Dec 17, 2014

2014 Wrap-up

A few words to wrap up 2014:

I am thankful for all the superb (and equally tough) conversations I've had this year with artists, curators, architects, students, writers, filmmakers, and all other creatives (be they intellectuals, professionals, or enthusiasts) near and far, in Albania and abroad. There are a lot of individuals and groups that care about the tiny creative scene in Albania. I am one of them.

In the past few months, I have witnessed and been a part of (I admit, not as much as others) a great deal of fight and passion (in social media) to re-value the Albanian artistic thought, process and product, so it can re-merge (ever so slightly) stronger in quality and not be reduced to a political institution's agenda. We all want and are trying to help it gain ground and (re)establish itself, but part of the challenge has been the dialog.

Dialog between creative content and the event it is a part of. Dialog between this content and how its event is promoted. Dialog between artistic intent and media mediocrity and speculation. Dialog between artistic thought that wants to educate the masses and media ignorance that misinforms. Dialog between accurate historical inheritance and adopted social hipster(ic) trends.

I noticed a trend this year. Most (if not all) anticipated cultural events in previously communist hideouts, turned out to be hipster(ic) parties (at least that's what they looked like from afar). As in, there was a faint interest among the public, old and new, but only in the 'kept hidden from us' allure of its materialism (and selfie opportunity) than in the 'let's roll up our sleeves, dig deeper into its purpose, the fear and paranoia of those who built it, hid it, the intentions of those who opened it, and truly study the consequences it had on the lives, ideologies, labor, prosecution and the making of the same society who now participates only as a visitor, a hipster commodity.

Dialog between the new of the past, the new of the future, and how the new of now 'suspends historical consciousness while desperately fills itself with content'.(1) Dialog of whatever happens (or needs to happen) between the quality of means and the value of ends.

Dialog between artists' skills and institutional (public and private) relevance and co-dependence. Dialog between useless conferences and much needed workshops. Dialog between art as a professional practice, a part-time fancy and propagandamotional tool. High. Medium. Low. Underground. Abroad. Self-loathing. Naive. (un)Commissioned. Original. (in)Visible. etc. etc. etc.

Most importantly, the dialog between artists and other artists. Artists and curators. Artists and critics. Artists and the public. Artists and academia. Artists and buyers, sellers & decision-makers. Who are the real patrons of the Albanian arts? Its stakeholders?

And lastly, the most necessary dialog that unfortunately, has been behaving badly: Albanians and Albanians living abroad. What gives?

As we head into the New Year and pick up where we left off the conversation with our peers in Albania, let's consider this: We might be outside, but we have shown up for the exchange..
“There exists a very strong, but one-sided and thus untrustworthy, idea that in order to understand a foreign culture, one must enter into it, forgetting one’s own, and view the culture through the eyes of this foreign culture. This idea, as I said, is one-sided. Of course, a certain entry as a living being into a foreign culture, the possibility of seeing the world through its eyes, is a necessary part of the process of understanding it; but if this where the only aspect of this understanding, it would merely be a duplication and would not entail anything new or enriching. Creative understanding does not renounce itself, its own place in time, its own culture; and it forgets nothing. In order to understand, it is immensely important for the person who understands to be located outside the object of his or her creative understanding - in time, in space, in culture. For one cannot really see one’s own exterior and comprehend it as a whole, and no mirrors or photographs can help; our real exterior can be seen and understood only by other people, because they are located outside us in space and because they are others.
In the realm of culture, outsideness is a most powerful factor in understanding. It is only in the eyes of another culture that foreign culture reveals itself fully and profoundly (but not maximally fully, because there will be cultures that see and understand even more). A meaning only reveals its depths once it has encountered and come into contact with another, foreign meaning: they engage in a kind of dialogue which surmounts the closedness and one-sidedness of these particular meanings, these cultures. We raise new questions for a foreign culture, ones that it did not raise for itself; we seek answers to our own questions in it; and the foreign culture responds to us by revealing to us its new aspects and new semantic depths.” - Bakhtin, 1986, p.7.
Wishing you all a Happy Holiday Season!! 
Let's strive to restore the faith in the arts and integrity of our art scene in 2015!!


