• No Return To Normal
No Return To Normal: On Legal, Spatial And Time Based Realities Of Property Claims, Home Occupations And Exchanges

No Return To Normal: On Legal, Spatial And Time Based Realities Of Property Claims, Home Occupations And Exchanges
Nina Valerie Kolowratnik in collaboration with Vala Osmani and Albert Heta

9/6/20017 – 28/7/2017
Opening: 9 June 2017 at 20:00

Opening hours
Tuesday - Friday, 4 - 6 pm

Address: Boxing Club, Mark Isaku Str.
10000 Prishtina, Republic of Kosovo

Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina is pleased to introduce the first exhibition of Nina Valerie Kolowratnik in collaboration with Vala Osmani and Albert Heta.

No Return To Normal: On Legal, Spatial And Time Based Realities Of Property Claims, Home Occupations And Exchanges is constructed on top of initial research proposal, developed and extended in research and ground work encompassed by the project, for the interest of the collaborating team and the institution to create access and generate public information on areas and issues beyond prevailing knowledge base and outside accessible channels of dissemination of information.

The present structure of the project includes research documentation, analyses and selected conversations from Prishtina, Mitrovica and Mitrovica North.

1 - We left our apartment to their administration […], as we knew the minute they leave someone else would occupy our apartment.
2 - The value of the apartment in Prishtina was more than twice as high as the one that we would get in Belgrade. Our Albanian neighbors helped us to find an apartment to exchange.
3 - Two and a half years ago the woman who lived in our apartment came to my father and gave the keys back, as agreed.
4 - I bought the property from a Serbian owner here in Prishtina, a flat. I didn’t occupy it. I contacted the person and bought the place from him.

The exhibition “No Return To Normal: On Legal, Spatial And Time Based Realities Of Property Claims, Home Occupations And Exchanges” revolves around series of these four extended conversations on the return to, and the rental and exchange of individual homes that people were forced to leave during and after the Kosovo War and which became inaccessible in its political aftermath.

Looking at selected examples of apartments and single-family houses located both in Prishtina and today’s Mitrovica North the exhibition reveals imposed solutions and independent choices made between individual and assisted property management and the necessity of navigating back and forth between them to secure continued rights to ownership and occupancy.

Over the last 18 years private arrangements and transactions covered what the internationally managed and specifically developed legal mechanism to protect and restore lost residential property rights didn’t provide for, due to its absence in the immediate post-war period, the limited responsiveness of its bureaucratic apparatus, insufficient financial resources to address damaged and destroyed properties and the lack of impartial executive power for implementation within the political vacuum in the case of North of Kosovo.

On the backdrop of a radically changing understanding of ownership after the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1989, the exhibition further explores selected examples of the translation and validation of private residential property rights into new legal frameworks and political settings.

Through the visual dissection of four personal narratives centered on property claims, home occupations, exchanges and acquisitions, “No Return To Normal: On Legal, Spatial And Time Based Realities Of Property Claims, Home Occupations And Exchanges” aims to show the spatial, legal and time based realities that displaced people continue to face in Kosovo.

The exhibition is part of an ongoing research Nina Kolowratnik started in the framework of the Westbalkan Calling artist residency in September 2016 developed in collaboration with Vala Osmani and Albert Heta of Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina.

The project and the research process was supported by a number of partner institutions and individuals who work in complex political and social realities, making the project a direct result of a collaborative process and multiple contributions.

‘No Return To Normal: On Legal, Spatial And Time Based Realities Of Property Claims, Home Occupations And Exchanges’, contextualized in the location where the exhibition appears, is also an example of an architectural exhibition initiated and developed by research architects in collaboration with artists and independent art institutions, supported by a network of collaborating partners, significant for the urgency and relevance of the project and aspirations to gain knowledge, develop understanding and critical capacity to analyze issues central for contemporary social and political developments.

The exhibition ‘No Return To Normal: On Legal, Spatial And Time Based Realities Of Property Claims, Home Occupations And Exchanges’ by making public and concentrating on research and analyses of selected conversation compliments the mission and principles of the institution that functions as an open platform that employs strategies to build up a dialogue with a differentiated public; works with clear social and political intents; encourages artistic practice and advanced architectural research, stands for intellectual independence and works to create conditions where contemporary thought and practice can happen.

Nina Valerie Kolowratnik DI MSCCCP, is an architectural researcher and consultant on spatial notation based in Vienna and New York. She has been educated as an architect at the Graz University of Technology and holds a degree in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture from GSAPP Columbia University, New York. She is currently teaching on the visualization of borderlands, migration, citizenship and human rights as a lecturer at Vienna University of Technology and as an adjunct assistant professor at GSAPP Columbia University New York. Kolowratnik’s practice is situated in the context of forced migration and socio-cultural claims to land and property, and develops spatial notational systems that operate within legal and human rights debates. Her recent projects include a case study on Palestinian refugee return, a research on notational systems within evidentiary production for a Native American land claim in New Mexico, a vizualization project to create awareness of proposed border sruveillance infrastructure on the Tohono O'odham Indigenous Nation and a publication and travelling exhibition on states of refuge in Austria. Most recently her work has been exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 and Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016.

‘No Return To Normal: On Legal, Spatial And Time Based Realities Of Property Claims, Home Occupations And Exchanges’ is organized in conjunction with Summer School as School 2017.

The exhibition ‘No Return To Normal: On Legal, Spatial And Time Based Realities Of Property Claims, Home Occupations And Exchanges’ is supported by Austrian Federal Chancellery, Dept. for Arts and Culture, Austrian Embassy Prishtina, Westbalkan Calling Residency, Municipality of Prishtina, Cultural Heritage without Borders – CHwB, X-Print and DZG.