Dec 29, 2013

PERfACT | A 2013 Retrospe(k)tive

Dear Readers,

I want to thank you for an amazing 2013. All of you that regularly follow, invisible lurk or have occasionally stumbled onto this blog. Your curiosity and feedback has mentally and physically encouraged me to push forward and write. Thank you for the immense support. I feel really blessed.

I think the best way to serve you, the reader, is by (continuously) attempting to speculate and challenge the role of media, culture, and politics in understanding, interpreting and producing social structures and spatial forms, to approach and engage a more liberating process for critical thought. With this in mind, I look forward to the new year. 


Dec 21, 2013

Featured Artist & Exhibit | Ledia Konstandini @MIZA

For its last show of the year and to mark its first anniversary, MIZA Gallery is recognizing the work of Ledia Kostandini, an emerging young Albanian artist with a tremendous body of work
Her solo exhibit ÇENTRO ESTETIKE (AESTHETIC DOILY) is curated by Eriola Pira and will be in view at MIZA from December 23, 2013 - January 23, 2014. The opening is Monday @7:00pm so don't miss the chance to meet the artist and curator. 

End 2013 with an artistic blast!

Curated by Eriola Pira.

 Ledia Kostandini closed the year 2012 with a studio visit. Everyone was invited. The artist’s studio (which she still shares with her colleague, Matilda Odobashi) was transformed into a Salon full of art and life. Previously exposed work, work in progress, discussions, gaiety, coffee and wine, all was served to art-lovers for four days. The artist and her art presented themselves generously, straightforwardly, without the framing of an exhibition or the contextualization of the next curator. It’s rare that we, the public, have such direct access to an artist, let alone her studio, which we imagine as a mysterious place where the artistic process and the work of art are conceptualized and realized before we encounter it in the gallery or elsewhere. Last year’s invitation for a studio visit was a sort of demystification of the artist and a re-introduction to her, by bringing the artist, as well as her labor and artwork closer to the public, who has lost links with the artist as much as contact with art.
Ledia Kostandini will close out the year 2013 at MIZA Gallery. Not in her studio, but there she will be welcoming you this holiday season. What was conceptualized over this past year has taken form, personality, and demands attention and value. The invitation to this exhibition -- the last of their first year -- comes from Miza. The end of the year occasion comes as an offer to reformat, redefine, and re-present the self, our appearance, vision, thought, and approach to the everyday and that which surrounds us. Ledia treats things full of energy and intensity, sometimes with sincere and sometimes with grotesque humor, by changing their function, meaning, and value, by adding elements and other object-parts, not very differently to what happens in beauty salons, gyms, and under the plastic surgeons knife. The objects and installations at Miza follow in the trail of the Surrealists of the early 20th Century and the legacy of Duchamp in the 21st, in a post-industrial context of global production and consumption, where criticism and the celebration of this political, economic and cultural order don’t much differ from one another, if they aren’t the same altogether.
[alb]  Ledia Kostandini e mbylli vitin 2012 me një vizitë në studio. Të gjithë ishin të ftuar. Studioja e artistes (të cilën e ndan akoma me miken e saj Matilda Odobashi) u shndërrua në një sallon plot art e jete. Vepra të ekspozuara, pune në zhvillim e sipër, diskutime, hare, kafe e verë servirur art-dashësve për plot katër ditë. Artistja dhe arti i saj u paraqitën bujarë, të drejtpërdrejtë, pa kornizën e ndonjë ekpozite apo kontekstualizimin e ndonjë kuratori të rradhës. Pak herë kemi rastin, si publik, të kemi akses kaq direkt me një artiste, dhe aq më pak në studion e saj, të cilën e imagjinojmë si një vend misterioz, ku procesi artistik dhe vepra ngjizen e përfundohet para se ne ta shohim në galeri a gjetkë. Ftesa e vjetshme për vizitë në studio ishte një lloj çmitizimi i artistit dhe një ri-prezantim ndryshe me të, duke e sjellë vetë atë, si dhe përpjekjen dhe punën e saj më afër publikut, i cili në mos ka humbur lidhjet me artistin, ka humbur kontakt dhe me artin.
Ledia Kostandini do ta mbyllë 2013-ën në MIZA Galeri. Jo në studio, por atje ju pret këtë fundvit. Ç'u ngjiz gjatë këtij viti ka marrë formë, personalitet, dhe kërkon vëmendje dhe vlerësim. Ftesën për këtë ekspozitë të fundit të vitit tyre të parë e dërgon Miza. Okazioni i këtij fundviti vjen si një ofertë për të ri-dimensionuar, ri-përkufizuar dhe ri-prezantuar veten, pamjen, shikimin, mendimin dhe qasjen tonë ndaj së përditshmes dhe çka na rrethon. Plot energji dhe intensitet, me një humor herë të çiltër dhe herë-herë grotesk, Ledia i trajton sendet duke iu shndërruar funksionin, kuptimin dhe vlerën, duke iu shtuar elemente e objekte të tjera përbërëse, jo shumë ndryshe nga çka rëndom ndodh nëpër sallone bukurie, nëpër palestra, apo nën thikën e kirurgut plastik. Objektet dhe instalacionet tek Miza janë në vazhdën e Surrealistëve të fillim shekullit XX, trashëgimia e Duchamp në shekullin XXI, në një kontekst post-industrial të prodhimtarisë dhe konsumit global, ku kritika nga lëvdata për këtë rend politik, ekonomik e kulturor, nuk dallojnë shumë nga njëra tjetra, në mos, janë e njëjta gjë.


