Nov 12, 2012

Utopian Tirana | Featured Video and Thought

Here's a video of Utopian Tirana.

Hidden Cities & Hybrid Identities - Rome, Italy
by Ajmona Hoxha, Blendina Cara, Elis Vathi, Klodiana Millona




What does utopia mean in a city like Tirana? 

A city that has gone through radical political wars, has fallen in a static transition; stretching it with a sense of urgency that thrives in dynamic instability, fearing the past and being uncertain of the future. Thus, leaving an absent self.

Is this nostalgic fear utopicIs this future anticipation utopic

Artifacts such as the Pyramid build as utopic monuments; are thought of as obsolete remnants with an absent present, and they seem to be dissolving into a dystopian (much speculative) future - a very slow one at that. Even though spatial configuration around them has change, these artifacts somehow seem to make up the urban context for new projects. Of course they are the primary, fixed elements of city space and life because they have resisted historical violence, but somehow have failed to accommodate the post-totalitarian shift and adapt to present cultural diversity. 

In my opinion, utopia in a city like Tirana, where time/space continuum is stuck between the dissolution of the old and the creation of the new, remains in these remnants or artifacts (if you will) that I call pockets of crisis

A crisis of identity

Since they were built as utopic (well, the most well-known ones) and dedicated to someone in power (as a lot of pyramids were) most likely off-limits to general population, they were already pre-defined. Their type, their form, their style, their function, their occupants, their- everything was given to people as such. It all made perfect sense being in a totalitarian regime and all, but now that we're moving forward as an open and free country, we see the most recognized signs of an identity struggle

We're trying really hard to replace our (past) thought and urban typography/context, that we're having serious problems redefining the contents that would actually fit in it. Contents such as these artifacts.

What can they be now? Who can go inside? What function should they hold? How private or public should they be?

We're so confused that we've let them become utopic ruins. Utopic, because we still can't let go and accept that buildings are build for people, to be accessed by them. They're not shrines, that's why we have monuments and lapidaries. 

Utopia in this case and in this city seems to be just a regime propaganda. That is how these overpriced objects were sold to the starving, submissive masses. They have become a testament of their owners' appearance and fetishism. 

They are still haunting us. 
And, we're letting them be.. 

We need to use them. 

To me, these pockets of crisis are schizophrenic opportunities for the public good, for the urban city, for a new global metropolis. They cannot be visible landmarks on the map but absent from urban life. If we allow them (in our mind and actions) to lead, condition and trace our collective urban behavior, only then we can say we have allowed this city to mature. Only then, their spatial responses will inform us, the users. This way the city will grow and shrink interactively with the collective experience, and not as an independent image or an object camouflaged by instability. Only then, we'll be able to really map the potential for change in a city that has seen so much of it. 

The post-communist city, the new city has more arbitrary constructions than historical reconstruction. Our idea and action toward preservation doesn't go further than just in name. We seem to be fearful to act in order to protect and restore historical spatiality but we are proud to be excessively vocal about our strong nationalism. 

We have been so focused to transition from communism to the future in terms of time that we have forgotten to change in space, and that's why (spatially) we're bouncing off on all kinds of directions.

We have responded to a defensive urban strategy and model of the totalitarian city, with an offensive architectural sprawl and aesthetics that still leaves the public user out. Reactivating ex-utopic artifacts will help identify Tirana as a city that is no longer on the edge, but moving towards maturity. Enabling new continuities of public urban performance will make the city more efficient, resilient and adaptable to growth.

Letting these artifacts be and just live around them, it's not a preservation tactic like some might argue. It's an identity struggle, fear of accepting the known and having to move forward into the unknown. It's abandonment

Maybe, it's our behavior that's utopic, or maybe I'm full of it but I'd like to mention something Rem Koolhaas has said (on preservation): "The result is a new form of historical amnesia, one that, perversely, only further alienates us from the past.”  I agree.

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3 comments:

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ok, shume mire: permendet identiteti. jam dakord; sot ekziston tendenca per te menduar se identiteti nuk eshte fryt i nje procesi perpunimi e permiresimi por nje faqe e bardhe ditari me moton e Rosela O'Haras 'neser eshte nje dite e re'.

Shfaqet qe te shtresa politike (papritmas roli i para 90s demaskohet thjesht si farse, te gjithe paskeshin qene te ndrydhur ne role te imponuar ndersa thelle-thelle mbeteshin demokrate e pionere te lirise), kalon tek zakonet e shoqerise e perfundon tek arkitektura sic e permend dhe ti.
Kufiri midis 2 regjimeve personifikohet kaq shume sa papritur ngrihet e behet mur, cfare ishte perpara nuk shihet me, i perket si te thuash komshiut: te kaluares; ndersa tani u gjendkemi ne anen tjeter, te 'periudha pas' dhe pa pare mire se cfare behet ne anen tjeter te murit, spekullohet, te ngjiten faje, te demonizohet e ekzagjerohet: fundja te gjithe jane nga e njejta ane e murit, dhe ca ben komshiu se merr me vesh njeri.

