Elton Koritari (EJAlbum)
Dorian Tytymçe and Forian Pollo (Varka Arkitekturë), Jurtin Hajro (commonsense.studio) and Enri Leka (Fablab Tirana)
Mirela Kumbaro, The Minister of Culture of Republic of Albania
Hapësira Zero Space
The Albanian team has interpreted Freespace as the liberation of the space on the ground floor of Tirana. The citizens of the capital have taken the lead and created a city where everyone serves something to someone. The ground floor evolved spontaneously into an area with cafeterias, shoemakers, barber shops and tailors. The modification of this ground floor from a private place to an open public space happened in total freedom, without the classic territory planning or the formal creation of a urban style. The active participation and the sense of community resulted in a lifestyle based on opportunities and which is now an indisputable feature of this city.
In Tirana nowadays, life happens in places where you can find almost every private or public service and where you can live every possible experience within the city’s perimeter. Every neighborhood combines personal and collective initiatives with social interaction and service levels as you expect from a classic neighborhood shop. Citizens of Tirana design their lives in between securities of the ground floor in the city where they freely interact with each other, closely related to the territory. Opening a door, closing another, transforming and modelling the spaces, the space gets adapted with the constant change of the dynamics that this lifestyle requires.
The ‘Zero Space’ installation positively interprets a phenomenon that is born as a social one, but which has turned into an energy that melds an entire lifestyle through the architecture of the city. The multilayer installation and a sensorial experience aim to guide the visitor in a journey perceiving the free space and an essence of the city. The public is free to modify the visual configuration of the pavilion. Intentionally or not, he becomes a spectator but also the protagonist of creating a spatial form, growing into a tourist, or even more a citizen of Tirana.
Elton Koritari is the co-founder of EJAlbum, an important communication hub in Albania. Moreover, he is a project manager and curator of art events, lecturer of photography in different universities, schools and cultural associations, author of art projects collaborating with almost all the galleries, museums and art institutes in Albania. He works for years in marketing & communications representing in Albania some of the most important international brands in that sector. He is the co-author of the book ‘Knots – 163 Contemporary Artists from Albania’ and the Project Manager and Curator of Imago Mundi in Albania.
“Tirana has no resemblance to a ‘non-place’ or ‘Utopia’ (claimed by Thomas Moore as the definition of an imaginary place, a metaphysical one, that does not exist in reality), but in our interpretation, we intentionally shift it into another ancient Greek word ‘Eutopia’ – a good place, a place that makes you feel good, makes you visit it, experience it. It is by this phenomenal diptych that we introduce our Eutopian Tirana.”
Elton Koritari, curator
The pavilion of Albania is located in the Artiglierie of the Arsenale. The one floor building dates back to 1560 and occupies a 3,300 m² area. They originally hosted the Arsenale workshops. You can find more information about the history of the Arsenale in my post ‘The fascinating transformation behind the Arsenale walls’.
Review by The Venice Insider
The pavilion of Albania is one of my favourite pavilions of this year’s Biennale, as you can read in ‘7 pavilions you cannot miss at the Architecture Biennale 2018’. The installation shows a series of original doors taken from buildings in Tirana. The fact that you can open them symbolizes an invitation to discover what’s behind. Amongst the doors, hundreds of small frames show pictures of small businesses or activities in the city such as a cafeteria, a shoemaker, a barber shop, a tailor or a butcher. The concept of Freespace is in this case not merely a matter of the use of a location, but more about the freedom of mind and the possibility to decide for themselves how to live their lives.
The Albanian exhibit is very intruiging. At first sight, you might find it hard to grasp, but once you get the story behind it, you will find it difficult not to look at each of these frames to discover yet one more story. It’s a pavilion where you can easily spend a lot of time if you want to.
If you want to know more about the Architecture Biennale 2018 and the other national participations, you can read my post ‘What to expect from the Architecture Biennale 2018‘ or have a look at this overview page which links to all the articles related to the Biennale. If you want to be informed about new previews of national pavilions being added to the site, you can subscribe to The Venice Insider biweekly newsletter.
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