[-empyre-] wounds of war and capitalism

Ana Valdés agora158 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 18 11:41:03 EST 2008

I am writing an essay about my visit to the Gaza stripe. To explore
Gaza was useful for me have been before in Colombia and Mexico and
have the experience of the Farc gerilla and the zapatistas. I found
all those zones very articulated in what Hakim Bey describes as TAZ,
Temporary Autonomous Zones. Places where the central authority is weak
and the people duelling in the zone take over the administration and
creates pockets of resistance and self-organization.
I don't know if these pattern can be used in the Balkans (my only
experience of the region is a workshop in Ljubljana with the people of
Kuda in the Ljudmila hacker laboratory), my Bosnian friends tell me it
happened in Sarajevo during the war.


On Jan 17, 2008 11:55 PM, School of Missing Studies
<info at schoolofmissingstudies.net> wrote:
> It's interesting, these last few days I feel like we're taking a
> journey back into the expedition itself.
> These questions about wounds and healing...when I first started
> working with artists in this region more than ten years ago, even at
> that point they were all saying we're over it, the war is behind us,
> we're moving on. That was true, and yet at the same time, it's still
> not over ten years later with the issue of Kosovo's independence.
> The lingering effects of war and also the transition to capitalism
> plays out very differently in each city. One of the things we wanted
> to learn more about during Lost Highway Expedition was the
> differentiation amongst the cities and how people in each place saw
> themselves/their city in relation to the others on the route. This
> turned out to be really exciting.
> We started out with some crude but telling "characteristics" of the
> cities that we then investigated more when we were on the road
> Ljubljana: Autonomous Zones
> Zagreb: Solidification
> Novi Sad: Recreation
> Skopje: Solidarity
> Prishtina: Parallelism
> Tirana: Extra-Legality
> Podgorica: Independence
> Sarajevo: Experimental Islands
> In fact these issues of primary concern for each city are exactly how
> the wounds of war or the wounds of the transition to capitalism are
> playing out differently in each place.
> For example, all over the Western Balkans there has been a lot of
> illegal building in the past decade. Particularly in Sarajevo we
> visited Hotel Saraj and Azra Aksamija organized a conversation
> between the hotel owner and a city official. These two had met many
> times before because the owner built the building illegally on a
> coveted spot overlooking the old part of Sarajevo, and some call it a
> horrible eyesore. The city official had been working through and
> against the labyrinthine bureaucracy to tear the building down. So is
> this entrepeneurship at its worst—those with money imposing their
> will on the rest? Or is it simply freedom of expression that the old
> socialist bureaucracy needs to adapt to accommodate?
> Another very exciting aspect about LHE was that some people who live
> in one city took the opportunity to travel to another city, in some
> cases for the first time since the war, or for the first time ever.
> Some of these great crossovers were Belgrade-Prishtina, Ljubljana-
> Podgorica, Podgorica-Sarajevo. So this started to create a new kind
> of "off road" connection, if we think of its spatial layout.
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