Dalim tek ajo qe thua ti, ndertesat qe na mbeten relike; per mendimin tim ama jo prej kesaj utopie qe na paska mbizoteruar gjithe keto kohe. Fundja edhe piramida, e vetmja qe mund ta plotesonte kete kushtin 'utopik', u ndertua e u perdor si e tille vetem ne vitet e fundit te nje sistemi te cilit gjithsesi po i vinte fundi. Edhe kjo utopi, sado utopi te kete qene ne princip dhe qellim, nuk mbeti nje relike sic e tregon ti por u perthith direkt nga shoqeria, u be pikeprerje e grupmoshave te ndryshme, e funksioneve te ndryshme, si ne pjesen e brendshme ashtu edhe te jashtme...dhe duke qene nje objekt trashegimie kaq i rendesishem, u ngulit ne kujtesen e perbashket dhe ne identitetin e qytetit: qe eshte edhe arsyeja perse, me gjithe pasivizmin e shoqerise ne pergjithesi, u mor ne mbrojtje nga ne qe e kishim perjetuar. Nderkohe, jane arsye me 'skuthe' e me te lidhura me interesin financiar qe kete pike takimi e kthyen papritur ne krater, ne relike.

Kete shprehjen e Rem Koolhaas, e mbaj mend, dhe nese kujtohem qarte ka qene ne kuadrin e Bienales se Venecies ne 2010 ku Rem i vinte gishtit fenomenit ne te cilin objekteve te arkitektures, sidomos ne vendet ish-komuniste ku regjimet e shkuara ngjallin ndjenja dhe shihen o me nostalgji o me percmim,u vishen mbi te gjitha simbole e mesazhe te nenndergjegjshme duke i bere dele te zeza te problemeve nga e cilat mund te vuajne qendrat urbane: si te thuash, anet e shemtuara u dashkan zbukuruar. Ama ndryshimi midis botes se Remit dhe botes se (Sali) Ramit, eshte : ndersa te Remi kjo vjen si perpjekje per te bashkerenduar 'cfare ka qene' me 'cfare ka nevoje per vend qe te mund te vije', te Rami eshte nje zakon i shfrenuar per te menjanuar cdogje qe ka qene asaj qe do te vije. Duke pasur simptoma te njejta por shkaqe te ndryshme, edhe kurat ndryshojne tmerr nga njera tjera.

Per me teper: ashtu si dhe Piramida deshmon nje vazhdimesi funksionesh te qellimshme apo improvizuara, ashtu edhe elementet ne rendesi e dimensione inferiore si parqet, stolat e pemet midis pallateve, katet e para te pallateve, bacet apo komplet shtepite e vjetra e periudhes para dhe pas Luftes 2 Boterore shpalosnin akoma me shume nje tipologji, krijonin nje genius loci me vlera te ndryshme sado te kritikueshme e te permiresushme, por qe sot e kesaj dite jane mbibetonuar, mbisuvatuar, crrenjosur e shnderruar: jo me si nje vijueshmeri apo proces, por si nje pushtim i nje fuqie te huaj.

irsiB said...

ne rradhe te pare te falenderoj per komentin.
jam plotesisht dakort me ty.

s'eshte aspak sekret qe piramida (si nje nga shembujt me konkret dhe te perfolur)ka mbetur 'rrenoje e se kaluares' per shkaqe politike dhe avancime financiare te atyre ne fuqi, por cka me shqetson mua eshte sterotipizimi dhe percaktimi (i saj)si i tille nga njerezit, te cilet edhe pse nuk kane cfare ti bejne vendimeve te tilla politike, ne nje menyre ose tjetren ndjekin te njejten rruge per projekte individuale ku mund te perfshihen sic e the dhe ti zonat midis pallateve, etj. Pra eshte ky mentalitet (nje braktisje e cilesise apo vlerave existencialiste te jetes per nje sasi materialiste)qe me shqeteson prandaj dhe dua ta kuptoj me mire. Pergjigja e pyetjes, duhet prishur apo restauruar eshte fillimi i nje diskursi mbi (mos)vazhdimesine historike nga komunizmi deri me sot. E vertete qe kemi ecur me kohen (drejt modernizimit), gje qe shfaqet nga menyra e jeteses dhe rendesia ne perceptimin (iluzionin) material te kesaj lifestyle, por kemi ngecur me vendin 'space' qe ne kapacitetin privat reagon ndaj regjimit duke privatizuar cdo gje deri tek trotuari publik, dhe ne kapacitetin public (shtetor) ndrydh te kaluaren duke patur frike nga e ardhmja. Eshte ky disporpocion mentaliteti qe pengon daljen nga tranzicioni dhe i jep nje shthurrje (skicofreni do thoja une) identitetit. Nuk e di pse por gjithmone biseda apo diskursi kthen koken mbrapa, fokusohet tek historia dhe e le te ardhmen ne meshire te fatit. Per mendimin tim jane keto objekte historike qe do na ndihmojne te krijojme dhe te ngreme te ardhmen; jo me mitingje (njeher e ne kaq kohe) kunder apo pro prishjes a ndertimit, por duke filluar ti perdorur hapesirat publike rreth tyre sic kemi bere dikur me shkallet e universitetit apo piramides. Eshte thjesht prezenca jone e vazhdueshme dhe (ne nje menyre apo tjetren) qasja publike qe tregon change. Sic thote dhe quota famoze "90% of success is showing up", ose ne kete rast "90% of change is showing up."

ps: une do te inkurajoja te shkruaje (ty dhe te tjere) per tema te tilla publike urbane dhe kulturore ketu ne blog si guest writer, qe te fillojme apo vazhdojme nje bisede te informuar duke e vijuar me nderhyrje apo eksperimente aktuale per te pare nese jemi ne drejtimin e duhur apo jo.
Let me know if you're interested!
-thanks,
irsib
perfact.irsib@gmail.com