DebatikCenter of Contemporary Art (D.C.C.A) was founded in 2003 by a group of young Albanian contemporary artists and launched the same year with a performance coinciding with the opening of the 2nd edition of the Tirana Biennale. The aim of the performance was to question the biennial concept itself, specifically the proliferation of biennials on a global scale and the illusion of openness this provided, by drawing attention to how unsustainable this growth was, especially in peripheral countries like Albania where the organisation of successive editions depended largely on personal relationships and political endorsement. For their performance the D.C.C.A worked on an imaginary pavilion in which all of the countries that were not represented in the Tirana Biennale would be included. The artists painted the flags of the non-invited countries and laid them down on the street near the main venue. The performance, titled "Brotherhood Phobia", lasted only 10 minutes, the time it took for the chaotic traffic to swallow the flags and for the imaginary pavilion to disappear.
Today, in Albania as well, the question is no longer whether institutions that might claim to be part of the global art world actually exist. The challenge now is to establish the mechanisms of inclusion – and thereby exclusion – practiced inside of these institutions as they apply to the kind of art or artists that are allowed to exhibit, the themes and venues selected, as well as the critical discourse used to support these choices. It is equally if not more important to establish the ways in which the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion practiced inside these institutions reflect the functioning of formal and informal centres of political and economic power more broadly.
In its current incarnation DebatikCenter of Contemporary Art is a nexus of academics, activists, architects, artists, imaginary and real collectives, critics, curators, journalists, translators, etc., that seek to shine a light on these practices but also offer the necessary tools to imagine alternative futures and strategies of resistance to the status quo.