph Madden Jesse B. Staniforth Ben Timberlake Editorial Assistant Hana Ahmeti Staff Writers Cristina Mari Dardan Zhegrova Contributors Jonathan Blackwood Jeton Budima Amy Bryzgel Artrit Bytyci Katherine Carl Haris Dedovic Charles Esche Adela Demetja Nenad Georgievski Petja Grafenauer Chelsea Haines Nela Lazarevic Shkelzen Maliqi Rina Meta Bridget Nurre Zarka Radoja Lala Rascic Branimir Stojanovic Danijel Sivinjski Goran Tomcic Ardian Vehbiu Jonah Westerman Claudia Zini

Photographers Nova Art Academy Igor Andjelic Lucia Babina Thierry Bal Urska Boljkovac Petra Cvelbar Boris Cvetanjovic Peter Cox Nina Durdevic Dzenat Drekovic Ilgin Erarslan Juri Junkov Gerhard Kassner Blerta Kambo Ivan Kuharic Andre Loyning Borut Petrlin Vladimir Popovic Eliane Rutishauser Christian Schnurer Lorenz Seidler Joze Suhadolnik Andrew Testa Tzvetan Tzvetanov Milica Tomic Srdjan Veljovic Drago Vejnovic Henriette Waal Nemanja Zdravkovic Nikola Zelmanovic Nada Zgank Almin Zrno

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Illustrations Driton Selmani Translators Dren Gjonbalaj Trim Haliti Murlan Jasiqi Sales Manager Sokol Loshi Marketing Manager Lorik Kocani Publisher Kosovo Glocal Webmaster Sprigs The Board Chairman Joan de Boer Members Anna Di Lellio Aliriza Arenliu Cover Majlinda Hoxha Atdhe Mulla

Kosovo 2.0 magazine is available in English, Albanian and Serbian. This edition is also published in German. Online: www. kosovotwopointzero. com E-mail: magazine@ kosovotwopointzero. com Letters to the editor: letters@kosovotwopointzero.com Subscribe to Kosovo 2.0 E-mail us at subscriptions@kosovotwopointzero.com or visit www.kosovotwopointzero.com/en/ magazine. Financial support The content does not necessarilyreflecttheviews andopinionsofthedonors.

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR BESA LUCI

— FROM THE OUTSET, ART HAS BEEN an indispensible part of the Kosovo 2.0 magazine. We have continually ensured it presents a discussion of the way contemporary art examines, provokes, and is a part of intricate societal topics — whether they be image, corruption, religion, sex, or public space (the themes of our previous issues). However, three broader reasons motivated us to publish this arts issue. The first is grounded in the observation that, too often, today’s mainstream media and politics treats art as a private activity, as if it occurs outside of our political and social environment. In such discourses, art is often seen as secondary or irrelevant to understanding societal transformations and political actions. We notice this happening today across European centers, with major cuts in culture funds, a consequence of financial shriveling; here, austerity includes attempts to diminish independent critique. Similarly, in our region, a bidding logic in financing the art system — along with diminished institutional and almost nonexistent private support — is subject to nationalist aesthetic politics. Efforts to set up and maintain alternative art venues are seen as the battle for and of “those others,” while voices of critique and dissent are increasingly channeled through polarized politics. As such, the relationship between art and democracy, the extent to which a sense of free critique can or does exist, and the role of an artist to provoke — also offer compelling entry points to discussion. This is the second reason we focus on arts and why we

