Skanderbeg Year exhibition opens in former dictator’s capital vila

Skanderbeg Year exhibition opens in former dictator’s capital vila

TIRANA, May 16 – The exhibition “Celebrating Europe in Albania: Unicum and Diversity” opened to the public on Friday inside Albania’s former dictator Enver Hoxha’s vila, located in the heart of downtown Tirana but usually closed to the public. In

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Three Albanian score well at Eurovision final

Three Albanian score well at Eurovision final

TIRANA, May 14 – Despite their breathtaking performances, none of the three Albanians representing Albania, Italy and Cyprus respectively won the 2018 Eurovision song contest, the first prize of which was awarded to Israel’s Netta. Eugent Bushpepa’s Mall (Longing) ended

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Award-winning author Amedeo Baçi releases first English book, titled Between Heartaches and Love

Award-winning author Amedeo Baçi releases first English book, titled Between Heartaches and Love

By Nichole Hoffman Award-winning Albanian author Amedeo Baci releases his first novel to an English audience. “Between Heartaches and Love,” was translated into English to share his life story through his impressive novels. Baci’s writing has received three prestigious Albanian

Read Full Article
Music concert for Albania’s women marks Europe Day in Tirana

Music concert for Albania’s women marks Europe Day in Tirana

TIRANA, May 10 – Albania will celebrate Europe Week until May 13 through a number of activities that will take place in more than 12 different locations, all the way from Shkodra in the North to Korca in the South.

Read Full Article
Zeta Gallery (re)connects to the public sphere

Zeta Gallery (re)connects to the public sphere

TIRANA, May 10 – On Friday, May 11, Zeta Gallery will inaugurate a group exhibition examining public space from a perspective of five contemporary artistic positions from Austria — Iris Andraschek & Hubert Lobnig, Gelitin, Werner Reiterer, Anna Meyer, and

Read Full Article
Krzysztof Zanussi Film Week to kick-start in Marubi Academy

Krzysztof Zanussi Film Week to kick-start in Marubi Academy

TIRANA, May 3 – The Academy of Film and Multimedia Marubi will host from May 4 to May 8 the globally renowned Polish film director Maestro Krzysztof Zanussi, who will inaugurate four days of his movie screenings in Tirana. The

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Swedish DJ Joxaren to perform in downtown Tirana

Swedish DJ Joxaren to perform in downtown Tirana

TIRANA, April 27 – Swedish DJ David Giese, known as Joxaren, will be performing Punk, Dub, Hip Hop and Electro music in Tirana this weekend. Joxaren has performed over 500 live music shows in different constellations all over the world

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First Balkan Jazz Showcase edition to gather Balkans’ best jazz musicians

First Balkan Jazz Showcase edition to gather Balkans’ best jazz musicians

TIRANA, April 26 – The capital’s first Balkan Jazz Showcase edition will take place on Sunday and Monday, April 30 and April 31 at the Rogner Hotel, bringing together renowned bands from Albania and Kosovo, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Romania, Greece and

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Albanian Iso-Polyphony Group represents Albania in Brussels’ Balkan Traffic

Albanian Iso-Polyphony Group represents Albania in Brussels’ Balkan Traffic

TIRANA, April 25 – Albania presented its diverse choreographic culture of colors, rhythms and energy stemming from an established European identity in Brussels’ Bozar Hall days after the European Commission unconditionally recommended accession negotiations to open for the country. The

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Tirana’s ground-floor life represents Albania at Venice Biennale of Architecture

Tirana’s ground-floor life represents Albania at Venice Biennale of Architecture

TIRANA, April 24 – Tirana’s ground-floor life will represent Albania at this year’s edition of the Venice Biennale of Architecture through installations and pictures showcasing the capital city’s urban environment, history and tradition though the old Tirana doors as an

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 16 - The exhibition “Celebrating Europe in Albania: Unicum and Diversity” opened to the public on Friday inside Albania’s former dictator Enver Hoxha’s vila, located in the heart of downtown Tirana but usually closed to the public.

In the context of the Pan-National Skanderbeg Year, the General Directory of Archives brings manuscripts and prints from different funds of the Main National Archive dating from 6th century AD to the 19th century. 