Nov 28, 2014

Happy Independence Day Albania! | Gëzuar 102-vjetorin!

The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point. MárquezOne Hundred Years of Solitude
While we proudly exhibit our past to the world, let's make sure we accept it first. We're still open wounds, prisoners of a painful past. Instead of dealing with it, we applaud the exposure and global attention it promotes. I'm not saying we shouldn't take advantage of these profitable opportunities much deserved 15 minutes of fame. I am only insisting in defining the act of ‘dealing with it’ as a true communication of our collective memory, a counseling of sorts - not a negotiation, commodity, combat fuel, or mere negligence.
Little by little, studying the infinite possibilities of a loss of memory, he realized that the day might come when things would be recognized by their inscriptions but that no one would remember their use. MárquezOne Hundred Years of Solitude
Yes, we have finally brought our past up to the surface. Let's now dive deep into the intensity and density that defines its space and make room, free it up for the future. Deal with it.

This is a space of containment. Quarantined. Contaminated and abandoned, it lingers unfinished. 102 years. 

Yes. This space exists, buried underneath the surface. A surface we've punctured, but haven't dared penetrate. Who wants to reach rock bottom anyways. Right?!
[F]or it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men. MárquezOne Hundred Years of Solitude
Instead we've made the surface, the extent of our past. A ‘blend of absurd, surreal and mundane’ (or ‘kafkaesque’) that is not a space (in the Lefebvrian sense), but a territory (of geopolitical control). It can even be abstracted as an ‘otherness’ - a ‘space where there appears to be none and even impossible to have one’ (E.Rama). But, IT is there. It just appears to be none, is a confirmation of its existence. Its depth has become our distance. Our disappearance.

Our act in ‘dealing with our past’ is superficial, limited to the surface. We haven't shown up for the exchange, yet. No past for future yet. Just the act of recitation. A surface that gives the impression of a space. An apparition. A mirror.
The mirror is, after all, a utopia, since it is a placeless place. In the mirror, I see myself there where I am not, in an unreal, virtual space that opens up behind the surface; I am over there, there where I am not, a sort of shadow that gives my own visibility to myself, that enables me to see myself there where I am absent: such is the utopia of the mirror. But it is also a heterotopia in so far as the mirror does exist in reality, where it exerts a sort of counteraction on the position that I occupy. From the standpoint of the mirror I discover my absence from the place where I am since I see myself over here. Starting from this gaze that is, as it were, directed toward me, from the ground of this virtual space that is on the other side of the glass, I come back toward myself; I begin again to direct my eyes toward myself and to reconstitute myself there where I am. - Foucault, p.4 
Happy Independence Day Albania! 102 years young! A shelf-life of.. What's next? The best laid plans..
It was the last that remained of a past whose annihilation had not taken place because it was still in a process of annihilation, consuming itself from within, ending at every moment but never ending its ending.” - MárquezOne Hundred Years of Solitude


Oct 8, 2014

A few thoughts | On Albanian National Public Lands

Lura National Park, Albania
 Public lands are all of those lands that belong to the public such as parks, forests, grasslands, scenic by-ways and waterways. These public lands include state parks, nature reserves, national forests and parks and other public monuments. [via]
As a kid, I was in awe of them, drawn to their vastness, history, habitat and pure magnificence. Always hopeful to visit and curious to get lost in them. Perfect backdrop for a child's imagination to run wild. Fortunately, not much has changed. My curiosity and imagination of such places, the wish to go back and explore still remain just as fearless, but not as innocent and trusting as before. They have become a challenge. A kind of post-apocalyptic challenge (if you will) in looking for these (now contaminated) lands. Recognizing them. Even finding them. The Albanian National Public Lands.

This article made me think of them earlier today. And I asked myself if I could still name or describe them. Sadly, I could not. Not for lack of remembering (or researching) but because their ownership (publicness), maintenance (management) and overall identity (natural habitat/cultural heritage) as such, has been successfully threatened (if not already destroyed) these past twenty (plus) years. 

