Oct 25, 2013

Open Invitation | The Times of Art CFP

**Call for Papers**
for the Interdisciplinary Conference

June 6-8, 2014
National Gallery
Tirana, Albania

“The Times of Art” conference (along with an exhibition) is organized by the Department of Eagles — Transcontinental Research and co-hosted by online academic journal continent.

Those interested in submitting a proposal should send a 2 paragraph abstract to and by December 6, 2013.

Confirmed participants: Maeve Connolly, Boris Groys, Mihnea MircanPeter Osborne, Anri Sala.
The last three decades have witnessed a large increase in moving image artworks, particularly in exhibitions like the Venice Biennale, documenta, etc., but not only. The concept of repetition has played an important role in the production and the reception of these works. It has also taken many forms. Notable examples of the centrality and variety include Francis Alÿs’ work with the concepts of rehearsal and re-enactment as variations of repetition and Stan Douglas’ work with combinatorial mechanisms in works likeInconsolable Memories (2005), where repetitions of a different order and scale simultaneously constitute and conceal one another.
Not least amongst the forms that repetition has taken in contemporary moving image art is that of cyclical repetition in time as embodied in the mechanism of continuous looping that almost always characterizes the display of these works. Continuous looping and the modes of reception (of the artwork) that it affords tend to undermine the evental character of contemporary moving image art qua time-based art. On the one hand, it makes the work available at ‘all’ times; on the other hand, but related to the first, it opens up the relations between the images that make up the sequence that is being repeated to all manner of reconfigurations, so that any image could come before and after any other image. As such, its ubiquity in the gallery or museum environment raises a number of questions concerning the borders of the work of art and the imaginary of the “full” artwork, the concepts of time and historicity, the art space as non-space and looped time-based artworks as a point of departure of thinking non-time and recent attempts at theorizing what has been called ‘art-based time’.
Considered proposals may engage, but need not be limited to, themes such as:
  • Repetition and (in) art and (the experience of) duration;
  • Non-places and non-times, the disarticulation of time and space in gallery and museum environments;
  • Time and history, the tension between revolutionary concepts of history and traditional conceptions of time;
  • The limits of the work of art, engagement with the infinite and timelessness;
  • The distributive unity of the work of art and the imaginary constitution of the “full” artwork;
  • The everyday experience of time and the experience of time in time-based (particularly moving image) artworks/exhibitions of time-based (particularly moving image) art;
  • The relationship between technology, medium-specificity, or lack thereof, and time in contemporary moving image art;
  • Contemporary moving image art as a point of departure for thinking problems of temporality of contemporary art more generally.
For more information, go to their website.


Oct 24, 2013

Featured Exhibit | What Do You Make of This?

 AIRLAB residency program 2013 final exhibition 

Anila Rubiku (Albania/Italy)
Wendelin Pressl (Austria)

October 28, 2013 @19:00hr

In the framework of Anila Rubikus project Albania, Women, Justice and the Law a panel discussion will take place @7.30pm. Policy makers and civil society actors will discuss the rights and conditions of women and the role of artist as social catalyst.

“Albania, Women, Justice and the Law” is a community art project held in Tirana with women prisoners at Ali Demi Prison 325 (in collaboration with British psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Adams).

Today, most of the incarcerated women in Albania are behind bars for the murder of their husbands. Motive? They have been victims of extraordinary violence and abuse for many years.

How can we increase social awareness on domestic violence, council the victims, and educate women (& men) on their (human) rights?

This project uses art and psychology to explore the weakening effect domestic violence against women and children has on the Albanian society. Through art and psychology, these incarcerated women are able to express the most intimate moments of their suffering experiences. What happens to them? What happens to their families when they're behind bars?  


Oct 21, 2013

Featured Event | Tirana International Film Festival 2013

Starting Wednesday, October 23 (-31), 2013 for a whole week, Tirana will be hosting the biggest cinematographic event of the year, the most distinguished Film Festival in Albania

TIRANA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (TIFF) is the first and only international cinema festival of its kind in Albania. Created in 2003, this extraordinary cultural event takes place under the auspices of the Albanian National Center for Cinematography (QKK).