[caption id="attachment_137178" align="alignright" width="300"]IMG_4212 picture by: Ema Butka[/caption]

The books and codices previewed are thus in Persian, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Albanian and Osman languages both in handwritten and printed forms. 

The texts’ theme is dominated by theology and the Holy Scriptures, considering the biggest part of books that has managed to reach us today comes from the shelves of God adoring temples and churches.

However, although less in number, the exhibition also contains literary, judicial, philosophical and astronomic scriptures and texts. 

As stated by the exhibition’s own curators, “this variety of cultures, languages ​​and themes is more than common for Balkan Albania. In times of turmoil this worm is used to divide people and countries. Today, in the European context, this variety is the argument that Albanians are an integral part of Europe. The modest libraries of ancient Albania, or the Central State Archives today, naturally inherited such wealth, carrying the Western culture amalgam before the West concept was defined in the West.” 

Although the handwritten and printed books presented in the exhibition don’t cover all historical Middle Age and Renaissance themes and don’t seek to express the analogy of cultural influences to Albania, “they are the remaining elements of a broad cultural mosaic, from which we see fragments of time and place, enough to show the greatness of the past to the public.” 

[caption id="attachment_137177" align="alignleft" width="300"]DSCN9378 Enver Hoxha's former home[/caption]

In addition to the rare manuscripts, visitors were also given the chance to see free of charge Hoxha’s impressive yard at a time the country was struggling with poverty at large under communism and even take a peek at some of the furniture and decoration inside the house otherwise dominated by the beauty of the scriptures. 

The exhibition will remain open until May 20, everyday until 10 pm. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 14 - Despite their breathtaking performances, none of the three Albanians representing Albania, Italy and Cyprus respectively won the 2018 Eurovision song contest, the first prize of which was awarded to Israel’s Netta. 

Eugent Bushpepa’s Mall (Longing) ended up winning 11th place after the judges’ vote, which initially placed him seventh, was counted with the public’s vote. Bushpepa collected a total of 184 points.

Netta, whose song Toy was a potential winner even before the contest took place Saturday night, addressed feminism and gender issues with her performance and received a total of 529 points.

Netta was a poll favorite since the first predictions regarding who the winner would be began. 

The two other Albanians - Eleni Foureira of Cyprus and Ermal Meta of Italy - won second and fifth place, with 436 and 308 points. 

Foureira, meanwhile, was also one of the top three potential winners from what the polls showed before the contest. 

Despite the results, Bushpepa’s performance gave the public immense emotions, while he was congratulated for his voice and interpretation; the song received a maximum of 12 points from Azerbaijan, while Albania awarded its own 12 points to Italy.

Meanwhile, this will be remembered as the Eurovision of Albanians because of the three Albanian-origin participants, who also took a number of pictures together during the contest. 

Cyprus’ Foureira was even the subject of controversy in the Greek parliament, where a right-wing Golden Dawn Party representative accused her of promoting Greater Albania symbols although she was representing Cyprus, because of a picture Bushpepa posted of him and Foureira doing the two-headed eagle sign with their hands.

 
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                    [post_content] => By Nichole Hoffman

Award-winning Albanian author Amedeo Baci releases his first novel to an English audience. “Between Heartaches and Love,” was translated into English to share his life story through his impressive novels. 

Baci’s writing has received three prestigious Albanian literary awards, and now the English-speaking audience can finally start adoring his romantic realism as well. Baci’s saga of novels are written from his personal life stories and “Between Heartaches and Love, released by Page Publishing of New York, is the first of seven trilogies. “Between Heartaches and Love” is a tale of true first love that showcases a vibrant picture of the Albanian lifestyle, culture, and countryside. Readers live through his childhood loves and horrors. The acclaimed author uses his real-life experiences to create a world his audience craves for.

Baçi, who’s pentalingual, possesses five diplomas, including a master’s degree, and boasts 10 certifications in other fields which he earned in Albania and in several other countries throughout Europe. He is one of Albania’s most popular and prolific authors and has penned over 40 published books in his name since he began his literary career at the age of 50.

