• Unknown Societies
Unknown Societies

Unknown Societies
Communication and production project about artists and art-systems in different societies

28 October - 6 November 2008
Prishtina, Republic of Kosova

A collaboration between Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Trondheim Art Academy and Stacion Centre for Contemporary Art Prishtina with the support of Nordic Council of Ministers/Module for production and Communication and Finnish Fund for Art Exchange - Frame.

Unknown Societies Project is an art and communication project between four different societies and cultural(geo)political situations: Helsinki, Pristina, Trondheim and Belgrade where the two project leaders come from.

Kosovar society is the youngest and the most (un)known society in Europe, which went through many decades of traumatic experience of apartheid, mass deportation, political arrests and killings, and finally a long internationally negotiated political solution of an independent non-(or multi)nation state. 

Concerning the art production, the Kosovar contemporary art scene is seen as the most specific and interesting one in the region, existing totally independent from the mere fact that there is no developed art system functioning in the country.

The working hypothesis of the project leaders Milica Tomic and Branimir Stojanovic is that this particular art is a product of a parallel system of education, which was part of Kosovo parallel society during the nineties.

To point out one element of the relevance of the project: Stacion - Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina distances itself form the usage of the word "parallel" and considers this wording the narrative of the Serbian occupation regime and instead sees the education system in the 90ties in Kosova as the "independent" system of education. The only "parallel" system existing in Kosova during that time was the Serbian occupation system and cultural hegemony violently installed in Kosova after the military re-occupation of Kosova by Serbia in 1990.

The (miss) usage of a single word is a signifier of how much Unknown are these Societies and issues encompassing them.

Aleksi Linnamaa, student form the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts wrote something very interesting about his experience in Prishtina, while participating the first part of the workshop.

"Even that there is no contemporary art system in Kosova, I found myself in the middle of the MOST contemporary "Art/Life/Politics" scene! This is paradoxical from the point of view of western Europe (but maybe not from the point of view of underground Finland)."

Professional artists and art-students from Finland and Norway travel to Prishtina, invited by Stacion Center for Contemporary Art to engage with, communicate and document the local art-scene and its representatives in a process that is seen as vital for Stacion in the process of mapping the potential of the scene and a process which also corresponds with similar projects initiated by project leaders Milica Tomic and Branimir Stojanovic in Helsinki, Belgrade and Zurich.

Institutional and non-institutional players, artists and issues surrounding the scene will help define a system or a non-system of the contemporary art in Kosova.

We believe that this engagement, experience with this project will help these players and the wider field to understand that there is politics of distance and separation to the dominant system of education; production an reproduction of art system is sometimes the only chance for an artist to create, curate and produce a discourse and platform for his own work.  We understand and believe that "Stacion" as a project curates this form of artistic practices.