Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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June 23, 2005
two Edis

Discovered that a good counterpart to the current New Yorker's article on Edi Rama, mayor of Tirana, Albania, are some of the various on-line articles by or about, and interviews with, Albanian artist Edi Muka.

The Muka pieces provide glimpses that track life and events in post-Enver Albania during the past several years:


First of all, we cannot talk in terms of a civil war. It never took place. I am an anarchist myself and I would never call this anarchy. . . .

The Albanian case was the consecutive failure of Europe about how to deal with the Balkans. This has to do with their strange attitude towards democracy. I would call it 'context democracy'. There is the Dutch context and a different democracy there. And they say that this is the kind of democracy that fits the Albanians. This is how they ended up supporting Berisha to the very end. This is horrible. He is a dictator. How could they close their eyes?

The constant turmoils in practically all of the Balkan countries, with the possible exclusion of Slovenia and Turkey, are reflected upon and the
concept of "permanent instability" is meant to pin-point the never-ending
process of transformation which doesn't seem to have a stable upward
mobility to better ends but rather manifests a tendency to move in a
spiral-like movement of ups and downs, periods of relative stability
alternating with recurring plunges into total chaos.


Some bloody official is jealous of Edi's efforts and accomplishments, or
somebody else wants to use the Pyramid in Tirana for a more profitable
purpose than running an alternative, foreign-thinking, troublemaker kind of
art center which can only underline the ineffectiveness of the official
cultural infrastructure.

circa 2001:

The day he heard his daughter tell the tale to her dolls, he felt his country’s story was compressed in the non understandable words of her. In an amazing way strange characters like the roost and the obscure forces, the cow and multinational force were put together, to create a wonderful story that even a Hollywood director would have loved.


Can you imagine that still some of the participants ask "how dangerous it is in Tirana" because someone had read a quotation ranking Tirana as the 8th worst city in the world (in terms of danger). That's beyond the ridiculous.

2001 (.pdf):

I think that there is a dialectical relationship between the art market system and the non art market system. They kind of need each other.


By providing Insecurity as the basis of its development, the capitalism implements it through the phenomena of the Escape. One escapes everyday from the reality and the necessity of confronting the problems that are risen, and that need to be tackled with.

I learned about Muka yesterday while researching the concept of "permanent instability." I found that phrase while reading an old introduction by Robert C. Tucker in which he said that, according to Hannah Arendt, totalitarian systems require such instability to function. "Permanent Instability" was the name of an exhibition curated by Muka. I learned about Rama by coincidence later the same day, by leafing through a copy of the New Yorker that someone left discarded on a seat on the subway.