Baçi says authenticity fuels his work: “This is a long story - as painful as it is exulting. To relive it again while writing it was very painful. When reliving one’s childhood, there is a twist between reality and fantasy, and one may lack the perspective needed for a realistic view of adolescent romantic memories. As the years passed by, my unfulfilled love for the most loving girl I’ve ever met felt more and more like an unstoppable volcanic eruption. I was only able to release the unfulfilled feeling that was left behind from the encumbrance of the past, and the pain and suffering that came with it, by telling the story of my life through my writing. I wanted to replace something lovely with another thing as lovely, where the dilemmas can take concrete forms”.

“The essence of this story lies in the tension between love and heartache. Priorities seem to fall one way or another at times. On one side is compassion, noble and divine because it is unconditional. On the other side is love, which requires something in return,” said Baçi.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 10 - Albania will celebrate Europe Week until May 13 through a number of activities that will take place in more than 12 different locations, all the way from Shkodra in the North to Korca in the South. 

The rich programme, open to the public, has and will continue offering exhibitions on Albania's deep European roots, discussions with citizens, conferences on Albania's EU integration and European cinema nights. 

Throughout the week, 2018 has been celebrated as the European Year of Cultural Heritage, showcasing the best Albania has to offer, with bike rides, live music, art installations and food fairs.

For the official Europe Day, on May 9, the EU Delegation and member states set up a EU village on Skanderbeg square in Tirana with numerous stands and activities presenting their involvement and support for Albania.

In the evening of May 9, the Head of the EU Delegation to Albania Romana Vlahutin invited everyone to join Europe Day celebrations on Skanderbeg Square with a music festival dedicated to the women in Albania. 

The concert was prepared by Vikena Kamenica and featured performances by soloist Artemisa Mithi, soprano Renisa Laçka, violin soloist Joana Kaimi and the University of Arts’ Girls Choir conducted by Suzana Turku. 

After the official event, celebrations continued at the After Party featuring Marsela Cibukaj, Vitmar Basha and Peter Pan Quartet, as proposed by the Municipality of Tirana.

 

During the weekend 

 

On Saturday, May 11, Europe Week celebrations will move to Pogradec, where, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, people will be able to visit the Illyrian Royal Tombs of Lowland Selca at 12 pm. The day will continue at the Ollga Square in Tushemisht, where a local fair followed by a town-hall meeting with Ambassador Vlahutin and Minister of Culture Mirela Kumbaro will take place on improving the touristic and cultural potential of Lake Ohrid.

The last day of Europe Week will develop in several locations, starting from the Korca Theatre, where kids will be able to enjoy EU-related quizzed, puppet shows and a dancing party, the Korca Bazaar, where an open-air conference will explore Albania’s rich cultural heritage, and even in Korca’s touristic village Dardhe, through a food fair. 

The weekend will conclude in Tirana’s Taiwan Park, where the Eurovision Festival Song Contest, where three Albanians are competing representing the country, Cyprus and Italy, will be broadcasted publicly. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 10 - On Friday, May 11, Zeta Gallery will inaugurate a group exhibition examining public space from a perspective of five contemporary artistic positions from Austria -- Iris Andraschek & Hubert Lobnig, Gelitin, Werner Reiterer, Anna Meyer, and Franz Kapfer. 

The gallery, proposed by Iris Andraschek & Hubert Lobnig and partially sponsored by the Austrian Embassy to Tirana, will remain open until the end of May. 

Hubert Lobnig’s idea for an exhibition on the topic of public space is based on the observation that the relationship of Albanian society with its capital city’s public sphere has changed fundamentally since 1992, when Lobnig visited Tirana for the first time and made a series of photographs. These photographs now serve as a historical introduction to the show at ZETA, thus creating a bridge and comparison point with the today’s public space in Tirana. 

Meanwhile, Lobnig has carried out numerous temporary and permanent projects, as well as site-specific works, in collaboration with Iris Andraschek: one of them – the installation Where Do The Borders Go, a staged border transgression at its very location, questioning nation-state administrative demarcation policies – is now presented in the form of a drawing and photographic documentation, as a work of art itself.

The exhibition continues with Anna Meyer’s work, dealing with events unrelated to art, such as tangible civilian population protests at Heldenplatz in Vienna, now processed through the medium of painting , and her performance faceburka, reflecting the role of virtual social networks in relation to public sphere of action. 

