SEE photography - Part 2

posted by sab on 2005/10/03 03:35

[ SEE photography ]

The Sofia-weblog on this weblog forum has a topic I enjoy very much – Sofia absurdities, with some pictures of curiosities they came across in their city. I especially enjoyed the Contemporary Art Life posting last week. And earlier on, Mira’s garbage-picture reminded me of another photo I took three years ago...

The first time I came to Prishtina, I took a few pictures of things I found, for different reasons, interesting – partly because they struck me as weird and absurd, though I’m not quite sure if these are the right words in this case...

Prishtina is a city that is hard to describe; and it sure changed a lot over the last years. There are not many pictures on the net which could give an idea of how the city looks like; Agron Max Islami has some very beautiful photos in his gallery – which is, by the way, full of interesting images, not only of his hometown Prishtina.

Before I first visited Kosovo in summer 2002, people from Prishtina would always warn me about how chaotic and “ugly” their city was – with a big smile on their face that told other stories. So I arrived there, prepared for the worst – and was surprised: chaotic, sure, and certainly not a beautiful city in the classical sense - but I immediately liked it. Still, it is very hard to capture the interesting sides of Prishtina – but worth the effort to interrupt the people-watch in Qafa’s (“The Neck”, a popular part of Prishtina) trendy young cafés and look up for a second.

Looking up at the sky and, sometimes, not breathing through your nose is maybe the only solution when confronted with the often mentioned garbage-problem in Prishtina; one among many problems UNMIK is trying to deal with. So they launched campaigns together with Guri Shkodra, a very young Albanian, and his friends (they also organized another campaign on International AIDS day in 1999). Guri and his friends impressed people in Prishtina, and that part of the plan was proudly remembered, especially by older people I talked to.

UNMIK also placed large bins in the major residential areas – as in Bregu i diellit (“Sunny hill”), where I was staying that summer and took a picture of them, wondering what the numbers on them meant – they sure weren’t assigned to the different appartement blocks, as in Austrian “Reihenhäusern”? Anyway, the garbage relief plan didn’t work too well, the bins stayed empty, garbage was still piled up in other places, so apparently, UNMIK decided to take the next step: in summer 2003, the garbage bins were painted in different colours, and “glass”, “paper” and so on was written on them (in Albanian, Serbian and English, of course). Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of this more colourful version, so there is only one before the upgrade:

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The imagineSEE-weblog is a space about ideas, images, (re)inventions and (re)constructions of and about the Balkans, from outside and within SEE.

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This is a part of the collage 'The Black File' by Croatian artist Sanja Ivekovic, who will be represented at documenta 12 (16/6-23/9) in Kassel this year.

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