choose to focus on the experiences of Albania and the countries that were once part of Yugoslavia. Because in the midst of “uncertain transitions,” we find a generation of artists speaking to and challenging the narratives of how we’ve come to learn and interpret our recent histories, how we understand our ongoing and conflicting change. Whether through theater, film, literature, performance, or visual art, these individuals also document and offer a new analysis of emergence, both local and global. So this magazine collects the experiences and stories of individuals and practices from the region that, through art, shape or challenge political thought and action. We have also cooperated with the Swiss-based foundation Culturescapes and its 2013 Balkan program, which is enabling exchange between Switzerland and the Balkans, but which is also creating a space for further exposure, examination and collaboration among artists in the Balkans. (see “A Different Light,” p. 125). This issue also serves as a contribution to the forms and content this dialogue generates. Thirdly, our take is based not on the assumption that an excavation of the past will reveal in this region some shared cultural sphere or a singular political identity, nor on the idea that it ever existed. With all the indisputable similarities, contentions of all kinds animated the realms of politics and art. We emphasize the need to acknowledge that communist and socialist ideologies encouraged different power relations in these various spaces, and that this was not separate from how the art community organized, from what it produced, from what alternative

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— In fact, we intentionally employ Balkart as a concept in need of confrontation. We challenge the tendencies to locate and define arts from the region as predominantly and exclusively having to be shaped, produced and understood within the constellations of our recent troubled history or our “exotic” present.

movements emerged, and from how these were altered in the 1990s (see “Conceptual Art and Communication Relay,” p. 17, and “Modernization in Kosovo’s Visual Arts,” p. 24). In fact, we intentionally employ Balkart as a concept in need of confrontation. We challenge the tendencies to locate and define arts from the region as predominantly and exclusively having to be shaped, produced and understood within the constellations of our recent troubled history or our “exotic” present — that is, an understanding in which notions of identity, war, ethnicity, and conflict, dominate the discussion of or even determine what art from the region should convey. We do explore the relationship between arts and such notions, but we do it by offering readings and exposing the specific mediums, forms and language of different artists: artists who embody, question and provoke narratives produced within their political contexts, as well as those prescribed to them. Such debates, of course, still occur, but mainly in academic circles and on the platforms of art groups and centers, exhibitions and discussions, journals and catalogs. However, particular to our region, we identify the need for a more encompassing and inclusive discussion, one where our medium plays a firmer role in joining the aspirations of art as an engaged and transformative practice. Without the explicit aim of establishing an opposition, we hope our jar of pickled vegetables — of ready-made, home-made, mass-produced preserves — and the white cube — inscrutable, yet confining — inspires these discussions. — K #6 BALKART FALL/WINTER 2013

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CONTENT KOSOVOTWOPOINTZERO MAGAZINE BALKART — #6 2013

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BALKAN ARTISTRY: THE GUIDE How to become a Balkan artist. By Artrit Bytyci

UNDER-APPRECIATED ARTISTS OF YUGOSLAVIA Artists create in spite of state bans. By Katherine Carl

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HOW ART MODERNIZED IN KOSOVO

HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS

PACI'S MOVING IMAGES

Artists in search of originality. By Shkelzen Maliqi

NSK State has no borders, but it has so much more. By Jonah Westerman

Video artist from Albania puts a painter’s touch on his work. By Eriola Pira

➳ #6 BALKART FALL/WINTER 2013

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CONTENT KOSOVOTWOPOINTZERO MAGAZINE BALKART — #6 2013

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MILICA TOMIC COMBATS NATIONALIST ART INSTITUTION

TRUE TO HIS ROOTS

Erzen Shkololli helps the Kosovo art scene forge ahead without forgetting the past. By Charles Esche

Milica Tomic’s work confronts issues excluded from institutionalized art. By Branimir Stojanovic

71 ARTISTS' COMMUNITY REBELS AGAINST ACADEMY

How a group of artists created their own space to practice conceptual art when their school was unaccommodating. By Majlinda Hoxha

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CONTENT KOSOVOTWOPOINTZERO MAGAZINE BALKART — #6 2013

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THE ARTIST, THE INSPIRATION

Dunja Blazevic’s life reflects decades of art and has paved the way for countless artists. By Lala Rascic

'I AM IN CONSTANT MUTATION'

Albanian artist has wandered globe for his work. By Amy Bryzgel

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ART POST-BIENNIAL

PETRIT HALILAJ IN VENICE

'A DIFFERENT LIGHT'

In the wake of the Tirana Biennial, a new scene emerges. By Eriola Pira

An artist brings memories of Kosovo to Venice. By Rina Meta

Festival’s goal: Let Western Balkans culture shine for the Swiss. By Bridget Nurre

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CONTENT KOSOVOTWOPOINTZERO MAGAZINE BALKART — #6 2013

04 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Besa Luci explores the conflicts and tensions of arts in the Balkans.

