Artwork: Embodying Identities
Info: Audiovisual installation
Artist: Mary Marinopoulou
Performer: Anna Vekiari
Choreography: Anna Vekiari, Mary Marinopoulou
Studio: ISON Dance Theater
Music: Choreography inspired by the song Penny for your Thoughts by we.own.the.sky
What is the physical manifestation of trauma? How is the body of one united, divided, different than and the same as the body of the other? And where do these two meet? Two bodies emerge, explore their limits and one another only to discover along. The installation transcends the premise of a time-based media installation and transforms the physical space into an invisible screen; it creates a new space, a “possible” space in which two single bodies coexist and interact.
Embodying Identities by Mary Marinopoulou, Some Call Us Balkans, exhibition of contemporary art, Pristina, 2023, photographs by Agon Nimani, CC BY-SA 4.0
Artwork: Goblen (The unpaid labor of woman)
Artist: Sezer Salihi
Performer: Senahat Mustafa Salihi
Goblen has often used a housewife’s handwork as their piece of art. Throughout history, it was seen as necessary to suit the wall of the Balkan houses. Today they are moving out from the walls of the houses and are hidden in the basement.
Goblen is used as a metaphor to focus on Balkan women’s housewives whose labor was not seen, not paid and it is not valued by the same Balkan society. The purpose of putting into a part of the wall is to reveal again the piece as a living organism. In Balkan history, the Wall has the meaning of putting borders, especially to the desires, the freedom of the people. As a way of protesting, Senahat Mustafa Salihi performs the process of the Goblen. This time she will leave the handwork unfinished as a demonstration of revolt and protest against the patriarchy.
Goblen (The unpaid labor of woman) by Sezer Salihi, Some Call Us Balkans, exhibition of contemporary art, Pristina, 2023, photographs by Agon Nimani, CC BY-SA 4.0
Artwork: Home is there
Artist: Jelena Gajinovic
The installation 'Home is there' is an appropriation of a quote by Sister Amata Anđelić, ASC. The attempt to define 'Home' in its abstract but also physical framework in the Balkans is present in various context. The visually deconstructed text indicates the fluidity of the term 'Home' and the importance of an open text that enables its interpretation.
Dom je tamo,
gdje je ljubav,
gdje je praštanje,
gdje je zajedništvo,
gdje možemo biti
ono što jesmo
The home is there,
where is love,
where is forgiveness,
where is the fellowship,
where we can be
what we are
Home is there by Jelena Gajinović, Some Call Us Balkans, exhibition of contemporary art, Pristina, 2023, photographs by Agon Nimani, CC BY-SA 4.0
Jelena (Jelly) Luise
Artwork: To my friends (…)
Artist: Jelena (Jelly) Luise
The installation 'To my friends...' is an open-ended, shifting body of works, displayed as a framed Hahnemühle print behind museum glass sitting across an oil on canvas. Dealing with sentiments like nationalism, kitsch, and the western gaze onto the Balkans, the works don't seek to disentangle, but are rather open to complicating matters, inspired by the framework of the psychoanalytic practice of free association.
The work argues that redemptive conclusions are counter-productive when thinking about repeated fragmentation, and instead offers a more fluid, disrupted trajectory, as it appears in this dream, a non-linear description and (dis)integration of the Balkanic identity, or feeling.
To my friends (…) by Jelena (Jelly) Luise, Some Call Us Balkans, exhibition of contemporary art, Pristina, 2023, photographs by Agon Nimani, CC BY-SA 4.0
Artwork: vol. III - 'Oda e sirenave'
Info: Mermaid cabaret
Artist: Αle Sandra
Alia*, for Ale Sandra is an ephemeral laboratory. It is rooted in the Mediterranean, where it tries to observe matriarchal elements inside a patriarchal structure and combine them according to the different contexts where it appears.
What she calls ‘our research’ is an adventure: ‘by sea, I with my sisters spread all over are trying to sew memories of a mediterranean cult, echoing a lost matriarchal society. Whether real or fictional, this philologic game pursues the elements of a mediterranean, feminine sense of the fluid connection between bodies; a magical tool to evoke and lull the unofficial memories of those inhabiting margins of power.'
Ale enacts a hybrid form of ritual listening and caring for memory: manifesting at times as occasion to share stories, games, meals; at times combining sound, spoken language, movement, organic and inorganic objects and fluids as celebrating the genealogy resewed - empowering us. A sort of feminist Atlantis.
vol. III – ‘Oda e sirenave’ by Ale Riletti, Some Call Us Balkans, exhibition of contemporary art, Pristina, 2023, photographs by Agon Nimani, CC BY-SA 4.0
Artwork: Good night, honest Iago!
Artist: Lea Blau
The video-installation is a poignant exploration of the experiences of displacement, longing, and the search for identity. At its heart is a collection of striking plaster lions, traditionally used to symbolize wealth and prosperity in Balkan homes. However, their presence here is melancholic, serving as a reminder of the emptiness and longing felt by those who have left their homes behind. The cheap material of the lions only further emphasizes the futility of such desires.
In the accompanying video work, the artist wears a carnival mask of a lion while navigating the streets of a foreign land, highlighting their own sense of otherness and the struggle to find a place within an adopted but never fully embraced environment.
Good night, honest Iago! by Lea Blau, Some Call Us Balkans, exhibition of contemporary art, Pristina, 2023, photographs by Agon Nimani, CC BY-SA 4.0
Artwork: W-here is Ballkan?
Info: Video art
Artist: Lori Lako
Due to lack of proper playgrounds, as kids we would often appropriate public space. The video of Lori Lako stages a usual neighborhood football scene, where the interaction of the subjects with the location can result indifferent at first sight, though we are all conscious of the influence that the environment, our buildings and our ruins have on us in direct or rather indirect ways.
In the depicted scene, the switch is given by the subjects of the game, which in this case are mixed gender. Shifting in this way the dynamics of the game which is often perceived as a hyper-masculine one. Another shift is given by the ball which is not the usual soccer one. There can be seen printed on its surface the Balkan geographical map, within its borders that are subject of continuous ever and ongoing conflicts. While terms like Balkan or Balkanization are most of the time associated with pejorative meanings full of misconceptions. The players, with every kick of the ball, move it away from themselves, as it is always the other to be the Balkan.
W-here is Ballkan? by Lori Lako, Some Call Us Balkans, exhibition of contemporary art, Pristina, 2023, photographs by Agon Nimani, CC BY-SA 4.0
Artwork: The more I stay, the more territorial I become
Info: Outdoor sound installation-performance
Artist: Diona Kusari
'Psychotherapeutic' sessions, whereby the inner conversations are made visible and public, are broadcasted through a moving van (kamionçinë) which goes en route to the center and peripheral parts of Prishtina. In trying to amend the dissonance between the artist's personal truth and society's vestiges of shame and honor bonds - the ego, superego and collective consciousness speak through her.
A slight reappropriation of a familiar scenario in cities all over Kosovo - men going around town driving a van shouting "hekura, hekura" into a speaker attached on top of it, as a way of informing households that they will purchase their unused home devices to collect steel and iron parts. Such sounds are so omnipresent that our bodies have learned this cue. Immediately as one hears this muffled sound one can identify it, just as how we are taught to shut down our bodies and senses to the cacophony in public space.
The more I stay, the more territorial I become by Diona Kusari, Some Call Us Balkans, exhibition of contemporary art, Pristina, 2023, photographs by Agon Nimani, CC BY-SA 4.0