In its 11 edition, more than 1200 films from 91 countries are competing. This year's competition features distinct sections.

1. Feature Film Competition
2. Short Film Competition
3. DIGIART, Television Short Film Competition
4. Albanian Short Film Competition

TIFF will be screening features and short films, including fiction, documentary, animation and experimental. Open to all filmmakers around the globe, TIFF will showcase new cinematic work by well-established filmmakers, as well as projects by emerging talents such as students and young artists. There is a real cinematographic dialog happening during TIFF days, not only on-screen but off-screen as well, with scheduled classes/seminars and of course plenty of public gatherings and open discussions. 

You can find more info about TIFF on their website and daily updates on their facebook page. Check out last year's edition here.


Oct 18, 2013

Featured Presentation & Exhibit | Besnik Aliaj, Dean of Polis University & AlbaniaNOW

Earlier this month, Dean of Polis University in Tirana, Dr. Besnik Aliaj spoke at Lawrence Technological University about the condition of Architecture and Urban Planning in Albania from Communism to today's (Post)Modernity. 

** [In my opinion, a condition of quasi-futurity where multiple utopias struggle to fight a lingering and somewhat symbolic asymmetric civic warfare, that materializes in an urban setting as a political power game for the 1% and survival to make ends meet (more of a fear to live) for the 99%. 
The era of appalling architecture, towers built to satisfy fetish appetites of the greedy has plateaued. It is over
Slums (or informal settlements) have increasingly claimed territory in the outskirts of cities, slowly gaining more power (of a latent kind) that is based not on removal but on transformation of these communities, thus shifting the articulation of urban territory and changing the civic format. 
So the questions to ask are: Are we there yet? What is the future of this paradigm shift? How will it manifest itself in urban form and engagement?**

Check out the lecture below:

The lecture was followed by the exhibit AlbaniaNOW at Studio Couture in Detroit.

Here are a few snapshots I took from both events: 


Oct 16, 2013

Otherness | Misc. Projects of the Week

Otherness this week features two projects that create/reproduce installation environments that rely on the element of 'social participation'. The first one does so in the process of making the art piece and the second one in programming a performance. One is very hands on and the other technological programmed. Take a look!!

this large scale aerial image looks like a blown up photograph from a distance, but it is in fact a 56-panel sculptural mosaic weighing 3-tons, made from natural stone, red brick, ceramic

You can watch the process of making these pieces below:

performance, two-channel video, flat screens, metal, wood, plastic, 
digital print on canvas, digital print on vinyl, fluorescent lights, plastic flowers.

You can watch the installation video below:


Oct 15, 2013

The Street Photography of Maciej Dakowicz | Improbable but Coincidental Shots of Far-Reaching Places

In his travels, Polish street photographer Maciej Dakowicz, has artfully captured over 5,500 candid street shots through vastly different cultures. These are improbable moments as well as visual coincidences, both amusing and terrifying

The journey has taken him to India, Yemen, Turkey, Bangladesh, Tanzania, (and many others) but he's also been to Albania. The moments captured there seem flagrant and banal of daily street life, but in the context of the rest of his travel gallery there's a coincidental pattern of resemblance. The one of a kind fleeting moments become visual coincidences across geographies and cultures.

Check out his visual library on Flickr and Facebook.

Albania: Album 1, Album 2

photo credit: Maciej Dakowicz
photo credit: Maciej Dakowicz
photo credit: Maciej Dakowicz
photo credit: Maciej Dakowicz


Open Invitation | Urban Revitalization of Mass Housing Competition

UN-Habitat has announced the International Competition
Urban Revitalization of Mass Housing, to address the issues of mass housing through proposals to revitalize a mass housing locality in one’s respective city. 
 UN-Habitat is promoting a new urban planning paradigm that calls for planning in advance at the scale of expected development of cities with a better integration of urban uses - housing, business, retail, recreation, education, agricultural, social and cultural activities, amongst others, in an environmentally sustainable manner. The aim of this paradigm shift is to achieve adequate urban densities to minimize the impact of urban sprawl, improve mobility and reduce greenhouse emissions and pollution through decreased motorized traffic, increased social interaction, and boosted local economic development. The ultimate goal is to attain the social, economic, environmental and cultural sustainability of cities.

