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MANIFESTO Hijacking presented by DebatikCenter of Contemporary Art and ZETA Contemporary Art Center

July 4–September 11, 2022

MANIFESTO is being presented by the DebatikCenter of Contemporary Art (DCCA) with pleasure. MANIFESTO, a cooperation with the ZETA Contemporary Art Center in Tirana, includes an exhibition, a number of talks and performances open to the public, a run of publications on art and politics, and the introduction of a number of internet projects. Together, these initiatives gnaw at the connections between modern art and oligarchic power, exposing networks of neoimperialism, and offering fresh pillars for cooperation and resistance.

The foundation of MANIFESTO is the idea that Albania’s state apparatus has seized the means of artistic expression, transforming contemporary art into a tool for routinely granting cultural capital and overall legitimacy to a corrupt financial and political elite. The language of international contemporary art is used by this oligarchic class to deflect attention from its own violence while it hides behind bureaucracy and abuses the personal information of its citizens. It also has financial sources and professional networks. A museum of neoimperialism and neocolonialism that also doubles as a museum of resistance, MANIFESTO seeks to construct new histories of the present from the wreckage of this fractured narrative.Truths are piling up in the halls of this museum, coiling like snakes, buzzing like hornets. It is time for a new wave to come. 

The tragedy, fire, and decomposition that we are all currently experiencing is the spectacle that MANIFESTO has witnessed. The MANIFESTO organizers declare the necessity of an HIJACKING in order to demolish this show. Each and every viewer is a plotter, as well as a hijacker. The term “MANIFESTO” refers to an unplanned intrusion into the architectures and logics of corruption, neocolonialism, and artwashing. Hijacking is irreversible.

The press conference at the Tirana International Hotel, organized by Sonja Lau, will kick off MANIFESTO on July 4 at 11 a.m. Ataol Kaso will read his poem “Vulnerable Living in Tirana,” which was based on leaked data that the Albanian Socialist Party had gathered on its constituents in order to influence voting behavior in the most recent round of elections. The House That Woodrow Built, an exhibition by the collaboration La Société Spectrale (David Kampi, Jonida Gashi, and Pleurad Xhafa), will debut at ZETA Contemporary Art Center on July 4 at 7 p.m. This show, which was organized by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, displays a collection of unsettling archive remnants that haunt the unconscious of current Albanian politics and is accompanied by a catalog that includes architectural schematics by Jora Kasapi.

Over the course of the MANIFESTO project, ZETA will host a number of open forums. The German curator Sonja Lau will exhibit “The Violent Curator” on July 5 at 7 p.m. “Landscape with a Man Killed by a Snake” by American art historian Raino Isto will be presented on July 6 at 7 p.m. Jonida Gashi, an Albanian art theorist, will present “Art as a Medium of Truth” on September 11 at 7 p.m. Redon Skikuli and Boris Budini, two Albanian activists, will host CryptoParty 2022 on September 9; it will be a workshop and gathering where the general public can learn about methods for shielding their personal information from businesses and the government.

A number of online projects have also been launched as part of MANIFESTO, such as Relational Aesthetics, a map of the relationships between the international art scene and Albanian politics, Nothing to Hide, a tool that empowers people to map the surveillance systems that surround them, and Internet War, an ongoing conceptual text project by Italian artist Marco Mazzi.

In order to shed light on authoritarian practices in Albania, as well as to provide the necessary tools to imagine alternative futures and strategies of resistance to the status quo, the DebatikCenter of Contemporary Art has brought together artists, academics, activists, architects, imaginary and real collectives, critics, curators, journalists, translators, and other professionals.

Summary of events:
The Press Conference:
 July 4, 11am–12pm
Tirana International Hotel, “Metropol” Room, Tirana, Albania.

The House That Woodrow Built: July 4, 7–9pm
Exhibition open from July 4 till September 11 at ZETA Contemporary Art Center.

The Violent Curator: July 5, 7–9pm
A lecture by Sonja Lau at ZETA Contemporary Art Center.

Snakes: Capitalist Realism: July 6, 7–9pm
A lecture by Raino Isto at ZETA Contemporary Art Center.

CryptoParty 2022: September 9, 5–9pm
A workshop about protecting personal data by Redon Skikuli and Boris Budini at ZETA Contemporary Art Center.

Art as a Medium of Truth: September 11, 7–9pm
A lecture by Jonida Gashi at ZETA Contemporary Art Center.

ZETA Contemporary Art Center
Abdyl Frashëri Street, Nd.8, H.7, Ap.4 (2nd floor)
Hekla Center
1019 Tirana
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