Petrit Halilaj. Shkrepëtima
Music by ANDRRA
House of Culture, Runik, Skenderaj (Kosovo)
7 July 2018, 9:00 pm
This performance is part of the three part project Shkrepëtima. Two exhibitions, curated by Leonardo Bigazzi, will follow at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern (20 July 2018 – 19 August 2018) and the Fondazione Merz, Turin (29 October 2018 – 3 February 2019)
Shkrepëtima is a performance created and directed by artist Petrit Halilaj, produced by Hajde! Foundation in collaboration with Fondazione Merz, that will take place on July 7th at 9:00 pm, in front of the ruins of the former House of Culture in Runik, Skenderaj. Involving over 30 actors and musicians, the event represents Halilaj’s first major intervention in a public space.
In Albanian, Shkrepëtima means “flash”, “lightning bolt” or “a sudden and intense feeling. Shkrepëtima was also the title of a multiethnic magazine created in the 70s and 80s by teachers and students of Runik. Petrit Halilaj created a performance that functions as a spark, a Shkrepëtima, seeking to initiate cultural awareness and social transformation in his community. During the Yugoslav-era, the House of Culture in Runik operated a library of around 7000 books, a theatre, and the farmers cooperative. Having been very active until the political situation deteriorated in the 90s, the building was closed and stripped of all its contents during the war. The structure was left in a state of total abandonment until Halilaj, together with his team, members of the community, and in collaboration with CHwB Kosovo, cleaned and secured the site in order to host the event.
The stage will be animated by moving sculptures, lights and an exceptional scenography created by Halilaj from the actual ruins of the building and inspired by the collective memory of Runik citizens. Shkrepëtima will bring back fragments from some of the most prominent Albanian plays that were performed in the theater by amateur actors during the 80s: Our Land (Kolë Jakova, 1954), Mountain Lass (Loni Papa, 1967), Nita (Josip Rela, 1968) and The Revenge (Jusuf Kelmendi, 1966). The fragments were selected by Halilaj because they represent significant issues related to the Albanian collective social identity. These will be performed by actors Donikë Ahmeti, Edlir Gashi, Tristan Halilaj, Rrezarta Haziraj, Qendresë Kajtazi, Bislim Muçaj, Agnes Nokshiqi, Behie Murtezi, Ermal Sadiku, Edon Shileku, and Alketa Sylaj. The play will end with a concert by ANDRRA (Fatime Kosumi), a musician of Kosovar origin, whose work revolves around the impact of heritage and tradition on modern society. Her debut EP, 2017’s Palinë, tackles issues of child marriage and female oppression, an ongoing problem in Kosovo, drawing heavily on folk lyrics and the personal stories of the women of her family. Additionally, ANDRRA and Christoph Hamann, in collaboration with Petrit Halilaj, composed an original musical score for the performance using the sound of ocarina as well as bricks, glasses, tiles and other materials found amongst the ruins of the theater.
The event is a result of Halilaj’s extensive research on the history of Runik, from its Neolithic origins to its recent past. Among numerous artifacts that were found during the excavations between 1968 and 1983, is the Runik Ocarina, the oldest musical instrument ever discovered in the Balkans. In an effort to raise awareness about this history among younger generations, in May, Hajde! Foundation, in collaboration with the Fondazione Merz Education Department, organized the workshop “Si Okarina e Runikut,” in the “Shotë Galica” school in Runik. During the four day workshop, students had the opportunity to expand their knowledge on the history and music produced by this instrument, in addition to crafting their own personalized ocarinas.
This performance is part of a three part project developed for the Mario Merz Prize, an international biennial prize founded by Fondazione Merz. Two exhibitions, curated by Leonardo Bigazzi, will follow at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern (20 July 2018 – 19 August 2018) and the Fondazione Merz, Turin (29 October 2018 – 3 February 2019). A catalogue with the research, photo documentation and the artistic results of the whole project will be published by hopefulmonster.
Born in Kostërc (Kosovo) in 1986, Petrit Halilaj lives and works between Germany, Kosovo and Italy. His work has been shown in several solo exhibitions including the New Museum in New York, Hangar Bicocca in Milano, Kölnischer Kunstverein in Köln, at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, the National Gallery of Kosovo, Pristina; as well as in group shows at the 57th Venice Biennale (where he received the special mention of the jury), Fondazione Merz in Turin, Palais de Tokyo in Paris and Palazzo Grassi in Venice. Petrit Halilaj was the first artist to represent Kosovo at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.
Hajde! Foundation was founded by artist Petrit Halilaj and conceived as a versatile and fluid platform dedicated to support and promote a new generation of artists from Kosovo. Hajde! aspires to develop, expand and grow with artists and art organizations on local, regional, and international levels by constantly forging new creative links.
Shkrepëtima is produced by Hajde! Foundation and Fondazione Merz, and is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Kosovo; Culture For Change, an EU funded project managed by the EU Office in Kosovo and implemented by Qendra Multimedia and Goethe-Institute; the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport; the Municipality of Skenderaj, ChertLüdde (Berlin) and kamel mennour (Paris and London). Further support was provided by Raven City Production Sh.P.K. (Kosovo) and T4Media Dooel (Macedonia); Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB Kosovo)