  • Urban Design
  • Economic Stimulation
  • Social Integration
  • Environmental Improvement
  • Governance and Partnership


For this development-oriented competition, participants will need to contact the owners of the housing stock to jointly select a typical mass housing complex for revitalization. The scope includes:
  • Research: Analysis of national, city and selected mass housing locality on issues related to sustainability.
  • Proposal: Solutions for revitalization of mass housing by addressing the issues identified in the analysis.
  • Policy: Concepts and policy implications of the proposals to facilitate international exchanges.

Eligible to Participate.
  • University students currently studying at an undergraduate, postgraduate or doctoral level.
  • Recent graduates after the 31st of December, 2010.

 In cities and localities of countries in the following seven regions:
  • Arab States
  • Asia and the Pacific
  • Countries in Transition (Eastern Europe and Central Asia)
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Western Europe and other OECD Countries (Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, USA etc.)
  • Sub- Saharan Africa

  • Competition start date: September 15th, 2013
  • Deadline for submission: January 15th, 2014
  • Jury evaluation: February & March 2014
  • Announcement of winners: World Urban Forum 7, April 2014


A prize will be given to the best competitor or competing team from each of the seven  geographic regions to provide some seed funding to initiate the implementation of the winning proposal in the respective city and locality.

See the competition announcement and guidelines for more details.


Oct 14, 2013

Petrol Stations by 51N4E | A Monumental Approach to Public Space in Tirana

**This article was originally published on uncube blog - building of the week on October 10, 2013.



The chance to build a petrol station is a rare opportunity for an architecture firm, since the handful of multinationals controlling the market tend to prefer blanketing the globe with their standard corporate readymades. Hence it was quite a treat for the Belgian office 51N4E to be asked to design two of them in Tirana. Andreas Ruby took a road trip to investigate.

Albania is one of the least likely places in Europe where you would expect to come across contemporary architecture. As a totalitarian regime in the mould of Stalinism, and later Maoism, Albania existed in complete isolation during the cold war and was sealed tight even against its neighbouring Eastern block countries. When the regime collapsed in 1991, the country stumbled straight into a neoliberal economy and it wasn’t long before the ensuing culture shock was reflected in the transformation of urban developments.

Private vs. Collective

After decades of forced collectivism, people understandably jumped on the bandwagon of late-capitalism. Private ownership became de rigeur: my house, my garden, my car. In contrast, the idea of public space was inexorably contaminated by memories of military parades and choreographed party rallies. As a result, over the past twenty years most new urban developments in Albania focus almost entirely on satisfying the spatial needs of private investors – and their mantra is: the only good space is sellable space. Nevertheless, below the radar of this raw real estate rationale, Tirana has still managed to develop a great culture of public space, one that is embedded in the everyday activities of its citizens and the city’s infectious street life.

In view of commercial urban inhibitions, 51N4E saw their petrol station designs as opportunities to generate public space as contraband, a facility that helps to fuel the city as well as its automobiles. In both designs, the architects have realised this strategy in two quite different ways.

The Kastrati Station


In the Kastrati filling station (Kastrati being a common Albanian surname), completed 2010, 51N4E have pulled the street space over onto the plot of the filling station, much as you might drag the carpet of your living room into the hallway. A long wall of yellowish bricks leads from the road in a generous concave curve deep into the plot and out again to the road on the other side. Where the wall meets the far end of the plot, a massive blue steel roof cantilevers breathtakingly back towards the street, sheltering the petrol pumps placed underneath.

The resulting set-up is a careful blend of unique spatial scenarios: the monumental drive-in curve recalls the carriage drop-off point of a baroque castle, the roof evokes the heroic prowess of modernist engineering and the long brick wall (a material rarely used in Tirana) is reminiscent if Dutch town squares. 