21 LIGHTS, CAMERA, TRUTH Archival footage ends lies cast as reality. By Ardian Vehbiu

THE FESTIVALS 136 DOKUFEST RETURNS TO PRIZREN Film festival draws international attention. By Cristina Mari

42 REVIVING THE COLLECTIVE Curatorial group aims to turn art world on its head. By Chelsea Haines

141 THE MIKSER MIX Creative platform and festival isn’t following convention in its path to success. By Daniel Sivinjski

45 ART AS A TOOL FOR CHANGE The work of Marjetica Potrc gives hope. By Goran Tomcic

144 ICONS OF A JAZZ FESTIVAL The men and women who help define the Skopje event speak out. By Nenad Georgievski

54 INSIGHT FROM A MASTER Suzana Milevska offers up theories on art and visual culture. By Eriola Pira

60 FROM ARMY TO ARTIST

151 MLADI LEVI UNITES ARTISTS AND CITIZENS How a humble Arts Festival has grown and evolved. By Cristina Mari

Bosnian’s work leads the way for his country. By Claudia Zini

63 SINESTEZIJA FESTIVAL REJUVENATES HERCEG NOVI Festival organizer Vanja “Linnch” Vikalo draws interest to the Herceg Novi art scene. By Nela Lazarevic

66 SAVING A CULTURE

155 THE LJUBLJANA BIENNIAL A history of the Ljubljana Biennial. By Petja Grafenauer

158 THE LITTLE FILM FESTIVAL THAT COULD BE BIG Motovun doesn’t want to be big, but its ideas sure are. By Zarka Radoja

Many problems need to be solved to rescue Bosnia and Herzegovina’s arts scene. By Jonathan Blackwood

80 ALTERNATIVE ROUNDUP A look at art spaces, country by country. By Adela Demetja

84 PUTTING ARTISTS FIRST

129 RESIDENCY PROGRAMS FOR ARTISTS

Gallery rises from small, shaky beginning to fight for creativity. By Haris Dedovic

88 THE SELF-PUBLISHING PLATFORM

Artist feedback on various residency programs. By Cristina Mari

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Female directors answer industry questions. By Jeton Budima

Group helps aspiring authors find readers, gain relevance. By Daniel Sivinjski

116 A NEW GENERATION OF WRITERS Regardless of medium, these writers are changing Kosovo. By Dardan Zhegrova

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WOMEN AND DIRECTING

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A GUIDE TO BEING A BALKAN ARTIST V 0.05

TEXT BY ARTRIT BYTYCI

✯✯✯✯✯

“ THE BEST THERE IS!”

JUST 10 STEPS AWAY FROM SUCCESS!

VOTED

No.1 2013

FIRST,

we would like to thank you for choosing the archetype of the Balkan artist to serve as an inspiration for your next art project. You may be contemplating a performance piece, or maybe you are thinking of a multimedia installation; in any case, if you wish your project to succeed, you must be acquainted with an accurate version of the type. To prepare for your performance, you will need to follow method acting techniques. You will need to place yourself in the shoes of the Balkan artist, but you must also live, act, eat, breathe, walk, talk, and create in the same manner as your subject. At this point, our legal department recommends that we provide a note of warning: becoming a Balkan artist isn’t easy. One of the challenges is that there is no set consensus from the experts on what it means to be an artist from the Balkan region. Furthermore, critics often have a tendency to aggregate and lump together a series of themes and characteristics that they like to call Balkan art, or “Balkart.” Because of these difficulties, this guide will focus on Working Definition 375-D from the Institute for Rampant Creativity — an imaginary, non-profit, pseudo-scientific, and faux-cultural organisation that we have just invented for this purpose.