Stepping out of the gallery space in Tirana with a banner in her hands will be yet another bold gesture by which Meyer intends to pointing out the role of artists as activists nowadays.

Picking up on an important element of human physiognomy – the nose – that frequently used to be attributed to certain populations as a distinctive element of ethnic or racial identification, the artist group Gelitin set up an open-air monument in rural Austria in 2014 to play, ironically, with the association of a giant, buried in the ground, with his nose sticking out on the surface.

Their participation in this exhibition consists of a drawing from this project, depicting people’s interaction with the monument, and also photographs documenting the earlier creation process and its result on the spot.

Werner Reiterer’s drawings, which exhibit some operating principles preceding his works realized in public space, often question those principles in a grotesquely exaggerated manner. They lend visual expression to his spontaneous conceptions of art and the real world, which allow him to relate directly to specific places and situations, while functioning as comical frameworks for actual execution of his projects in public spaces: as ideas that cannot be carried out, as pure fantasies, or fictions. His project in Tirana develops in a similar line, revolving around stickers as a flexible and easily distributive medium across selected urban spots, loaded with personal or collective significance.

Elements like flags, crests, monuments, figures of catholic saints and traffic posts play an important part in Franz Kapfer’s urban installations. He uses them to play with people’s perspective of ordinary, everyday things, which are usually taken for granted and unquestioned. In his way of appropriating those elements in his work, Kapfer tends to challenge and re-direct viewers’ attention, letting them step out of their comfort zones in order to perceive their environment differently and from a more critical viewpoint. 

The ongoing cult of national heroes in contemporary Albanian society was Kapfer’s main working focus during his 2009 residency in Tirana, resulting in his public installation on the spot. The documentation of this project, alongside with the artist’s photographic self-staging and an object-installation, round up the actual exhibition at ZETA.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 3 - The Academy of Film and Multimedia Marubi will host from May 4 to May 8 the globally renowned Polish film director Maestro Krzysztof Zanussi, who will inaugurate four days of his movie screenings in Tirana. 

The Polish Ambassador to Tirana Karol Bachura and Rector of the Academy for Film and Multimedia Marubi will attend the opening night, when the movie “Persona non Grata” will be screened.

The entrance for the movies will be free, with seven pm marking the start of each movie night. All films will be in Polish, with English subtitles.

Persona non Grata on Friday, May 4

Wiktor, Polish ambassador to Uruguay, comes back home to attend his wife's funeral and face his old Russian friend, suspected of having an affair with Wiktor's deceased spouse.

Our God’s Brother on Saturday, May 5

This is the true story of St. Albert Chmielowski, a celebrated Polish artist and painter in the 1800's who was a major inspiration for young Karol Wojtyla, later Pope John Paul II. Albert became dissatisfied with his painting, and disillusioned about the meaning of life, when he encountered many homeless and outcast beggars in Poland that triggered his passion to help the poor. He gave up his promising painting career, and became a monk who served the poor for the rest of his life. He founded a new religious community that would come to be known as the Albertine Brothers and, later, the Albertine Sisters.

Life for Life on Sunday, May 6

The story of catholic saint Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941), who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz.

Camouflage on Monday, May 7

A group of students are spending the summer vacation at a university camp studying the science of linguistics. One of the camp directors, Jaroslaw, is a young professor who prefers the straightforward, intimate approach to students. He is opposed in his liberal views by Jakub, who likes to manipulate people.

Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease on Tuesday, May 8

A cynical doctor, who is dying of cancer, would like to know the meaning of his life. He has to fight for it or just get ready for death.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, April 27 - Swedish DJ David Giese, known as Joxaren, will be performing Punk, Dub, Hip Hop and Electro music in Tirana this weekend.

Joxaren has performed over 500 live music shows in different constellations all over the world since 1988, and is a co-founder of influential electronic music collective Moder Jords Massiva, says the Swedish embassy in Tirana.

The Swedish DJ will be showcasing his take on the bubbling Skweee genre, which has had huge coverage since it first emerged internationally around 2007. His Disco - driven electronic music is described as being filled with quirky key works, bumping drum loops and that sense of experimental freedom that defines and embodies the genre.