Indeed the Kastrati station gives less of a feeling that you are at a petrol station souped up with some special spatial effects, than one of being in an urban square where you can also happen to buy petrol. This scenario is enhanced by an inviting opening in the wall, which leads to an informal market at the back of the block. A conventional petrol station would suck you in from the street and spit you out again into the traffic after refuelling, but 51N4E’s Kastrati station makes you actually curious to explore the urban fabric hidden behind.

The Europetrol Station


The same kind of urban reasoning drives the design of 51N4E’s Europetrol station (2005-2006) situated along the biggest approach road to Tirana from the airport. Held by three supports, a monumental steel cupola floats above a small clutch of petrol pumps. Standing beneath it, you get an intense sensation of being sheltered, a feeling you might expect from a chapel perhaps, but not something as banal as a petrol station. It is a calculated collision of scales and atmospheres indicating that, once again, this project is about transforming a functional environment to provide asylum for a public space that otherwise would have no place in the city.

Europetrol’s layout also clearly departs from conventional filling stations. It is situated on a corner site and the small service and café building is located against the small perpendicular road, providing an actual street façade – petrol station buildings are almost always situated away from the road – and a small car wash structure marks the far end of the plot. Together, they frame a small square crowned and accentuated by the tall, hovering cupola that puts the finishing touch to the estrangement from the normal iconography of this program. As you drive by, the structure clearly looks nothing like a petrol station, rather, an inconspicuous monument to public space, which happens to contain a filling station as well.

Andreas Ruby is the co-founder of
Ruby Press specialising in books on architecture, art and other cultural practices.


Oct 11, 2013

SQFT | Matching Pop-ups with Idle Spaces

The online platform SQFT [square foot] connects local creative entrepreneurs/start-ups to temporary/short-term leases, which would activate underutilized spaces and revitalize the neighborhood by bringing a diverse array of pop-up experiences to attract people and businesses - commercial development as well as employment opportunities - as a strategy for long-term urban planning processes.

New Ideas in Old Spaces:

Idle Spaces // Pop-up City // Communities in Transition //
Idle Workforce // Business Growth // Online Commerce //

Would something like this work in your neighborhood?
If you know of or have been part of similar community based initiatives. let us know.


[Re]Visiting the Favelas | [Re]Painting Urbanism

Haas & Hahn are back at it in Rio and they want your help.

Eight years after painting the first façade, see how the project has evolved:

Check out their Kickstarter campaign!!

Maybe we should take this opportunity to open back up this conversation 
in regards to the city of Tirana

What is the shelf life of painting urbanism? 

What are the urban, social and economic implications [short-term], 
and the lingering effects on future city growth models?


Oct 10, 2013

SPK [ICS] | Balade Qytetse [A Civic Ballad]

To commemorate the 102th birthday anniversary of 
the famous Albanian poet and writer Migjeni,
on October 13, 20136:00-8:00 PM at Pedonalja in Tirana,
is organizing a big cultural celebration: A CIVIC BALLAD.

The program includes performances, poetry, projections, music, installations, etc..
There will also be an open discussion on the importance of an INDEPENDENT CULTURAL SCENE in Albania.

Ne jubilarin e Migjenit
13 Tetor 2013, ora 18.00-20.00 tek PedonaljaTiranë 
manifestimin kulturor NJË BALADË QYTETSE.

Programi është i mbushur me performanca, poezi, projeksione, muzikë, instalacione, etj..
Gjithashtu do të ketë një diskutim të hapur mbi rëndësinë e SKENES SE PAVARUR KULTUROREShqipëri.