After visiting a few of the bigger ones a couple of years back, I found it hard to grasp what they had been reduced to. Contaminated Lands. A trace of former self. A legacy passed on just in name. A future that weighs like a headstone. 

photo via diagstudio
The article defines National Public Lands as:
1. Land owned by everyone and no one, where each citizen has a stake in its health but no one person can claim it for his/her own.
2. Land managed by civil servants (including local and/or state employees).
3. Land that is home to many wild creatures including threatened/endangered plant and animal species. 
4. Land that we are all responsible for, taking care of it and its habitat individually and collectively by not littering or removing necessary items. 
5. Special places that should be around for generations and visitors to enjoy.
Even after following this absolute minimum requirement list to define the Albanian National Public Lands of my childhood, I wasn't certain any of the ones I knew would classify as such. Not anymore. Many have been touched and brutally transformed beyond recognition. Man has left his mark. And what a permanent (beyond consequential) one that has been. It is time to hold him accountable. To educate him. To not blame climate change. Not in Albania. Not yet. It is time to stop celebrating the (so many) days dedicated to National Public Lands. There is nothing to celebrate. Man needs to stop throwing feasts in his 'honor'. His 'honor' is destroying his heritage. But wait, he is raising awareness... Well, in that case.. I'd like to ask when will he raise appreciation?! 

photo via diagstudio
My inner child is furiously disappointed. Weren't we all raised to appreciate and better what was given to us?! [Maybe my la-la land is not your land (pity!!)..or, maybe I'm just not good at this challenge.]


Sep 8, 2014

A few thoughts | Observing the (not-so) silent summer (from afar)

It baffles me how little we learn from our work, how little we learn from the vulnerability it exposes us to, how closed off and unreceiving we are to the possibilities it opens up (light and dark, positive and negative) when it leaves us and becomes public, when it touches other people in form of critique, praise, motivation, lesson and even failure. The reason we want more people to see and participate in our work, (discussions, exhibits/events, social media pages/posts), is after all a move (or need) to reach out, to become defenseless but still hold its ground, to be part of something, of someone. We are opening it and ourselves to critique, interpretation, understanding and misunderstanding, support from our peers, dismissal or indifference from the bourgeois (pseudo-professional), vulgarity from the clueless - so it can grow, and we can grow with it.

This is not about pointing fingers or naming names and projects, but about the attitude that surrounds them in general. The wrong attitude in giving and receiving, in letting the work express the fragility of our ego (not be shadowed by it), in growth, and most of all in the human right of free speech. It baffles me how little we have learned about free speech. After all, we've chosen a life in creative jurisdictions (arts and humanities), being defensive and verbally abusive to our public will not honor the work, it will smear it. And, please, let's not justify it by mentioning similar acts and works of well-known and respectable others, because if a work it's truly ours, it should be inherently and fundamentally different, because we are different. My daemons are different from yours. My weirdness is different from yours. My life experiences are different from yours. My (ir)rationality, imagination, thought and behavior are definitely different from yours. I speculate (a fancy word for make) my own ideology. If you know better, you might want to too - right after failing to blindly following another's, just for the sake of art or life(style) or death for that matter.

Backbone. Throw me a bone?

If you're not ready to entertain the idea of being vulnerable to the exposure, then keep it to yourself. Why invite others to like or/and participate in your events? There is nothing wrong with keeping your work and yourself to yourself, if you're not ready. (Lonely is nothing to mess with. Not everyone can understand oneself that deeply to pull it off.) At the same time though, don't forget to keep that PR spotlight-loving ego of yours in check. Let's resist the adrenaline of self-promotion in the media if not completely ready to accept free-speech in return. Let's not wound or castrate free speech (don't confuse constructive free speech with rude arrogance and judgmental ignorance). We got enough problems already (insecurity being one of them) that's why we end up with aggressive negativity, character bashing and wasted talent. If you're not ready to receive guests, don't invite them.

Not a smirk.

