Balkans: Pristina, Skopje, Tirana

MSc Studio

Year:

2012-2014

Studio participants

Author(s):

MOVING THROUGH ETHNICITIES AND TERRITORIES

From Wikipedia: ‘Balkanization is a geopolitical term, originally used to describe the process of fragmentation or di- vision of a region or state into smaller regions or states that are often hostile or non-cooperative with each other’. The first exploration of the territory within and in- between the cities of Prishtina, Skopje and Tirana was executed from a distance. Through the available sources particular aspects of the territory were revealed. Under the general notion of balkanization, several themes were explored: identity, memory, routes, borders and geography were some of the categories under which our individual themes were rising. Ethnic identity was often in the foreground throughout the exploration. No clear boundaries were found in the territory between the ethnic groups. There seemed to be an ongoing tug of war between these groups regarding territories and cultural heritage. The differences were mostly between the collective expression of identity by society and the definition given by the state. The imposition of identity by the state in many cases has caused controversy. In some cases certain identities were blown up to disproportionately large scales to represent only one group in society. In other cases erasure of identity occurred after periods of conflict so that the history of previous regimes and ethnic groups is not acknowledged. Later, upon moving through the territory, it seemed as though these identities had never existed in these places. During the preparatory research the way we explored the territory was adjusted. By zooming in and out and by focusing the gaze to occasionally frame the territory, new information was brought to the surface. When moving through the territory, a fragmentary view can be useful to extract certain information when in other cases a broad panoramic view of the whole is dominant. This was only one of the tools that we were equipped with to assist us on our excursion into the unknown.

MSc studio BC, semester 20, 2012-14

Participants: Anvina Canakiah, Ren Yu Gan, Lindi Hofman, Dong Huang, Valerie Krautzer, Danqing Li, Athina Papadopoulou, Wang Rui, Manon Tardieu, Kee Zhi Wei, Cyrus Wong, Yuwen Zhang.

Mentors: Henriette Bier, Klaske Havik, Oscar Rommens, Marc Schoonderbeek, Pierre Jennen.

Balkans: Pristina, Skopje, Tirana