‘‘ Na të birtë e shekullit të ri,
që plakun e lamë në shejtnin e tij.....
I gjeni një qytet Migjenit
Një shkëputje, vetëm një shkëputje çasti nga jeta në të cilën të gjitha ndjenjat u shitën për bukë dhe për pare.
Ja ku jemi, ende pas një shekulli nga Shekulli i ri i poetikës Migjeniane, me të njëjtin apel ndaj ‘vullneteve të ndrydhuna’, nën të njëtën frikë mos zhytemi prap në pellgun e mjerimit - të jemi një thumb i ngulun ndër trutë e njerzis. Nëmosqoftë, një endje shekullore pothuaj nën të njëjtën gjendje qerthullore.
Atë fatthënie-fatkobësi çka te vepra e Milloshit sot do ta emërtonim si profeci, e përbën ajo që realiteti ynë e bart si fatkeqësi faktike, të cilën e kemi gatitur vetë, bash ashtu siç ai nuk do ta donte kurrsesi.
As përvjetori i mbi njëqind i lindjes së Migjenit nuk e anullon thirrmën e tij dhe nuk i gjegjet dot pikëpyetjes O dhimbë krenare ndër vargjet e lira/ vallë a do prekish kënd ndër ndjesina? apo do vdesish si vdes gjethi në vjeshtë? Frymëzim i em i pafat / që vjen e më djeg mu në gji / për kë po më flet? Për kë të shkruej?Kushedi, mund të hasnit diku një qytet të urbanizuar edhe pa asnjë poet, por s’do të gjenit dot askund një poet urban pa qytet. Si Migjeni modern në një vend ku ende s’ka qytet të mirëfilltë dhe qytetari mirëfilli. Edhe një shekull pas lindjes së tij dhe optimizmit rinor të kangës ‘na të birtë e shekullit të ri’.
Fakti i shqueshëm tashmë që Milloshi nuk pat paraardhës të drejpërdrdrejtë, dhe nuk solli dot as pasardhës migjenian përgjatë shekullit të tij e veçon atë jo thjesht si një ishull letrar, por edhe një fenomen kulturor-artistik singular. Porse, në dallim nga të tjerët para dhe pas tij, Migjeni pati bashkëkohës të drejtpërdrdrejtë në botën e kulturës dhe artit modern.Askënd nga letërsia jonë kjo hapësirë nuk dot ta pranonte më legjitimisht se Migjenin në lidhje me kushtin thelbësor të modernitetit, atë çka sot e cilësojmë si bashkëkohësia. Sepse askush si ai nuk është vendosur aq sinkron me kohën dhe kontemporanen.
Askush si ai, nuk u atashua dot tek ai shpërthim modernizmi i rrymave dhe gjinive artistike njëkohësisht me arritjet botërore, ku simbolizmi si rebelim i ngritur në rrafshin estetik dhe ekzistencializmi me turrjen dhe kalljen te vetja e ndërgjejgja u bënë dy shinat që përshkojnë gjithë artin e shekullit XX, e njëherit janë edhe binarët e veprës së Migjenit.
Ai është modeli emblematik i të qenit shkrimtar artist, ashtu si shekulli i tij do të kategorizonte Kafkën, Kamynë, Beketin e të tjerë.
Moderniteti i tij, në zhanret e ndërmjetshme e jo kategorike që rrok njëherësisht poezinë, prozën poetike, skicën letrare, tregimin shkurtër, e deri me titujt novelëzë, baladë qytetse, kangë skandaloze, melodi e këputun, kangë që s’kuptohet e ka afinitetin me artet, imazhin, skicimin, vizatimin, që e bëjnë lëndën të ngjasojë edhe me një tablo apo fragment, një akuarel i beftë ose grafikë, gjer dhe elemente të fotografisë, dizajnit dhe tabloidit kinematografik, instalacionit apo dhe performancës prej arti të angazhuar, që ndërhyn te socialja dhe shqetësimi i kohës dhe komunitetit.Miq krijues dhe dashamirës arti, iniciatorë të lëvizjes “Skena e Pavarur Kulturore” që ju dëshironi ta shpallni në jubilarin e Migjenit, rasti j’ua sjelltë për mbarë! Ju më kërkoni të sugjeroj në një faqe të vetme një titull për eventin e kësaj dite, një moto nën të e për të, mandej një skicë të shkurtër dhe ndonjë ide projekti në vijim.