Dec 20, 2013

Featured Artist | Lui Shtini

Lui Shtini is an Albanian artist living in New York. Born in 1978 in Kavajë, he got his BFA at the Academy of Arts in Tirana shortly before leaving for US in 2000. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2007 and received a NYFA Painting Fellowship in 2010. To learn more about the artist and his work, make sure to read this interview he did for coolhunting

"Cotton Fro", Oil on board, 20 1/2" x16 1/2", 2013
via Kate Werble

His third solo exhibit “Face Paintings” is currently showing at Kate Werble Gallery. A review of his work can be found in the NYTimes.
"Homer", Pencil on paper, 14"x11", 2011

His previous two shows were at the Van de Weghe Fine Art Gallery, “The Matter of an Uncertain Future” (2013) and New Paintings (2009).

"Untitled (burned bed)", oil on canvas, 50"x60", 2009

So, if you're in New York City this holiday season, make sure to check it out (until January 4, 2014).


Dec 18, 2013

Open Invitation | SIMA 2014


Now in its second year, SOCIAL IMPACT MEDIA AWARDS or SIMA, a global documentary and educational impact media competition and showcase honoring members of the independent film and global humanitarian industries.

Dedicated to advancing global awareness, social justice, human rights, and humanitarian development, SIMA champions the works of independent FILMMAKERS, ACTIVISTS, and CHANGE-MAKERS, amplifying creative media that exemplifies excellence in its potential to inspire change.

Invited are all international DOCUMENTARY FEATURES and SHORTS that provide deeper insight into the realities of global development, global activism, and the human condition, as well as EDUCATIONAL IMPACT VIDEOS that illuminate "How Aid Works", i.e. the process behind innovative development programs.

For more information about Awards, Jury Prizes, Eligibility Requirements, and to

visit the SIMA website or find them on Facebook / Twitter.


Dec 13, 2013

Otherness | Misc. Projects of the Week

Otherness this week: 

theoretically visualizing the invisible electromagnetic radiation from cellphone signals

photo by nickolay lamm
an installation of 13 glass piano sculptures suspended off an apartment building, 
inspired by the italian tenor enrico caruso

photos by Michael Short/The Chronicle
instead of taking photographs, you can just move the phone around the object and a three dimensional model appears on the screen

a centuries-old salt mine in romania, converted into an underground tourist attraction complete with rides, a museum, and health spa


Dec 12, 2013

Otherness | NHDK

With his latest project NHDK, Barcelona-based photographer Víctor Enrich has digitally altered a building in Munich, Germany 88 ways. You can find more awesome reconfigurations on his website.   #Otherness

(via colossal)


Dec 10, 2013

Open Invitation | DEAR ALBANIA Video/Photo Contest!