Let's not pretend to give to the arts, culture, nationalism (and what have you) our all then. A work of something that is not ready to face a glimpse of exposure and absolutely refuses (better word would be fights) to receive free speech (or as I'd like to call it growth) - becomes simply nothingness, a wasted effort, an attempt at (a possible though unwanted) maturity. A 'trick or treat' of how to get away with murder art (& humanities) in Albania. Alleged crimes of this sort are more for 'extra, extra, read all about it' kind of enthusiasts, personally I'd prefer a 'did you hear...?' joke. A laugh is always better. Sadder than the real thing.

* Sporadic thoughts and opinion of a non artist (nartist) and a Chaplin fan. (too many quotes left behind. google at your own risk.)


Jun 14, 2014

Random Thoughts | Everyday Ruins vs. Monumental Archeology in Albania

What is the difference between 'ruins' and 'archeology'? 
Do we have the capacity to distinguish one from the other?
What's a 'ruin' and what's 'archeology'?
Are 'ruins' from a past (even) failed ideology (i.e. Piramida) part of our (heritage) 'archeology', or just urban excess/waste (i.e. entrepreneurial opportunities)?  

When speaking about history and heritage, why do we only mention/condemn the 'contemporary' vandal acts upon the 'physical' or 'visible' presence of history (such as mosaics, houses, monuments, i.e. architectural objects) and not the 'cultural' or 'intangible' heritage they have produced? The same cultural foundations that have birthed and enriched our national legacy?

I am (more) offended and shocked by the fact that these vandal acts (and condemning attitudes that follow) clearly manifest (or depending on your optimism suggest) that cultural heritage has already failed us (or it may have never reached us at all) because how else could we explain such disregard, disrespect and plain abuse of fundamentals that has made Albanians (more often than none) proud patriots?  

Why are we louder in condemning acts upon the physical, visible heritage than the acts themselves as a manifestation/product of our dissipated cultural heritage? An alarming symptom of cultural ruin indeed. So, let's not stop at the disgust we feel about 'those people that destroyed that beautiful amphitheater' but tap into our responsibility (as Albanians and their co-patriots) to (re)educate and make them understand the gravity of their ignorance toward what's left of our national legacy.

What worries me is not only how quick rapid 'transitional' modernity (if we dare call it that) have challenged (a better word would be destroyed) the presence of 'physical' historical heritage, but more so how they have castrated the weight of  their our 'cultural' production. We have failed our historical identity (and consequent national legacy) by paralyzing and even wounding a collective memory (supposedly so rich) dating back to antiquity. 

An unfortunate transitional lasting change: haunted by alienated historical 'ruins' and blinded by the glare of towers that now cover them.

Where do we go from here?


Jun 1, 2014

Sunday Beats | Greek-Albanian Folk Dirges

**Creative Sunday Series

A few weeks ago, I came across Christopher King and his collection of rare records when reading a piece on long lost blues musicians Geeshie Wiley and Elvie Thomas and their only surviving record "Last Kind Word Blues". Recently, I checked out his Long Gone "How the Other Half Hears" Series (via) on Easter European, Balkan and Mediterranean musics - and found it to be an awesome source of lost pre-war sounds.

Here's a glimpse of a few featured stories/sounds:

