• Are you a tourist or a traveler?
Are you a tourist or a traveler?

Are you a tourist or a traveler?
Guest artist: Vigan Nimani

Curatorial by Albert Heta

Opening: 12 July 2011, 20:00
12 July 2011 - 6 August 2011

'Are you a tourist, or a traveler?' is a guidebook into 'Politics of Contemporary Art', a complex project designed to function as a platform that would explore and test the power of the contemporary art scene in the context of new realities and newborn states, as well as the expanded function of art during and after political crisis and collapse of a system.

'Are you a tourist, or a traveler?' made its first appearance at Viennafair 2011, alongside with the work in photography by Qendrese Deda. This solution was unique in many ways. For its appearance in the context where it is created, 'Are you a tourist, or a traveler?', is scrutinized by a woman standing in silence in her balcony of a building dressed in architecture and colors that are expelled from this city.

This painting, a work by Vigan Nimani, positioned in this exhibition and in relation to the present moment in time, is also seen as the lonely observer to the reality and audience to the discussions on artworks, artists presentations and positions presented through video documentation and the publication 'Are you a tourist, or a traveler?'.

'Are you a tourist, or a traveler?' is a guidebook.
How can we be of use to you? Are you a tourist, or a traveler? Was it a free gift? Where are the thinkers? Is this censorship? Who are the heroes? Who do you attack? Are you for sale? Are you loved? So how does it work? Can we do it? Are you translating? Why do you write about this art if you have other concerns? What do the Balkans mean in America? But the question is: which history? are some of the questions of 'Politics of Contemporary Art' (Sept. 2008 - Feb. 2009) and the publication 'Are you a tourist, or a traveler?' as one of the products of this project.

The structure of this publication is based on a functional architecture constructed with transcripts of papers, presentations and discussions produced during 'Politics of Contemporary Art' and the interview by Martin Glaser with Rene Block produced in 2003 for the exhibition catalogue of the exhibition 'In den Schluchten des Balkan', presented by Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel.

This publication is only one part of the vast documentation of this project.

'Are you a tourist, or a traveler?' includes presentations of papers, artworks, positions and discussions with Suzana Milevska, Nebojsa Milikic, Nita Luci, Marko Miletic, Axel Wieder, Lillian Fellman and Wooloo Prodoctions, Tihomir Topuzovski, Sebastjan Leban, Marko Markovic, Nadja Leuba, Danilo Prnjat, Artan Balaj with contributions in discussions by Aleksadar Boskovic, Ramiro Camelo, Paola Daniolo, Flaka Haliti, Agon Hamza, Milot Hasimja, Albert Heta, Fitore Isufi - Koja, Stas Kleindienst, Sara Kelmendi, Eremira Krasniqi, Lura Limani, Besa Luci, Arif Muharremi, Fatmir Mustafa, Vala Osmani, Stefano Romano, Dardan Selimaj, Branimir Stojanovic and Milica Tomic.

Contextualizing this publication within our work, we must keep in mind that that this work is published by a platform physically functioning in an isolated in Europe by Europe and in a country with only few bold enough to remember and speak about the past beyond histories fabricated by hegemonies in power; a whole region contaminated by state politics in art, censorship, self-censorship, populism and political correctness exercised by media hyped mainstream players in art and society; and Europe which through its contemporary colonial games exercised in Kosova has created the notion of Europe for those that are not allowed to enter.
As a result, it is ironical to see that, not only standard politicians, but also more and more contemporary art players are willing to take part, negotiate, accept and normalize contemporary fascism, colonialism, war, and genocide fro the sake of having access to capital and Europe.

But what was 'Politics of Contemporary Art' in real time? Quoting a part of the discussions that are not part of this publication:

'Agon Hamza: ... Let me go back to Kozev and quote a very nice sentence on how a monster is constituted and then I will proceed further. Kozev says the monster is related to the following two constituting elements: on the one hand to a thing taken as such, for example the object of desire and on the other hand to the consciousness for which thingness is essential entity. But, I think the proper Leninist question to be posed here with respect to European desire is that of ... desire for what? This is the twist to be added. Europe in its political configuration from colonialism onwards, functioned on identifying its other and identifying itself through them and, of course positioning themselves in a higher position, they always needed Jews or the third world, or Muslims, Christian orthodoxy and so on. They end up either in their self-determined mission of civilization, which is colonialism, or feeling sympathetic for the others' political, cultural or economic situation. For Europe, the Balkans stands as a cultural and political remnant of despotic, oriental, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Therefore the Balkans stands as a cultural concept not as a geographical entity; Europe needs the Balkans to guarantee not only its economic and political but its cultural hegemony, as well. Now to conclude, in the late nineteen thirties Max Horkheimer said that those who don't want to talk about capitalism should remain silent about fascism, the same goes for the Balkans and Europe. Those who don't want to talk critically about Europe should remain silent about the Balkans'

End of quote.

And to use the conclusion by Agon Hamza, voiced during 'Politics of Contemporary Art', I will say that those who don't want to talk critically about themselves should remain silent about the other.

Albert Heta
July 2011

'Are you a tourist, or a traveler?' is based on a statement by Ramiro Camelo.
Cover image of the publication 'Are you a tourist, or a traveler?': Qendrese Deda and Astrit Ismaili, 2009.
'Politics of Contemporary Art' was initiated by Albert Heta and Vala Osmani.

Are you a tourist, or a traveler? will be distributed for free for the duration of the exhibition 'Are you a tourist or a traveler?' at Stacion - Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina.
Stacion - Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina supports Free Education.

Vigan Nimani (1981) was born in Prishtina. Lives and works in Prishtina. Has graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts, The Department of Painting, University of Prishtina.

His solo and groups exhibitions include:
Book Shop '1001', Prishtina, 1995
Postpesimists art club, Prishtina, 1996
Coffe Shop Odenon, Prishtina, 1998
Gallery 'A', Prishtina, 2001
Gallery 'Evergreen', Peja, 1996
'Seling Exhibition for Humanitarian Destination', National Theatre, Prishtina, 2001
'Portrait', The Kosova Art Gallery, Prishtina, 2003
'Artists of Tomorrow', The Kosova Art Gallery, Prishtina, 2005
'To be a kunstler you have to arbaiten', Rizoma Contemporary Art Space, Prishtina, 2007
'Art is not a mirror, it's a hammer', Rizoma Contemporary Art Space, Prishtina, 2007
'Amsterdam', Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, 2007
'Rezidenca #3', TICA, Tirana, 2007.

'Politics of Contemporary Art' was supported by The European Culture Foundation, Kosova Foundation for Open Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia - Division for International Culture Relations, German Embassy in Prishtina, Goethe Institute Belgrade, Grand Hotel Prishtina and DZG Design Architecture and Advertising Agency.