Category Archives: Uncategorized

Talk Real in Sarajevo: Strategies for the Right to the City and Culture

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Published on Jan 17, 2018

What are the main challenges that activists in Sarajevo are facing? What are the possible strategies to engage citizens for the right to the city and the defense of cultural institutions in Bosnia Herzegovina? Is it the right moment to create new political parties that support alternatives? In our new Talk Real episode of our Balkans series, we asked two grassroots activists to give us a sense of the latest social and cultural struggles in Sarajevo and what alternatives there are to fight further.

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View of Ruth Proctor, If the Sky Falls, 2017. Smoke walk at 7th Inter-format Symposium Along Lines. Photo: Andrej Vasilenko.

Application deadline: March 15, 2018, 11:59pm
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The residency programme at Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts (NAC) is open for emerging and experienced artists, designers, architects, curators and researchers. NAC is one of the largest art, residency and education venues in the Nordic-Baltic region. It provides the opportunity to live and work in the Colony’s contemporary architecture, situated in a coastal pine forest. Since 2011 over 350 artists and other culture professionals have stayed at the Colony.

The atmosphere and life intensity depends on the season and programme of the Colony. There are between 7 and 70 people staying at NAC at all times. For most of the year, from October through April, one enjoys solitude, occasionally accented by art professionals or students arriving to the Colony for workshops or other activities. In May, June and September you will have to share common spaces with art, architecture and design students and their professors. During July and August, Nida becomes a busy (albeit not overcrowded) resort.

Living and social conditions are provided to ensure a comfortable environment. Each of the five residency studios contains two floors with 65 square meters of total space, equipped with all necessary facilities. Professional workshops and support, well-equipped spaces, and an artistic community are present all year round. There are opportunities to present art works or to host a workshop.

Individual residencies
September 2018
May 2019
Duration: One to four months (preferably two months), 40 places available;
Costs: No grants are currently available; selected candidates are issued a letter of support for individual grant seeking. Studio and living space rent for selected residents cost 400 EUR per month, including use of equipment, Wi-Fi, communal spaces and bicycles.

Nida Doctoral School (NDS) residencies for practice and theory based doctoral students
August–September, 2018

NDS summer course: Selected doctoral residents can join the intensive course on exposition of artistic research on August 26–31.
Tutors: Prof. Dr. Mika Elo, Dr. Joanne Morra, Dr Michael Schwab, Prof Henk Slager.
Costs: The same conditions as for individual residencies apply, however selected doctoral residents are offered the summer course with no tuition fee as well as 5 ECTS credits.

1-year-long residency for Nordic-Baltic artist
September 2018–August 2019

Artists are invited to submit a proposal to stay one year in the residency. This is a challenging invitation to root oneself within one place while other residents are changing every 1-2 months. Artist should contribute 25% of working time towards artistic reflection and the development of the residency programme.

Support: Studio costs and basic living expenses are covered.

EG-LT residency exchange between NAC and MASS Alexandria
September–October 2018 at NAC
October–November 2018 at
MASS Alexandria
Duration: 2 months
Eligible applicants: Egyptian and Lithuanian artists based in their home countries.
Support: All costs are covered for selected artists.

Call for participants and production residencies for the 8th Inter-Format Symposium on Rites and Terrabytes
June 20–24, 2018
Curators: Andrew Gryf Paterson (Scotland/Finland/Latvia), Vytautas Michelkevičius (Lithuania), Jurij Dobriakov (Lithuania), Jogintė Bučinskaitė (Lithuania)
The symposium with the Inter-PAGAN network brings together around 50 visual and sound artists, cultural practitioners, researchers and theorists who critically revive, reinvent, question, and facilitate traditional knowledges, practices and beliefs, (post-)folk culture, as well as notions of indigeneity and localism within the field of contemporary art and culture.

“Rites and Terrabytes” refers to the peculiar situation where we increasingly feel or desire a connection with the rituals and practices of old, despite living in a profoundly mediated “post-contemporary” world. Full concept, keywords & application details.

Support: Selected participants receive limited travel support, accommodation and catering.

Production residencies (May–June 2018) for contributors to the symposium are available. All costs are covered for selected artists.

Please follow the application guidelines.

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The Last Primeval forest in Europe?

or if a tree falls in the forest, and there is nobody around to hear, does it make a sound?


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WARSAW — Defying an order from the European Union’s highest court, the Polish government said on Monday that it would continue logging in Bialowieza Forest, the last primeval forest in Europe and a habitat for hundreds of bison.