Albanian Traditional Music: An Introduction, with Sheet Music and Lyrics for 48 Songs.
By Spiro J. Shetuni. McFarland & Company, 2011. Sheet Music, Lyrics, Bibliography.
Folk music from Albania, particularly from the Central and Southern regions of the country, is rightly characterized as otherworldly, sublime, and in many instances, incongruent with practically all other European and Baltic musical expressions. The distinction is so great between Albanian music and music from surrounding areas that adjectival descriptors are sometimes tortured in relation to their referents. [...] The only melodious expression that is similar to the song and dance of Central and Southern Albania is the repertoire of Northern Greece, Epirus. 
Geographic isolation is the main reason why the music of Central and Southern Albania (and Northern Greece) is so distinctly different from the rest of the Baltic and surrounding European countries. 
Shetuni divides Albanian folk music into roughly four different dialects (broad styles) that have specific geographic locations and boundaries. Gheg traditional music is found in Northern Albania (Ghegëri), Tosk music is located in Central and Southern Albania (Toskëri), Lab music is found in Southern Albania (Labëri), and Urban music is found in the more densely populated cities throughout Albania. Crucially noted by Shetuni is the fact that Gheg music is almost exclusively monophonic and Tosk, Lab and Urban are primarily polyphonic and instruments normally accompany Gheg and Urban music whereas Tosk and Lab are almost always a cappella. Besides discussing the various sub-dialects and styles found in various villages and regions within a dialect, Shetuni goes to great lengths to describe each stylistic variation based on what he calls core structural groupings.
Five Days Married & Other Laments Song and Dance from Northern Greece 1928-1958

Beyond Rembetika: The Music & Dance of The Region of Epirus


Years of research and obsession have resulted in this, the first collection of recordings by the legendary and masterful Greek folk violinist Alexis Zoumbas. Very few pre-war musicians have tapped deeper into the human soul than Zoumbas and this volume presents his most profoundly hypnotic and unearthly pieces. - via 


May 30, 2014

Otherness | Misc. Projects of the Week

#otherness series continues this week with resilient cities and animated buildings.

1. Ruins of Abandoned Town As Playground 
for Alternative Sports (biking)


2. From the New World 

Yongliang's Intricate Digital Collages 
More with the artist: 


3. Animating Architecture 
by Axel de Stampa (awesome!!)


May 25, 2014

Sunday Thoughts | Quoted

**Creative Sunday Series
"Let us not waste time arguing about what is meant by "contemporary". It goes without saying that any time we speak of has already become an historical past, a past that seems to crumble away at the hinder end the further we recede from it. Phenomena which a younger generation is constantly relegating to "former days" are, for their elders, part of "our own day", not merely because their elders have a personal recollection of them but because their culture still participates in them. This different time-sense is not so much dependent on the generation to which one happens to belong as on the knowledge one has of things old and new. A mind historically focused will embody in its idea of what is "modern" and "contemporary" a far larger section of the past than a mind living in the myopia of the moment." - J. Huizinga, Homo Ludens, p.195


May 23, 2014

'Treasures in Disguise' | Montenegro Pavilion @Venice Architecture Biennale 2014

Another pavilion I look forward to!

Montenegro will present four late-modernist buildings at this year's Venice Architecture Biennale. Unfinished, neglected (in use and maintenance), and uncanny (curatorial description) - they stand as testament to a failed modernism, monumentalism and subsequent breakdown of Yugoslavia. Regarded to be Treasures in Disguise, today they can (very well) start a conversation, even hint at a direction for a possible 'urban regeneration' in the Balkan region.

photo via
Nobody seems to be able to recognize their value, hence their fate seems sealed: decay and demolition.

But how can something that was born out of a collective optimism lose its promise in such a short period of time? Is the demise of these buildings really due to an intrinsic lack of quality, or have we been unable to treat them with enough empathy to awaken a dormant potential that might be hidden underneath the patina of our own ideological disenchantment with modernism?

The curators of this pavilion believe it is the latter. These buildings represent a cultural resource that is too precious to destroy; if given a second chance, they will surprise us with their unique spatial, programmatic, and social potential. The aim of the exhibition is therefore to help the audience, through architectural representations of the interiors and exteriors of the four buildings, discover the uncanny beauty of structures that, while they look like ruins today, are nothing but treasures in disguise. (curatorial text via)
photo via


May 14, 2014

Otherness | Misc. Projects of the Week

#otherness series continues this week with these projects: rendering spatialities & sound.

Rendering SPATIALITY//

1. The Skyliner by Factory Fifteen.

2. Internet Machine (trailer): A multi-screen film about the invisible infrastructures of the internet.

3. IMACHINARIUMA universe with its own set of rules.

SOUND spatialization//

4. Calx

5. Scave

6. Ultrasonic Theremin: Demo.

7. Spatium Overview: Tools for sound spatialization.

spatium.overview from Rui Penha on Vimeo.