Joxaren is also a provider of cross-cultural bass music, producing orientally-influenced bass-driven music such as the Albanian Tallava, Romanian Manele and Middle-eastern Chalga.

His Tirana performance will be on Saturday evening of April 28 in one of Tirana’s best downtown bars.

Joxaren’s Tirana concert comes at a time when Sweden and electronic dance-music fans all over the world have been morning the premature death of Avicci, one of the world’s most successful producers, who prematurely died at 28 this month.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, April 26 - The capital’s first Balkan Jazz Showcase edition will take place on Sunday and Monday, April 30 and April 31 at the Rogner Hotel, bringing together renowned bands from Albania and Kosovo, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Romania, Greece and Serbia.

With a free entrance at the hotel’s Concert Hall, the event will also offer workshops and meetings with participation from Portugal, Israel, Italy and Albania.

Organized by the Albanian Jazz Society partnering with the Albanian University of Arts and partially sponsored by the Greek Embassy to Albania and the Tirana Municipality, the Balkan Jazz Showcase will include the Stanislav Arabadjiev Trio, the Dimos Dimitriadis Trio, the AmGeDi Trio,  the Sule Jovovic Quartet, the Sorin Zlat Trio, the Trio FAM and Albania’s Gent Rushi Quartet.

About the groups

 

Romania’s Sorin Zlat Trio

His style is a surprising fusion of jazz, latin, pop and classical music, erupting into a colorful and fascinating repertoire. His talent, revealed by his ability to find new dimensions to existing jazz standards and to create original compositions, gained him instant recognition on the jazz scene. In the summer of 2015, Sorin released his first album entitled Endurance, an album centered on the power of love and family and which is an attestation to his progression as an artist and his creative capabilities.

 

Bulgaria’s Stanislav Arabadjiev Trio 

Stanislav Arabadjiev graduates the musical academy Professor Pancho Vladigerov in Sofia in 2014. He has participated in most of the jazz festivals in Bulgaria including the International Jazz Festival Bansko. The collaboration between his trio and Vassil Petrov has been very well received by the Bulgarian audience. His latest work includes collaborations with Petar Salchev and Craig Bailey, a renowned saxophonist and a long standing member of Ray Charles’ band.

 

Montenegro’s Sule Jovovic Quartet 

Milorad-Sula Jovovic is a well known jazz guitarist-pianist and bass player in Montenegro. He graduated in the Music Academy. He is the founder of the first jazz bar in Montenegro Piva Jazz. The Quartet’s other members are Milivoje Picuric, composer, Martin Djordjevic, drummer and Sara Jovovic, who plays the piano. The Quartet lead by Sula Jovovic plays various styles from jazz, blues, fusion, rock, pop and fancier. The quartet and its members have had numerous performances in the country and abroad

 

Croatia and Albania AmGeDi Trio 

This project was inspired by three musical worlds connected by three musicians by different backgrounds who put forward all their skills and stylistic influences, from classical to world music, to jazz, thus expressing a range of intimate atmospheres that create the path for Amalia’s voice. 3 Mundus pursues Amalia Baraona’s love of jazz and classical music by re-imagining songs from the vast Brazilian songbook that has been her passion. Genti Rushi and Dinko Stipanicev are superb Balkan musicians who recreate the feeling of an evening in the living room with friends.

 

Kosovo and Albania AJS Quartet 

AJS in a union of jazz musicians from Albania and Kosovo. The union of ideas and experiences of the artists makes this performance so interesting. The music of AJS has a wide game of styles combinations and all that comes in the colors of contemporary Balkan jazz.

 

Greece’s Dimitris Dimitriadis Trio 

Saxophonist, Fulbright Scholar and Professor of Jazz Studies Dimos Dimitriadis studies in the USA next to iconic jazz musicians and prominent jazz educators and worked as a freelance musician performing next to some of the leading jazz musicians in the US, Europe, Scandinavia, Brazil and South Africa. Dimitriadis is considered a key figure in musical education in Greece.

 

Serbia’s FAM Trio

The FAM Trio is a young bad from Serbia’s Nis. Their repertoire consists of jazz and bossa nova presented in the original way. The band includes Andrija Djordjevic, the youngest student of guitar at the Faculty of Arts in Nis, Milan Jovanovic, student of musical theory at the same faculty, and Filip Stipcic, also a member of the Nisville big band. 