The decision is the latest challenge by Poland to the legal authority of the European Union, which Poland joined in 2004, and could result in financial penalties. The arch-conservative and nationalist government that took power in Poland in 2015 has been chastised by the authorities in Brussels; last week, it was formally warned that its efforts to consolidate power over the judiciary in Poland threatened the rule of law.

The Bialowieza Forest, a Unesco World Heritage site, is a relic of ancient woodlands in the middle of the European lowlands, at the border of Polandand Belarus.

It has been at the center of a heated debate since Poland’s government tripled the logging limits last year and, in February, repealed protections for areas that include a large number of trees that are more than a century old.

After months of debate between Warsaw and Brussels, the European Commission sued Poland before the top court of the European Union. In a preliminary decision on Friday, the European Court of Justice ordered that all logging in the forest, which is home to protected habitats and species, be immediately suspended.

On Monday, Poland’s environment minister, Jan Szyszko, who had called the logging a “protective” effort to combat a bark-beetle infestation, said that he ordered an end to the cutting in a third of the forest, but that the logging would continue in the remainder.

By doing so, Mr. Szyszko said, the authorities were conducting “an experiment.” After several years, the ministry will compare the condition of both parts of the forest to determine “who is in the right” — Polish officials and foresters, or the European Commission and dozens of scientists and environmental advocates, who have vehemently opposed the logging, saying it will damage the forest irreparably.

“We thank the commission very much for such a big interest in our forest,” Mr. Szyszko said with a hint of sarcasm. “But we will not be insulted by those who don’t know about the rules of protection of environment.”

Advocates expressed shock.

“I’m speechless,” said Przemyslaw Chylarecki, a zoologist at the Museum and Institute of Zoology at the Polish Academy of Sciences. “The court has been crystal clear about the unconditional ban on the large-scale logging and the minister is resorting to these embarrassing gimmicks.”

Mr. Chylarecki said that the ministry’s experiment was pointless.

“It will be years, possibly decades, before we will be able to compare the results of both approaches,” he said. “Meanwhile, we have three harvesters working in the forest along with a team of loggers, which means that up to 1,000 trees are cut every day.”

The police confronted protesters in June who blocked equipment used to log the Bialowieza Forest in Poland.CreditKrystian Maj/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Tomasz Wesolowski, a forest biologist at the University of Wroclaw, in southwest Poland, said the government’s experiment was deceptive, because much of the area where the logging will be forbidden was new forest.

“They are going to protect trees that were planted a year ago,” he said. “The vast majority of what should be protected unconditionally will be in the other zone, cut down, day by day.”

On Monumental Silences

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Curated by Antonia Alampi

Participating artists Ibrahim Mahama

Does history cease to exist when a memorial is removed from public view and civic sanction – or is that act of removal, a forceful repudiation of the past, itself an act of choice and agency in history? [1]

The recent events of Charlottesville (US) [2] encouraged again an urgent debate on mainstream media about the racist and colonial monuments that adorn our cities. Monuments and memorials of colonial and imperial legacy that are rarely contextualized still stand in public space and have not been combined with counter perspectives that would allow for a narrative that is more adherent to the truth about the events or the people, which the sculptures represent.

On Monumental Silences by Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama is a response to the presence of these types of monuments, in many cities in Belgium and Flanders, and to their messages full of racism, white supremacy, imperialism and patriarchy. By engaging with the infamous monument of Father De Deken in Wilrijk (by Jean-Marie Hérain and erected in 1904), this project will confront the audience with the values and propaganda this image still performs and inspire a reflection on how such an image could be transformed. On Monumental Silences brings to the fore not only the need to re-challenge the narratives monuments bear, but also the question of how to actively intervene, by considering which subjects continue to be denied a voice, a place in history and a representation, what side of the events is missing a story. While the shoot is largely and overwhelmingly visible, where can we find the counter-shoot? As Ray Minniecon, an Aboriginal student at Murdoch University, stated “Monuments are not just a window into our past; they are a window into ourselves. We can choose.” [3]

– 16.01.2018, 16:00-21:00

The project will commence on January 16th with ‘Silent Recreations’, a performative and participatory action by the artist. A soft clay copy of the monument of Pater de Deken will be modified, reshaped and re-imagined together with the audience and in a moderated discussion with historian, diversity and inclusion expert Omar Ba. History will become a malleable matter to act upon and reshape towards a future counter-monument to that of Father de Deken.

