Nov 25, 2018

Albania celebrates | The Culture of Independence and the Unmaking (i.e. Redesigning) of Skanderbeg’s legacy

MVRV design proposals in Tirana, screenshots via

A state-run institution whose disposition is composed of half-truths, and whose sensibility and form is in the habit of wearing — thus bearing — only two masks: its own take on (tacky) kitsch, a mannerism not to be confused with vernacular, and its public ‘at work’ image that depicts the same short-sightedness of any social media ad campaign, hence an interfaciality laced with insecurities and conceit — which it then promotes as CULTURE — can be very telling, namely in revealing its agency as the inability to grasp and accept the shared reality it imposes its ‘legitimacy’ on, thus pretending to educate those living in it so to ‘cultivate’ it; when, in fact, it is this legitimacy that gets cultivated to become its main legacy — CULTURE.
The answer to the question What does CULTURE (have to) celebrate, then? is quite simple: self-preservation, namely its ability to suspend a shared reality in favor of a hegemonic one that hangs suspended over it as to cast the deepest shadow with the blindest of lights (i.e. half-truths), so to render people’s perception and consciousness obsolete, namely their bearings of and in any reality.

MVRV design proposals in Tirana, screenshots via

Cultural Hegemony deceives people into ceding their faculties, thus freedom, in favor of a universal reality hinged on this exact cognitive disorientation, which it then proceeds to stabilize — i.e. manipulate into acceptance — through erasure (of their shared past) and abstraction (of its continued imposition on them), thus normalizing specter as a totality where a potent panoptic gaze blinds lives into spectrality. Such a celebration then becomes nothing more than an omnipresent surveillance, better known as CULTURAL NORM.

The survival instinct from the loss of one reality persists as consumption of and over-indulgence in the other, with neither realities being fully grasped. Such a living, at the edge of two unknowns, might as well be resignified as a life in and of unknown unknowns — though the edge itself marks a duration that is persistently historical. Hegemony limits the chances and choices of an intelligible reality by reducing this duration — i.e. mental health — to a coping mechanism. So power becomes the only intelligence able to draw a(ny) distinction — devising the line, the edge, the limit, and even the history of the reality it forcefully offers. A reality that starts as discrimination is then cultivated into a stability, thus becoming the only way of life. As it appears and it is perceived as a ‘stable’ reality, it assumes autonomy, hence responsibility to secure its own duration — i.e. self-preservation and legacy.


As a powerful device (e.g. tool, weapon, mechanism) of enunciation, CULTURE regulated as such works to increase the hegemonic choices of articulation. Hence, the responsibility of CULTURE is indeed to celebrate this stability in order to guard (i.e. surveil) its legacy. In fact, such a celebration seems to be its only agency — i.e. its ethical capability and aesthetic capacity. So, in this year of Skanderbeg, 500 years after his death, it’s not at all shocking, probably even fitting, for the state-run institution of CULTURE to celebrate itself instead.


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