 
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                    [post_date] => 2018-04-27 07:42:17
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, April 25 - Albania presented its diverse choreographic culture of colors, rhythms and energy stemming from an established European identity in Brussels’ Bozar Hall days after the European Commission unconditionally recommended accession negotiations to open for the country.

The National Songs and Dance Ensemble was invited to participate in the international cultural festival Balkan Traffic, taking place from April 19 to April 22. 

Its representation included a team of 17 artists - soloists, dancers, vocal singers, an orchestra and a polyphonic group led by singer Hysni Zela - who took the audience traveling through a variety of songs, dance and Albanian folklore.

Parts of the program were some of the country’s most renowned dances based on the area of origin, polyphonic songs and traditional orchestral pieces of music or melodies stemming from some of the country’s oldest songs.

Minister of Culture Mirela Kumbaro has previously said that cultural diplomacy is an integral part of the country’s image overseas. 

“Culture’s role in the improvement and promotion of the country’s image is essential. It has been years that Albania’s been exporting high-quality culture,” Kumbaro has said.

The National Ensemble, recently awarded with the National Honor title, came out successful from this major cultural event in the European capital. 

Artists decided to dedicated this edition to the country’s poliphony as part of the UNESCO heritage, in the context of Albania’s 60-year UNESCO membership anniversary.  

Originally proclaimed in 2005, folk iso-polyphony was inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage. 

Derived from Byzantine church music, Albanian Iso-polyphony is a sophisticated form of group singing, performed mostly by men in southern Albania. The rise of cultural tourism and the growing interest of researchers are contributing to the revival of this unique folk tradition.

The Albanian polyphony is a type of traditional vocal music specific to southern Albania and is by far the most popular form of folk music in this part of the country. In the Laberia region it is normally sung unaccompanied by instruments and is often improvised by two or three lead singers who set forth the melody and text. The other singers accompany the lead singers as a chorus with a so-called iso, a drone at a constant pitch. 

The Albanian Ensemble was supported by the country’s Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Albanian diplomatic representation in Brussels, Belgium. 

 
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                    [post_date] => 2018-04-24 18:48:49
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                    [post_content] => zero space 2TIRANA, April 24 – Tirana’s ground-floor life will represent Albania at this year’s edition of the Venice Biennale of Architecture through installations and pictures showcasing the capital city’s urban environment, history and tradition though the old Tirana doors as an element to explain a space where the old and modern co-exist.

The series of doors installed in the ‘’Zero Space’’, aligns the transition between indoor and outdoor in the contemporary urban context of Tirana, characterized by the presence of many shops, workshops, bars, distributed all over the city and serving the city almost 24 hours, says the four young architects representing Albania.

Whether being served in a cafeteria or at a shoemaker, barber shop, tailor or even butcher, this level, simply, slowly, in its own pace but at the same time in a chaos which with its spontaneous evolution, differently from the classic planning of the territory, has created the city where the public space is similar to a physical social media, with its feet on the ground.

The Albanian pavilion at the 16th Venice Biennale of Architecture has been dedicated to research into Tirana's ground floor as a hyperbole of a phenomenon scattered throughout Albania.

Tirana citizens usually project their lives between the safety of the ground floor where they freely interact with each-other and the frenzy of a metropolis whose economy grows and adapts more and more to the global trend, the architects say.

Every neighborhood in the capital city keeps alive their ‘ground floor’ adding to the undisputed comfort, the security of a social relationship guaranteed by the human dimension of the classical next-door shop, an approach adopted in every kind of service and every areas of the city.

The Albanian pavilion has been named ‘Tirana Zero Space’ and is described as contribution to the city involving Tirana residents with an active participation at the Venice Biennale

The pavilion is a moment of reflection over Tirana's lifestyle and the future of Albania's capital city. Tirana's personality and strength are featured in an installation where visitors can live through the experience of Albania's capital city the same way as its citizens do.

The Albanian pavilion’s philosophy is to shape and model the lifestyle and propose that citywide, nationwide and beyond.