– 27.01.2018, 16:00-midnight

Opening & Public Program

On Monumental Silences, by Ibrahim Mahama, marks the first act in a series of interventions within a three-year collaboration between Extra City and the Middelheim Museum, in which the function of monuments in the city of today is critically re-assessed.

In addition to the Middelheim Museum, this project is made possible thanks to the generous support of APALAZZOGALLERY, Brescia. We thank also AIR Antwerpen for their cooperation.

[1] Paul Daley, Statues are not history. Here are six in Australia that need rethinking, The Guardian, August 24, 2017. Find more here
[2] Started in August 2017 when a group of white supremacists who had gathered to protest the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee (a Confederate soldier in favor of slavery) violently attacked counter protesters.
[3] Ibidem.

Location Kunsthal Extra City, Eikelstraat 25-31, 2600 Antwerpen

NYTimes: Half Measures Won’t Erase the Painful Past of our Monuments

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‘We live in a culture of digital now-ness, twitter-surfing, trivia bingeing — which has become a culture of not-knowing history. I became acutely aware of the imbalance at the time of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last August. Suddenly, there history was — an old history of American racism and nativism — speaking to the present loud and clear.

The rally was built around a single object: an equestrian monument to the Confederate leader and Civil War hero Robert E. Lee. A small alt-right army had gathered to protest its threatened removal by the city from a public park. Probably no one had given the statue a serious glance for years. But the alt-right had, and understood its power, which lay in its twofold history. This sculpture represented the Civil War, but it was of a later date. It was made in 1924, when a brew of Lost Cause nostalgia and resurgent racist anger was saturating the South. In that context, the image of Lee was both a memorial to the past and the standard for a white supremacist future.

The Charlottesville rally was, as it was meant to be, explosive. And in the aftershock came a wave of monument-fever. In Charlottesville itself, anti-right protesters pulled down and smashed a second Confederate statue. In the same week, in Baltimore, Md., on an order from city hall, workmen hoisted four Confederate statues onto flatbed trucks and drove them off into the night.

The iconoclastic impulse spread north to New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to review a number of controversial monuments, not necessarily Civil War-related, that stood on city property. He called together a group of historians and artists together to take on the task. And this week, the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers — — led by Tom Finkelpearl, the New York City cultural affairs commissioner, and Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation — released a statement of the group’s findings.


The statue of Christopher Columbus overlooking Manhattan’s Columbus Circle has long been a focus of protest for its historical association with the genocide of indigenous Americans.CreditAn Rong Xu for The New York Times

It’s a very by-committee document; measured, all-bases-covered, weighted with consensus, short on surprise. If anything could bring a fever down, this could. It lists a set of wide-angle questions the commission applies in making judgments. If monuments have the power to write history, who, in any given case, is wielding that power? Was the history true when written, and has that truth changed over time? Does the history serve positive or negative ends? Promote inclusion or divisiveness? If monuments are, like history, intrinsically complex, not easily defined as “right” or “wrong,” is complexity alone enough to justify a contested monument’s continuing presence?

After the questions, and a group vote, come suggestions for actions the mayor can take. He can let a monument stand as is; re-contextualize it through added signage or programming; move it to another public site, such as a museum; change or expand its meaning by adding new art; or remove it from view. (Destroying is not an option, and in my opinion should never be.)…

Bono Stung in Lithuania



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“The massive document leak, which lay bare the financial secrets of some of the world’s biggest businesses and super-rich individuals, shows the singer invested in a Maltese firm which purchased the £5.1 million Aušra mall in Lithuania.

Malta is a well-known tax haven, and foreign investors pay just five per cent on any profits earned by firms registered there.

The Paradise Papers show Bono, whose real name is Paul Hewson, invested in Nude Estates, a firm registered on the Mediterranean island.

Nude Estates then purchased the Aušra shopping centre soon after it opened in 2007 and incorporated a company in Lithuania to hold the business.

Lithuania: Spring workshop Swamp notes


The  Spring workshop, originally planned for an investigation into Vilnius, has gone through a series of permutations. The Workshop has since been hitched to the Lithuanian project for the Venice Architecture Biennale, led by Gediminas and Nomeda Urbonas, “the SWAMP.” However a series of meetings among the participants of r-lab in which the discussion moved from travelling to Vilnius to travelling to Venice ended in our taking the decision to organize a workshop expedition to a notorious Swamp in Lithuania: located within the Curonian Spit on the Baltic Sea,  along a strip of territory split between  Lithuania and Kaliningrad Russia on the Baltic coast.  With the famous artists colony in Nida, where Thomas Mann once resided and that Hermann Goring would later expropriate for Nazi leisuretime, and with the mysterious Kūlgrinda submerged pathways known only to locals crossing the extensive swamplands, this region could provide several key analytical tools that could possibly contribute to the Venice SWAMP school.