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SO, YOU’VE DECIDED THAT YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW IT IS TO BE A BALKAN ARTIST? CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE ALMOST THERE, AND JUST AS ANY LONG JOURNEY STARTS WITH A SINGLE STEP, YOURS STARTS WITH READING THESE LINES. Artrit Bytyci was born in Prishtina and spent (the best years of ) his life between Prizren and Tirana. He now resides in New York.

While you might feel inclined to start an interior discussion about to what degree an artist is a product of their environment; how that environment affects their work; and whether a person from the Balkans can ever break free from local influences in order to produce art that transcends space and time and is universal in its portrayal of the human condition. As far as this goes, however, we recommend against such ruminations — they’re only going to hinder you. If you want to be considered a Balkan artist by Western critics, you are expected to act a certain way, look and feel a certain way, and pursue certain themes. This guide will teach you how to best achieve this so that you too may embody your chosen archetype fully in your project.

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1. TEAR UP YOUR PASSPORT

2. GET INSIDE OF THE BOX

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YOU

cannot be considered a true Balkan artist if you are able to roam freely through the world. You have to experience the isolation associated with the denial of the basic human right that is freedom of movement. All of the Balkan countries have experienced isolation at some point during their existence; some have isolated themselves voluntarily, others were punished with sanctions, and still others simply failed to fulfill the required standards. And then, of course, there is Kosovo, a new state where, for its inhabitants, freedom of movement still seems like a distant dream. You have to experience gruesome waits in long lines at the embassy of your choice. You have to be called a liar, a cheat, and any multitude of other of degrading names. You should experience refusal. You should experience denial. You should be made to feel inferior, worthless, and helpless. If you start getting that suffocating feeling, then you are on the right path. Congratulations, you have successfully completed the first step in your metamorphosis into a Balkan artist.

IN

order to truly make your work match the stereotypical definition of art from the Balkans, you need to forget the idea of “thinking outside the box.” You’re on the inside, and making the best of it. By now, you have probably adjusted to living in isolation and limited freedom of movement. In this step you will focus on exploring the ways in which this isolation affects the evolution of art within your chosen “box,” or Balkan country. You will try to produce original art, and you will experience how the inability to travel influences your ideas. In your attempt to be original, you will try and imitate what you think are current trends, only to fail by producing cheap reproductions. You notice that there are several topics that constantly recur in your attempts: war, nationalism, ethnicity, identity, reconciliation, state building, social collapse, survival, and all the rest. You will start focusing on each (or one) of them.

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3. THE POWDER KEG METHOD

4. WAVE YOUR COLORS

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of the essential themes for a Balkan artist is the topic of war. They say that the Balkan region is a powder keg. — so what better way to understand this term than through the use of an actual powder keg? Next step? Find a powder keg (or at least some type of a firecracker). Place it neatly inside your room and surround it with your most precious possessions. Light the fuse. Quickly escape to safety and wait for the boom. Then go back into the room and quietly observe the damage. Focus on the state of your most prized possessions: Your favorite book missing its burnt upper half; a picture of your childhood reduced to a crumpled sheet of black plastic; your damaged iPhone leaving you with no way of contacting your loved ones.

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the aftermath of the explosion, try to navigate the room through a layer of thick smoke. As you cough, try to figure out what it was that started all this? Why did the keg explode? What caused it? Could it have been prevented? The important thing, though, is that you survived the blast. In the euphoria of this epiphany, you may feel inclined to pick up a flag and start waving it, perhaps hoping to clear some of the smoke with your movements. This movement causes you to have a flashback; it all started with the struggle of “us” versus “them.” Remember reading an anthropological/sociological study suggesting that the way for a tribe to band together was to exhibit hate towards outsiders. Start wondering what makes a tribe? What makes a people? What makes an ethnic group? What makes a nation? Through the same mechanism that provides us our attempts to love, to bond, and to come together, are we inherently wired to hate? Decide that maybe you want to explore the love-hate relationship inspired by nationalism a little further.

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