The installation reflects and interprets the spontaneous Tirana life landscape, captures a moment from its influx and introduces it to the Biennale public.

“We think that nothing better than this form of visual art could interpret our city's resistance toward the loss of the sense of time, an obvious sign of ‘liquid modernity,” says Elton Koritari, the Albanian pavilion’s curator.

“The Biennale can be the pretext for tribute to a city that though runs normally towards its modernization and transformation into a ‘Generic City,’ jealously preserves its bottom-up antibodies-elements that still foster it from becoming ‘Junk space,’ he adds.

Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj says he is happy Albania will be represented with Tirana and its lively and challenging story at the international event.

"As part of my work, I often happen to meet mayors of much more developed cities who have well-established infrastructure with trams, undergrounds, luxury buildings, modern infrastructure streets, but have no life. If I had to choose between Tirana of many infrastructural challenges and a city of perfect infrastructure but no life where everything closes down at 5 pm I would undoubtedly choose Tirana,” says Veliaj.

Culture Minister Mirela Kumbaro said this edition's Albania project offers both ideas and citizenship.

"Ground floor is where everything happens with the noisy and quiet Tirana, the images and voices of common people through the city streets and we all want to display that as a passport in this global architecture exhibition," says Kumbaro.

In selecting the winning project last January, the jury said “it was inspired by the team’s proposed linkage between Venice and Tirana to bring a piece of the urban setting of Tirana to Venice, a piece Tirana is losing in the process of urban expansion and reconstruction.”

Albania’s capital since 1920, soon after the country’s independence Tirana offers a mix of traditional, Italian and totalitarian architecture mixed with modern buildings and high-rises.

Albania has regularly participated at the Venice Biennale of Architecture since its 2010 debut.

“The desire to create Freespace can become the specific individual characteristic of each individual project. But space, free space, public space can also reveal the presence or absence of architecture, if we understand architecture to be ‘thinking applied to the space where we live, that we inhabit;” says Venice Biennale President Paolo Baratta.

This year's edition of the Biennale, titled Freespace" and focusing on the question of space, the quality of space, open and free space will run for six months starting May 26 to November 25 with 71 national participants.
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            [post_date] => 2018-05-18 07:43:59
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            [post_content] => TIRANA, May 16 - The exhibition “Celebrating Europe in Albania: Unicum and Diversity” opened to the public on Friday inside Albania’s former dictator Enver Hoxha’s vila, located in the heart of downtown Tirana but usually closed to the public.

In the context of the Pan-National Skanderbeg Year, the General Directory of Archives brings manuscripts and prints from different funds of the Main National Archive dating from 6th century AD to the 19th century. 

[caption id="attachment_137178" align="alignright" width="300"]IMG_4212 picture by: Ema Butka[/caption]

The books and codices previewed are thus in Persian, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Albanian and Osman languages both in handwritten and printed forms. 

The texts’ theme is dominated by theology and the Holy Scriptures, considering the biggest part of books that has managed to reach us today comes from the shelves of God adoring temples and churches.

However, although less in number, the exhibition also contains literary, judicial, philosophical and astronomic scriptures and texts. 

As stated by the exhibition’s own curators, “this variety of cultures, languages ​​and themes is more than common for Balkan Albania. In times of turmoil this worm is used to divide people and countries. Today, in the European context, this variety is the argument that Albanians are an integral part of Europe. The modest libraries of ancient Albania, or the Central State Archives today, naturally inherited such wealth, carrying the Western culture amalgam before the West concept was defined in the West.” 

Although the handwritten and printed books presented in the exhibition don’t cover all historical Middle Age and Renaissance themes and don’t seek to express the analogy of cultural influences to Albania, “they are the remaining elements of a broad cultural mosaic, from which we see fragments of time and place, enough to show the greatness of the past to the public.” 

[caption id="attachment_137177" align="alignleft" width="300"]DSCN9378 Enver Hoxha's former home[/caption]

In addition to the rare manuscripts, visitors were also given the chance to see free of charge Hoxha’s impressive yard at a time the country was struggling with poverty at large under communism and even take a peek at some of the furniture and decoration inside the house otherwise dominated by the beauty of the scriptures. 

The exhibition will remain open until May 20, everyday until 10 pm. 

 
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