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Kūlgrinda (from Lithuanian (Samogitian dialectkūlis, meaning “stone”, and grinda, meaning “pavement”; from grįsti, meaning “to rake, pull together”[1]) is a hidden underwater stony road or ford across swamps and swampy areas used for defense in the history of Lithuania.[1] Similar secret roads made primarily of wood and ground were known as medgrinda (from medis, meaning “tree”) and žemgrinda (from žemė, meaning “earth, ground”) respectively.[2]

Undetectable from the surface, these roads were usually known only to the locals, and as such were an important element of the defense against various invaders, including the Teutonic Knights in the 13–14th centuries. Kūlgrindas provided a safe shortcut between villages, hillforts, and other defensive structures.[3] They were built by bringing stones, wood, or gravel over frozen swamps in the winter and letting them sink once the ice melted.[4] Such procedure would be repeated several times. Sometimes wooden posts were inserted to protect the elevated area from washing away.[5]

The remnants of kūlgrindas are most often found in the territory of Lithuania, but also in Kaliningrad Oblast (former East Prussia), Belarus, and Latvia.[2] It is estimated that Lithuania has 27 kūlgrindas and 7 medgrindas, about half of them in Samogitia.[6] The longest and best-known surviving kūlgrinda is across the Sietuva swamp between lakes Lūkštas and Paršežeris in Samogitia.[1] It survives in three segments and was used up to the 19th century as a road between Kaltinėnai and Tverai.[4] One of the first to investigate the Sietuva kūlgrinda was Ludwik Krzywicki.[4] Other kūlgrindas are found in the Amalva swamp in southern Lithuania and at Šiuraičiai near Priekulė.[1] The Alkupis kūlgrinda near Kvėdarna was severely damaged during land amelioration by Soviet authorities.[5] The oldest medgrinda was found in Kernavė and is dated to the 4–7th centuries.[7]

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r-Lab Dinner Extravaganza 12 12



Tartufo, Pandora and pasta;

here are some notes from our the discussion during the dinner extravaganza.
J.G. Ballard: the Drowned World
not many people watched the Swamp monster movie, but it was essentially about an amphibian like humanoid species lost in the swamp.
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4 discussion points emerged on our discussion for the Swamp.
1. Salt. the level of salt in the water constitutes whether you are on dry land or on the beach seacoast.  this definition exists to confirm whether a house is to be built on the beach, or whether it is not on the beach. we heard you can lower salt ratio in order to demonstrate that the are is dry land.
2. Swamps by definition cannot be divided into property, for its fluid, changing properties. no property means 1 of the two essential aspects of utopia as defined by thomas more. Salt —Sale in italian, was the form of payment of the Roman army, hence Salario, or Salary. therefore a project which uses both salt and no property constitutes the two essentials of a More Utopia, as reinforced by Frederic Jameson, no property and no money.
3.we learned that sailors are never 100% guilty when assessed of an accident according to the rule of the sea. therefore, in a sea environment, responsibility for accidents is attributed according to percentage. therefore, we can never be more then a percentage guilty.
4. Swamps have been used historically to conserve food.
unfortunately we could not conclude on travel plans. we could do this project around any swamp, or the swamp we can visit in Slovenia, or we can just go to Venice, or we can go to Venice by boat from Trieste, a city at the intersection of empires.
please add comments, or should we set up a google group for those who are part of this coming workshop?

Bo’s suggested links from our discussion yesterday.

Last night was great! Here is the radioprogram I mentioned:

At 26:05 they talk a little about this:

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Suggested by Orestis:

This is the talk I was referring to when I brought up the idea that salt could help us measure the limits and physical boundaries of the swamp.
Daniel Fernández Pascual is a guy that holds a project called Cooking Sections at the Royal Institute of Art in London in which they try to understand how food systems are being used in order to organize the world.

The part where he speaks about salt begins at 11.45 but I strongly suggest you dedicate 15 minutes to see the whole talk. For me it was key to understand how to establish strong visual relations between concepts and everyday life.