May 13, 2014

To Become Other, To Become New, To Survive Absolute Uncertainty | To Live New Singularities

** excerpts from cache's earth moves have inspired a personal reading of 'framing territories' (as thinking scapes in acting and reacting to what's around us and what we think we know)

It all comes down to how you frame 'things'.
What you choose to include and exclude.
Inside and outside are notions devoid of meaning.
The frame selects because it eliminates the tendency for evasion.

'Things' are not stable. They undergo variations, giving rise to new possibilities of seeing.
'Things' are images not pictures.
We see 'things' as functions of actions in and reactions to a milieu.
But since such reactions are not automatic or deterministic and include 'zones of indetermination' from which unexpected movement might come, images involve what transpires in the intervals or disparities between 'things.'
They are connected through a logic where the whole is not given but always open to variation, as new things are added or new relations made, creating new continuities out of such intervals or disparities.
In this unstable dynamic world, 'things' are therefore no longer defined by fixed divisions between inside and outside.
Rather this division itself comes to shift or move as outside forces cause internal variations or as internal variations create new connections with the outside.
In this way we see that 'things' belong to a dynamic rather than a static milieu.



The inclusion is a 'realization of the possible'.
The exclusion is the 'actualization of the virtual'.
One is redundant and the other creative.
The first operates by principles of limitation and resemblance.
The other operates by differentiation, divergence, and creation.

For framing 'things' always involves, at least potentially, the possibility of deframing, where what is internal discovers a relation to what is external in such a way as to open it up to the outside.

So, it all comes down to how you frame 'things'.
The imaginary line/wall/curtain/fence/tower/mountain/water/horizon we draw around 'things':

- to define 'things' and then let them define us,
- to believe we can frame 'things', that our way is the right way, the only way
- even though in this world, we are reminded everyday of the impossibility of this enclosure.

This is how we see 'things', as a picture not as an image.
We choose to accept and allow the existence of what's inside the frame.
The well marked barriers of the frame keep us safe from the fear of its bigness, the actual impossibility to enclose it.
Do we really know what 'things' are? How they become?
Our dismissal shows we don't care to.

We have shielded ourselves from further exploration of potential uncertainty and exciting new possibilities of seeing.

We choose to include.
With each inclusion, we exclude.
We exclude the curiosity of 'things'.
We exclude the imagination of 'things'.
We exclude the inspiration from 'things'.
We exclude new forms of singularities.

We ought to not use the frame as a leash, allowing only enough rope to hang ourselves in redundancy.

The frame is anticipation


Release the leash.
Become other.
Become new.
Survive absolute uncertainty.

Fully explore 'things'.
Live new singularities.

** What are these 'things'? 
All of us.
All of what we are.
All of what we claim to be.
All of what we can offer.
All of what has made us.
All of what we inhabit.
All of what we destroy.
All of what we inherit.
All of what we leave behind.
All of what we learn, misunderstand, take for granted, angrily project, and (hopefully) re-learn.

All of the passive-aggressive humor we use to pat ourselves on the back for cleverly manipulating a latent refusal to face the bleakness of a conversation or topic head on.

All of what we release to the world openly on the airwaves or as underground whispers, without once turning around and directly saying it to the other (wo)man. 

All of our destructive mentality that follows the oh so great disruptive ideology

One generation after another of somewhat disruptive ideologies that follow the same destructive agenda toward the previous, the other and all visionary opponents. 
Opponents as in idea opposition, not fully blown combatant. 
Plague and War should be fought. Not each other.

Each generation that (thinks it) knows more than the previous, dismisses (maybe rightfully so) the incapacity/incapability that has masked the latter's ignorance and corruption. 
This newbie generation that in its revolutionary manifest shows willingness to change, potential to explore, talent to break free from past mistakes, refusal to cater to political associations and powerful patrons. 
This generation that wants to be so alternative, so closer to the Western standards and expectations, that has been educated and (somewhat) raised abroad.
It now refuses to listen to anyone else. 

