[-empyre-] more on LHE plain text version

School of Missing Studies info at schoolofmissingstudies.net
Thu Jan 17 12:33:18 EST 2008

Here is another try including the links, but saved as plain text:

Yes, it’s very good to start with the real-life way that LHE unfolded  
in order to analyze it further. First, the planning of Lost Highway  
Expedition was a collaborative effort between Srdjan and me and also  
Ana Dzokic and Marc Neelen (Stealth group) (Rotterdam), Azra Aksamija  
(Cambridge MA and Sarajevo), Ivan Kucina (Belgrade), Marjetica Potrc  
(Ljubljana) and Kyong Park (New York, now San Diego). So this is the  
beginning point of participation and self-organization. We each  
contributed according to our interests, skills and needs of the  
project (we called ourselves ironically Centrala, playing on the old  
socialist structure to which we were adamantly not adhering). We had  
many skype meetings to come to decisions about the structure of the  
expedition (28 days, 2 days in each of 9 cities, and one day of  
travel in between), as well as some key guiding theoretical premises  
(which can be read in the introduction in the last post)

Participants included people (travelers from Europe, South America,  
and North America and also people living in the Western Balkan  
cities) who heard about the expedition through word of mouth and  
announcements that were generated by the initiators and the partners  
in each city. Participants were asked to make a project of their own  
along the expedition route (this could be private or a presentation).  
This was to keep the expedition intellectually creatively engaged,  
rather than being simply a sight-seeing exercise.

Each city had a set meeting point and time/day (usually at the  
partner organization), that was posted on the website ahead of time  
and spread by word of mouth during the expedition. People carpooled  
or took public transport together and arranged their accommodations  
themselves. Everyone paid their own way. Initiators of LHE, partner  
organizations and fellow travelers helped with tips and advice either  
online ahead of time or on the spot, but each person took  
responsibility for her/himself ultimately. I would say that this  
worked best because people felt part of a group, even while in a new  
place and really among strangers, but also had the freedom to explore  
and connect with the cities in their own ways. Participants  
spontaneously created additional activities to become part of the  
expedition—sometimes these were attended by a large group, and  
sometimes this took the form of a personal/professional project.  
People have created thousands of photographs, videos, interviews,  
books, art installations, archives, exhibitions.

Several months in advance, to plan the time in each city, we divided  
efforts. Many of us had collaborated previously (in some cases  
extensively) with organizations in the cities of the Western Balkans;  
though Tirana and Prishtina were a bit newer to us. For example  
Srdjan and I approached kuda.org in Novi Sad and press to exit  
project space in Skopje to be partners.

On the website under the “report” section http:// 
europelostandfound.net/taxonomy/term/42 are reports from the road of  
the events in each city (starting from Ljubljana at the bottom of the  
The events were a mix of pre-planned and spontaneous actions and  
outings that could be organized by any participant.

In each city the notion of ‘partner’ was interpreted freely by the  
local organization (here again the self-organization aspect). In some  
places like Zagreb, so many people are visiting, that LHE was not  
really a big event locally. But in Skopje, press to exit made the  
most of the opportunity of having an international audience to really  
show off the artistic assets of the town. They brought together art  
groups to present their work that might not otherwise work together  
(performances/classes by traditional dancers, performance at a picnic  
by Macedonian Elvis) and created a full schedule of events including  
a local artist-led tour to Shutka, the largest Roma community in the  
Balkans, a lecture by Skopje curator Suzana Milevska, etc. Also the  
artist group neurotransmitter www.neurotransmitter.fm from New York  
(Angel Nevarez and Valerie Tevere), whom Srdjan and I specifically  
invited to participate, presented their work. So there was an  
exchange of “local and visitor.”

In Novi Sad and in Podgorica, students from the architecture faculty  
prepared materials about their cities and made public presentations.  
These were unconventional mapping projects that revealed unique  
characteristics of their cities. Also in Novi Sad, Srdjan presented  
Normal Architecture Office’s project to radically preserve a local  
disused handball court to become a new media and youth recreation  
center http://www.thenao.net/NAOsk.htm to become the new home of  
kuda.org. Participants jumped the fence and had an impromptu football  
game at the stadium. Also Arnoud Schuurman, artist from Rotterdam,  
Jill Magid http://jillmagid.net/index.php (whom Srdjan and I  
specifically invited to participate), a group of new media artists  
from Barcelona rotorrr.org who traveled along the whole expedition  
route, all presented their work. Well-known underground Novi Sad  
filmmaker Zelimir Zilnik discussed his work in the context of  
“relaxed frustration” that he feels is the undercurrent of feeling in  
Novi Sad. Also, people spontaneously gathered for a swim along the  
Strand at the Danube or to visit the newly-built mega-houses in the  
Valley of the Thieves—so called because the private villas are built  
mostly with illegally gained money from the war.

Srdjan can probably address unfinished infrastructure more later….

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