In September we went on a 5-day excursion to visit the 14th edition of the Manifesta Biennial in Priština, Kosovo. Many artistic contributions were spread all over the city, so we mostly walked around the city to see some of the exhibition venues. In the evenings, we usually got together to eat Kosovar food, go to a bar or go to the cinema as well as one evening we crashed into (and were later invited to) an official opening of a exhibition at national libary with drinks and buffet. We had two guided tours and a conversation with the architect born in Priština Erzë Dinarama who, as part of the architecture team was able to share with us the collective‘s work and her view on Manifesta and its impact on the city. After 5 days we split up again, some went back by car, some drove further south and some flew back to Germany.
*Manifesta is a travelling biennial which takes place every 2 years at changing locations in Europe and interacts as an exhibition with regional, international artists and local initiatives. For 100 days, visitors can visit exhibitions,additional events and workshops at 25 different venues in the capital of Kosovo. The venues in Priština were chosen on the basis of an urban analysis by the architecture collective Carlo Ratti, which began in spring 2021 to visit cultural sites in the city and make them accessible to the public again. Most of these public facilities have not been open to the public since the Kosovo war in 1999 and no longer fulfilled any function. In the framework of the Biennial, more than 50% of the invited artists came from Kosovo and the Balkan region. Especially in Kosovo, hosting an international art festival gave visibility to local artists who are restricted from travelling due to strict Visa rules. Therefore the question arose during Manifesta how easy it is for fellow Manifesta Editions to invite artists from Kosovo, when it is difficult for many artist to get a proper visa.
The initiative and magazine Kosovo 2.0 published an article that sheds light on the significance and background of hosting Manifesta. There were many achievements such as employment, free access to the exhibitions, the reopening of community spaces and cultural heritage, public relations and visibility of Kosovo as a country. At the same time one could critizes temporary investments as unsustainable. What does it mean for Kosovar artists when the next edi- tion of Manifesta takes place in Barcelona, Spain, whose government does not recognise Kosovo as an independent state? The article gives a distinguished view on different socio -political and also economical factors that were touched by Pristina hosting the 14th edition of manifesta. It can be read here: https:// kosovotwopointzero.com/en/prishtina-bids-farewell-to-manifesta/
General Information about Manifesta 14: https://manifesta14.org/