Mirëpo, për ta kryer këtë lypset një ekonomi fjale dhe një distilim spikame saqë më mbetet të thërras në skenë vetë Migjenin, mjeshtrin e vocërr të sublimes therrëse madhështore. Kësisoj, po ju propozoj në intimitet dhe me zë të ulët e mes nesh ‘njenën nga ato’ projekte me shance suksesi dhe premisa pranimi, nëmos sot shekullin tjetër!
Faza e parë: I lypni pasunarëve të rinj të qytetit ose asoj mishi të kënaqun të shtetit, nën refrenin zotni, të lutem zotni, më fal ndoj send... sa për të bërë një shtatore migjeniane fëminore që t’i përngjajë Milloshit, poetit qëndindfaqësh të madhështisë së letërsisë minore.Faza e dytë: Nxirrnie këtë shtatore të ngrime në qytet dhe i kërkoni ndihmë bujarisë së teknologjisë qytetse ta pajisë atë me një burim zëri diku në trup, ku të jetë incizuar apeli për
një shkëputje, vetëm një shkëputje çasti nga jeta në të cilën të gjitha ndjenjat u shitën për bukë dhe për pare.
Faza e tretë: Merrni qimen e derrit mbi të cilën u ngul trumcaku i vetvrarë i shoqërisë, kur pasi cicrroi një herë, cicrroi dy herë, cicërroi tri herë, mandej një crrr e gjatë e plot mallëngjim që ishte porosia e tij e fundit, testament i dhimbave të tij, kërcej prej brenës dhe ra mbi një qime të derrit ..
Lëshojeni këtë qime mbi maketin me lajle-lule të projektit urban të qind vjetëve të ardhëshme të kryeqytetit, lëreni të valvitet si flamur nga një lartësi sa një bojë e sjellte era trumcakun rreth qimes, si gjeli metalik në majë t’oxhaqeve tona, atbotë kur frynte veri...
Dhe aty ku qimja të bjerë mes ngrehinave kallpe të maketit, si ti vijë rasti e të fryjë era, mu aty i gjeni një pikë qytet migjenit, poetit të qytetit... dhe nguliteni shtatoren... deri në acarin e ardhshëm.E nëqoftëse as kjo nuk është e mundur, mbështeteni shtatoren ku të mundni, dhe ngulnie një pllakat në trupin e saj si porosi ose hajmali për brezin e ardhshëm...Merrnie dhe çonie në qytet kët shtatore. Vendosnie në një shesh! Dhe si përmendore kushtonia ndokujt! Kushtonia atij që ka më shumë merita për kët vend! Po, ndoj ministrit o deputetit, o ndokujt tjetër... e në rasë se nuk gjeni ndonjë njeri që ka merita të mjaftueshme, atëherë kushtonia atij që ka merita ma pak: perëndis klasike.
E paturpshme, t’i shtosh diç tjetër Bukurisë që vret, porse ja që jemi një shekull më pas dhe plot frikë e në rrezik nga dorëzimi i pashpresë!
Prandaj, shoqni, po deshe të mos lozin në kurriz tand ndrro format. Hiqi bragashat. Dhe vërtet ky kolektivitet shoqni që po don sot të bëhet shoqëri por ende s’ia ka mbërrit dot, në fakt ka nisë me i ndërru format e me i heqë bragashat. Si? Në tri trajta të reja që përbëjnë seicila një risi: Ose duke i zhveshur e riveshur mbrapsh dhe nxjerrë në dukje anën e brendshme, ose duke i veshur në kokë dhe lënë në pah gjithë çka më parë e mbulonin, ose duke i bërë bragashat balonë për sikterisje mjerane prej mjerimit neomigjenian.’’ -Krenar Zejno


Cast YOUR Vote | Balkans Arts & Culture Fund Pre-Selected Projects

Balkans Arts & Culture Funds has selected and just announced the 12 finalists for the Western Balkans Collaboration Projects in Arts and Culture (WBCP). Out of 115 proposals received, this pre-selected group of finalists will go through a second round of reviews by outside advisors, before a winner is announced at the end of the month.  

BAC is also introducing a public vote (which is great) that will help decide the winner if there is a tie in the experts' evaluation. We're rooting for the Co-PLAN Institute for Habitat Development (Albania) proposed project The Initiator, the Artist, his Advocate and the Urbanist (IAAU) - a platform for culture and city-making. 

Take a look at the pre-selected projects and VOTE here:

Make sure to VOTE before the end of October, 2013!!!