Anyone else that has the same dreams and goals and wants the same break from past mistakes. 
Anyone who is a peer but has stayed away. 
Anyone who is an old friend and has lived the same obstacle(d), annexed, poor childhood. 
Anyone with a different idea. 
Different way of doing things. 
Different way of acting on 'things'. 
Different way of laughing with, constructively or destructively criticizing 'things'. 
Different way of framing 'things.' 
Anyone else that inherently wants the same 'thing' (outcome). 
To be a better (big brother) generation to our youth. 
To not repeat the same destructive way of ruining our resources. 
To encourage change through disruptive thinking, making, talking through, receiving, and educating the rest.
Who's this generation and who is anyone else
It is all of us
And the (participatory or even the unaware) rest. 

These 'things' are our spatialities
How we frame them. 
How we build our society, culture, community, and value. 
A mature change doesn't stop at just a paradigm shift
Our goal should not only be about proving to the previous generation how much (more) we know or how awesomely popular our events are. 
It has to be about how we are changing 'things': 
in our thinking, in our approach, in the lasting impact of our efforts. 

As a generation, we need to be a community (after all our goal is the same) where each of us can bring in new singularities in order to create new continuities and responsibilities for the next generation to follow. 
How will they look up to us if there is no lasting change? 

Change should not be stopped and renewed with each national election, and what we inherit from the previous generation should not be claimed obsolete. Let's not be redundant in repetition but unleash our creative capacity to anticipate its growth potential beyond a single generation.

Let's not (only) include ourselves and exclude our public. 
Not again.


May 10, 2014

A Few Good [Words] | Excerpts

Words - nomadic in their periphery, parasitic in their delay. 

How far do they have to go before losing sovereign ground (originality) and become absently common?

Black on white, written whispers that shadow walls.

(and again) below please find a few of my far fetched (weekend-edition) thoughts expressed through others' (two separate instances of) shouting words: 
Context be damned, right?! Devil [Sarcasm ensues...Angel
Well, at least these words can hold their own weight.

1.  A Few Good Men. [my edit]
J: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You don't want the truth, because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man! I would rather you just said "thank you", and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!
2. Raise shit - A poem by Bud Osborn [my edit]

the single weapon we wield

was the word

in our own community
our existence as a distinct community
seems to be drawing to a close
our position may be compared
to a solitary tree in an open space
where all the forest trees around have been prostrated
by a furious tornado”

we have become a community of prophets
rebuking the system
and speaking hope and possibility into situations
of apparent impossibility
and this is what we speak and live
with our words our weapons

our words
like bolts of lightning in a dark night
lighting our way
our words
like tears like rain like cries like hail from our hearts
feeling with each other in our suffering for each other
our words
angry as thunder exploding in the ears of those
who would ignore or dismiss or inflict upon us
what they in their ignorance think is best for us
our words defiant as streetkids in a cop’s face
our words
brilliant and beautiful as the rainbow I saw
spanning our streets
our words
of resistance and comfort and commitment
like mountains
our words
prophetic on behalf of the hard-pressed poor

our words
buttons tshirts fliers inserts newsletters pamphlets
posters spraypaint slogans stickers placards speeches
interviews essays poetry songs letters chalks paints

for as one prophet said
“when all is dark the murderer leaves his bed
to kill the poor and oppressed”

our words
to block the murderers’ paths

our words and our presence create
a strange and profound unity
outraged at each other
disappointing each other
misinterpreting each other
reacting against each other
resenting each other
unhealed wounds dividing us
when to be about unity
is to be caught in a crossfire
of conflicting ambitions understandings and perspectives

still our words and presence create
a strange and profound and strong unity
as in memory of
the long hard nerve-wracking battles we’ve fought

besieged and beleaguered
strung-out and dissipated
running on constant low grade burn-out fever
meetings and meetings and meetings
a dozen fronts to fight at the same time
deal with one and a dozen more appear
another dehumanizing media story
a hundred needs crying out all at once
a hundred individuals with emergencies crying for a response
sirens and sirens and sirens
construction noise
automobile mayhem
a disabled population
a poor and ill population
up against globalization
pressure cooker emotional atmosphere
excruciating questions and dilemmas
so much happens so fast

how much compromise?
how to organize?
where to fight?