Travel itinerary suggested by Francesca:

Zara was one of the most important city of the Venetian Republic. In 1947 was annexed to Yugoslavia and then to Croatia (Dalmatia/Dalmazia).
Rovigno was part of Italy until 1947 when it was annexed to Yugoslavia and finally it became part of Croatia (Istria).
Trieste is an Italian multicultural city on the border and has a really interesting cultural history.
Venice: Swamp project. (this is a really brief description, I guess there are many many other things I haven’t highlighted).
By the way, all of these cities are on the sea, are multicultural, crossed by several populations/migrations and have changed nationality (Venice was an independent Republic, then annexed to different countries from Austria to Italy. Generally its story is rooted on isolation – since it is an island- and on independence from a state /land).
Maybe we could start from these characteristics of identity migration / liquid identity and society (Bauman) to think about the swamp.
I found really interesting the “rule of the sea” about sailors’ guilt, it is much related to illegal migration too.
We could “follow” a shipping route between these cities that end up in the swamp of Venice, like a migrant narrative.

BBC: Hague Tribunal to Close?

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As the trial of General Ratko Mladic, overall commander of Bosnian Serb forces during the war of 1992-1995 comes to a close, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia will effectively shut up shop.

But questions will remain about the fate of hundreds of others accused of violating the laws of war. Bosnia Herzegovina will continue to try people in its courts, but in that republic the question of going on with prosecutions divides opinion.

During the 24 years of its work the Tribunal indicted more than 160 people. They ranged from guards at the infamous Omarska camp, where non-Serbs were held in appalling conditions in 1992, to the architects of the assault on Srebrenica three years later, where more than 8,000 Muslim men were murdered.

When Mevludin Oric goes back to eastern Bosnia he sometimes spots men who he last saw in 1995 executing hundred of his kin from Srebrenica. “They are walking, laughing in my face,” says Mevludin, “and saying ‘I am the one who killed Muslims, Turks’ and they are walking free”.

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first met Mevludin in 1996, a few months after he had played dead in order to survive the machine-gunning of hundreds of prisoners by Serb troops. He gave evidence in three trials in The Hague.

Today his features have aged even more than you would expect over that passage of time and it is quite clear that Mevludin has never been able to put those terrible events behind him.

He does not see the issue of war crimes even-handedly either. His cousin, Nasser Oric, was a well known commander of Muslim forces in Srebrenica who himself stood trial in the Hague, accused of murdering Serb prisoners.

He was acquitted, but a subsequent prosecution was launched in a Bosnian court last year. When it was thrown out the day after our filming, Mevludin was jubilant.

“Every people, Serbs, Muslim, Croats, consider those indicted from their own people as not guilty, but they consider only ‘the others’ guilty,” says former Bosnian Serb parliament speaker Momcilo Krajisnik, noting “there is a lot of subjectivity.”


in the autonomous province of Bolzano, Italy, a Mussolini era marble relief is covered with a quote by Hannah Arendt.

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rough translation: the bas-relief with the Duce (Mussolini) on a horse, in the act of a Roman salute, with the motto “Believe, Obey, Combat” has been covered by an illuminated writing: “No one has the right to obey.”  This is how the monument, in Piazza Tribunale in Bolzano has been de-powered, (desecrated), by overlaying on the bas-relief …a sentence attributed to Hannah Arendt, “no one has the right to obey.”

from La Repubblica: 
Bolzano, il bassorilievo del Duce coperto da scritta Hannah Arendt
Il bassorilievo col Duce a cavallo, nell’atto del saluto romano, col motto fascista “Credere obbedire combattere” è coperto dalla scritta luminosa “Nessuno ha il diritto di obbedire”. È così che il monumento, in piazza Tribunale a Bolzano, è stato “depotenziato” sovrapponendo al bassorilievo del sudtirolese Hans Piffrader in onore del regime fascista una scritta al neon con una frase attribuita a Hannah Arendt, che dice appunto: “Nessuno ha il diritto di obbedire”. L’accensione, alle 17 sotto una pioggia battente, ha visto la piazza raccolta in un minuto di silenzio, poi l’ orchestra Haydn suonare l’Adagio per archi di Samuel Barber, che fu eseguito per la prima volta da Arturo Toscanini. Una cerimonia solenne, ma senza discorsi ufficiali, come preannunciato, presenti comunque le autorità locali, a partire dal presidente della Provincia autonoma, Arno Kompatscher, e dal sindaco, Renzo Caramaschi.