Remember last year's film project by Eliza Dushku on Albania
Well, she has announced an official video/photo contest with a December 15, 2013 11:59pm PST deadline. 
One of the film's major themes is that Albanians remain proud of their country, even when they do not live within the country's borders. We want to show Albanians bringing Albanian pride to their own homes and communities around the world. We need your help. We are looking for video or photos that will help tell this story. 
No matter the corner of the world you live in, you're more than welcome to participate by showing how you keep the Albanian spirit alive.
Do you teach an Albanian Language course? Or take one? Show us your Albanian class.
Have you taught your grandchildren your favorite Albanian dances? Show us a clip of their performance. 
Do you make Berek for your family dinners-- even if it's paired with local wine? Show us what your dinner table looks like. 
Do you have pictures in your home of your parents or grandparents? Show us! 
Where do you exhibit the Albanian double-headed eagle? Do you hang your Albanian flag on your brick faced Boston walk-up-- or inside the shop your parents have run for decades?
If you are interested in being in the movie, follow the official instructions for HD Video submissions (preferably) or old photos that depict the Albanian pride of previous generations throughout the world. The chosen entries will be featured in the film, receive credit in the end credits, and also be awarded a free copy of the final feature “Dear Albania.”

For official rules, forms, and further submission check the links below:


Entry Form:


Also, check out the contest's Facebook page.

Here's a sneak peek:

Don't forget the deadline
December 15, 2013 11:59pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)


Dec 9, 2013

Featured Presentation | Why Tirana Needs An Art Library?

The Future Library Unconference is underway in Athens, Greece with a two-day event gathering over 400 library aficionados to interact, network and exchange ideas.  If interested, check it out live, here. I would recommend listening to Adela Dementja's talk on Why Tirana needs an art library, and what she's doing to make it happen.

Why Tirana needs an art library?
Tirana Art Lab is currently creating and establishing an open library of artists’ catalogues, publications on art theory, as well as a selection of international art magazines. The art library will be situated in the underground anti atomic Bunker building, placed in the very center of the city, built during the communist regime. The presentation will point out why for Tirana Art Lab having an art library is even more important than having a permanent exhibition space in the city.

Curator's info:

Adela Demetja, Curator/Director
Tirana Art Lab – Center For Contemporary Art

Adela Demetja is a curator born in Tirana, Albania. She holds a Master in Curatorial and Critical Studies from Städelschule and Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. She is one of the founders and director of Tirana Art LabCentre for Contemporary Art based in Tirana. She curated a number of international exhibitions and events in different European countries. Among the artists Demetja has featured in solo exhibitions are: Damir Ocko and Armando Lulaj. Recent thematic exhibitions she has curated include: The aesthetic of the small act at Action Field Kodra in Thessaloniki (with Att Poomtangon, Jens Haaning, Karmelo Bermejo, Flaka Haliti, Lana Cmajcanin), Voices of Truth in Villa Romana in Florence (with Adrian Paci, Ibro Hasanovic, Damir Ocko).


Dec 7, 2013

Emoticons | Language of the Future

Written communication has become increasingly popular. 
We email, chat, text a lot more than we talk on the phone or face to face.
Thus, Emoticons & Emojis have become an everyday cultural staple. 
They represent new ways of our creativity with the limitations of the written language and the opportunity for complexity beyond its visual expression.


Dec 4, 2013

Open Invitation | Onufri Prize 2013

The Albanian Ministry of CultureNational Gallery of Arts have announced 
a call for applications for the 2oth edition of the ONUFRI PRIZE:

The competition, organized annually by the National Gallery of Arts, bears the name of the prominent Albanian medieval iconographer Onufri, and it represents the most important Albanian public prize dedicated to visual arts, held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture

ONUFRI PRIZE aims to promote and support the vital role that art and creation play in raising awareness to take the pulse of our times, both in terms of reflecting on man and society, and from the perspective of the relevant issues inevitably affecting us. It is considered an open dialogue between artists of different nationalities and backgrounds.

This year's concept is “
Praise Of Doubt”. It is open to all artists regardless of nationality - including all mediums and techniques. The finalists (up to 12 selected) will be invited to show their work in a public exhibition at the National Gallery of Arts in Tirana. A jury of well-known specialists in contemporary art and culture will select the winner.