more bodies on the sidewalks and in the alloys and parks
space and places for poor people shrinking
and the ambiguities of advocacy
the rumours
the well-founded paranoias
the political manipulations
exploitations confusions deliberate obfuscations
and seductions of the gentrification system
the backroom deals somewhere else
in office towers and government offices
meetings and more meetings
and yet
beneath the ostensible reason
for attending another goddamned meeting
is that which truly holds us together
holds and has held every real community together
taking on the consequences of a system producing
more wounded
more damaged
more excluded
more refugees
more unemployed and never-to-be-employed

words and courage and love and hope and unity
if only we had
the means for self-determination

sounds familiar literal

and that’s just it
the necessity for heeding
the prophetic blast and rallying cry

raise shit

to raise shit is to actively resist
and we resist with our presence
with our words
with our love
with our courage

we resist
person by person
square foot by square foot
room by room
building by building
block by block

we resist
because we are a community

we are all that stands between our vast community of thousands
and those who would
replace it with greed
the singular leadership we have here
where it is said we lack
a single dynamic individual leader
but we have
the most powerful leader there is
the most effective leader we can have
in this grave situation
our community
our community itself
has emerged as our leader

and it is to our credit that this is so
for it is from our
prophetic courageous conflictual and loving unity
that our community
raises shit
and resists.


May 8, 2014

Quick Thoughts On Slow Efforts

Watching the video below, a few thoughts and questions come to mind. 

What is the landscape of post-communist industry, more specifically chemical [or any for that matter] industry in Albania
Is it in use? Where? When? How? 
Who has control over it? 
What's its relationship with the 'Sustainability' Movement we're pushing for? 
What is the process from making to destruction dumping the unwanted
How do these dumping sites affect the city/life today? Its landscape? [here]
What about the future? How are they designed (if at all)? Can their present (state of being) sustain their future? 
What is their infrastructure
How does their artificiality co-exist with the natural bodies of water, land, air and civilization?
How can we start thinking about 'zones of exclusions', post-human error sites and their futures? 
What if this context was Gërdec? What is the future of tragic abandoned sites?

Of Monsters and Men.
Future city/life will grow from a ruined history.
Humanity will be the Other.
Damaged as Species. 
Timid in Overexposure. 
Mis/scaled in Habitation. 
Quarantined in Contagiousness. 

So, in our attempts to design the [future] smart city, let's not focus [only] on technological advances but the possibility of [its] destruction and [re]mutation from a failed relationship between man and machine. 

A Mis/communication. 
A caprice. 
An accident. 
A coup.
Incompetent Bureaucracy.
Fear that leads to Consequential Possibilities. 
An awareness that covers [more] ground beyond self [interest].



May 5, 2014

Featured Artist | Ergin Zaloshnja @MIZA

MIZA Galeri
presents // prezanton:

by // nga
Ergin Zaloshnja

May 7 - June 7, 2014 //7 Maj - 7 Qershor, 2014
Opening // Hapja @19:00 hr

 Ekspozita e Ergin ZaloshnjёsDe Ludii” sintetizon me dashje hapёsirёn duale tё Galerisё MIZA pёr tё tejçuar matanё dyerve tё saj njё situatё onirike, “site specific”, tashmё tё pёrthithur dhe tё asimiluar prej sё pёrditshmes. Me natyrshmёrine e lojёrave fёminore publiku do tё tranzitojё cakun imanent tё horizontit tё eventeve artistike ku ankthi karakterizon shkrirjen dhe shkartisjen e racionales me joracionalen. Koherenca e pazakontё artistike e aktit dhe objekteve, pёrpos artikulimit taksonomik nё hapёsirёn e pёrzgjedhur, i lihen nё dorё ekskluzivisht gjykimit tё publikut. - Romeo Kodra