“The Merchant of the Skeletons”. For Venice Art Biennial 2017.

20161201_113208The idea of “The Merchant of the Skeletons” comes from the parodied title of Kasëm Trebeshina, an author that, as Roland Barthes would say, has “ransomed with his death the birth of the reader”[1]. However, despite the hope of Roland Barthes, the history has demonstrated that the death of the author, and trebeshinian self-exclusion, did not brought the birth of the reader, who apparently died or has been killed in the cradle by the media bombing and obtuse propaganda.

The void left by the nietzschean God’s death and the barthesian Author’s death is occupied by a creature that Michel Foucault called the “author-function”, which “is characterized by th[e] plurality of egos” and “is tied to the legal and institutional systems[2]“. This plurality of egos is a characteristic of despotic figures of the neoliberal power, which is promoted increasingly by the legal and institutional systems in power.

This situation, where the system fabricates more and more “authors-functions”, with their pluralities of egos to catalyze more and more consensus for itself and the status quo, in Albanian context has been and continues to be avant-garde. In this manner to maintain the coherence with the Albanian avant-garde, the concept for this proposal is around the trebeshinian “The Merchant of the Skeletons”, which will present with dignity the contemporary Albania in the Art Biennial of Venice 2017.

The exhibition’s space will consist in a semi-circular “skeleton” of a bunker with a 6m diameter, which has only 50cm concrete basement from which come out curved steel bars which arrive in the axial wall that interrupts the circularity of the bunker. This skeleton bunker, without exits, closed in its incommunicable nudity, in the trebeshinian sense, will symbolize the accentuate exoticism of Albanian past through contemporary arts.

Within the skeleton bunker, pending from the arcade steel bars, will be, irregularly composed, the bones of Arbër Elezi’s work “Bones From The Sky”. They will symbolize, maintaining the same grotesque spirit, the continuation of the death or the killing of the contemporary illiterate readers in their cradles and their perpetual ironic destiny between concrete, iron and unattainable bones.

On the bunkers’ basis, in front of the wall, would be collocated a video projecting on the wall, through the pending bones, the Lori Lako’s work “Oktapodi”/”Octopus” and another trebeshinian video made specifically for the Biennial, where the focus will be the Albanian Capital, Tirana.

The methodology is also inspired by the trebeshinian[3] and Albanian polyphony, through the cluster-ton[4] of which will be materialized in the exhibition’s space where do not exist artists, curators or directors of the group and the showcased works are only fragment, interruptions of egos synthesized temporarily in occasion of the international event which is supposed to promote once more positively the “role of the artists” in the big international scene.

[1] “[T]he birth of the reader must be ransomed by the death of the Author” is the last sentence of Roland Barthes’ The Death of the Author, published in 1967 in “Aspen Magazine”.

[2] Michel Foucault, Language, in Counter-memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews, What is an author?, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 1977, pg. 130.

[3] See in Kasëm Trebeshina Një ditë në natën pa fund (Dafina e thara), Kujtime – ese, Buzuku, Prishtina, Kosovo, August, 2016.

[4] It is the basic tone of the Albanian iso-polyphony (see in Vaso Tole – Enciklopedia e muzikës popullore shqiptare).

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