Things to keep in mind:

· Application Deadline: 10 December 2013

· Finalist Exhibition: 26 December 2013 – 2 February 2014

· Onufri Prize Award: 30 January 2014

· Award Amount: 500,000 ALL (approx. 3500 euros)

If we think about the doubt and the state when we normally doubt on something or someone, we generally refer to the word "doubt" in its opposite meaning, that is to say “not to be sure of”. Therefore the doubt corresponds to that feeling of being inwardly insecure.This is expressed with the words “doubtless”, “without any doubt”, etc. 
However doubt is twofold. In fact it plays as it were the double face of the same coin. Then the doubt has two faces: one negative and one positive. In its negative sense, the doubt leads to paralysis, like that immobility typical of the state of panic, which leads to nihilism. On the other hand, if doubt is rightly interpreted and addressed, it corresponds to a vibrant space of movement that tends towards something you may desire (this is at the end the reason why you are doubtful). 
At a social level, especially in the last decade, doubt inevitably affects almost everyone. There is no more certainty of permanent job (at least in the countries of old Europe). Also in countries considered nowadays as the former Eastern Europe, where new forms of democracy clash between the desire to see the Western models and the strong cultural tradition still ground-rooted among different generations. In these countries the dreams and the utopias toward a change seem to be stalemated and comparable to a state of doubt. In fact the disillusion and the disappointment among the new generations of artists under 30, who invested their scholarship on moving abroad attending MA and Fine Arts Schools, are strongly perceived by them as a failure of government policies and promises for a cultural renaissance. 
Recently we are witnesses (without the intention of generalizing all the countries putting them in one basket) of a spread tension. This wave is perceivable in many cases: from Albania to Bulgaria, from Greece and other European nations like Ireland, Spain, Portugal or Italy to the current “Arab Spring” outcomes. The cited tension is a feeling of anxiety more individual than collective that includes the uncertainty of moving outside, or staying “motionless” where you are. Furthermore this mood coincides with the typical doubtful feeling. The fear of not being successful in attaining the own desires and projects means that the dreams could not come true and self-esteem is compromised. 
Whenever the lack of confidence is analysed, an innate question raised: “Could we ever be truly confident and hopeful toward the others and ourselves?” This is an open point that relies on confidence rooted in our own primordial intuitions, such as when, symbolically the first roar moves inside. 
Eventually, our lives are definitely marked by a constant search of securities and permanency (and in all the spheres of life: the confidence in relationship conventionally agreed through the marriage or civil unions; the permanent job contract; or mortgages to guarantee an immutable and fixed property). 
Nevertheless, in the Global era of hyper-flexibility and hyper-speed there is an aspect that is entirely different respect to the past: an approach to dealing with the present that is some how new. We are perpetually torn between a time that does not seem to project us very far, in the sense that it does not delve into the past (in terms of nostalgia for yesteryear), but at the same time it does not go forward either (i.e., it has no long-term perspectives). And in this state of suspension, what prevails is the persistent feeling of doubt that coincides with “being precisely in the present”. In any event, this condition of doubting allows artists to cross the contingent moment with greater awareness. In other words, they don’t stop the search of meaning. - Claudio Cravero

Curatorial Team:

Claudio Cravero - curator (1977, Torino – ITA) His research explores the problems intrinsic to contemporary art including borders,otherness and identity on an international scale. Since 2008, under the auspices of the art program directed by Piero Gilardi, he has developed cultural projects and curated exhibitions at the PAV Turin’s Experimental Centre of Contemporary Art. In the framework of Resò, the international platform for artist residencies, he has headed the curatorial activity and coordinated the program with the foreign directions of Townhouse Gallery (Cairo, Egypt), Capacete (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), and Khoj (New Delhi, India). He has also led researches and adult public activities for many cultural institutions, such as the Castello di Rivoli -Museum of Contemporary Art (2004-2006); Municipality of Turin, Cultural department for the project of Public Artin Public Space of the City; the Italian Cultural Institute of New York,U.S.A. (Curatorial department, 2004); the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation in Turin (Curator of educational program with Emanuela De Cecco, 2002-2003). Andas an editor, he writes articles and reviews for the contemporary art magazine Artribune.

Olson Lamaj - assistant curator (1985, Tirana - ALB) Has a BA in Painting (Florence, Italy) and an MA in Photography (Brera Academy, Milano). For many years has been active in various forms in the Albanian art scene and the international one. His research and artistic practice is concerned with the public space, the territory and its re-structuring, itself in constant transformation. Two years ago, his photographic project "On the Street" which presented a new compositional dimension of public spaces in Albania, allowed a six-week residency at ISCP, New York. Last year his commitment has been focused on the first alternative space dedicated to visual arts in Albania, "MIZA"Gallery. "MIZA" is a non-institutional and non-commercial space which within a short period of time managed to become an important factor in Albanian art scene and establish links with many national and international personalities and artistic structures.

For more information visit the competition website at 
National Gallery of Arts and Facebook or feel free to write at: