4 July 2022
Hotel Tirana, Metropol Room

Curated by: Sonja Lau
With: Ataol Kaso (author of the poem "Vulnerable Living in Tirana")

THE PRESS CONFERENCE is a public announcement of a Readymade-state-of-mind, which lies at the basis of our actions and interventions, and which gives shape to MANIFESTO Hijacking as a whole.

The Readymade-state-of-mind is no fiction. Social and political “scenarios” of various kinds are leaking out onto the streets on a daily basis, “performances” of power manifest themselves uncommissioned and unsolicited, and bodies traverse the city in a manner akin to living, as restlessly wandering Readymades. Tangibly, a new form of unauthorized “art” is present in urban and rural Albania – a state of the arts that is not constituted by paint or matter, but by situations and phenomena from daily life, which carry the signature of power itself. Dismissed by the eye of the critic and the international art world at large, clearly, the production of new frames and sharp augmentation lenses remains urgently needed. The choice of Hotel Tirana as the site of THE PRESS CONFERENCE, and the choice of a press conference as a site of art, is intrinsically related to this aforementioned urgency.

At the core of THE PRESS CONFERENCE is a textual work with a distinctively editorial character: the poem "Vulnerable Living in Tirana" (“Vulnerabël jeton në Tiranë,” by Ataol Kaso) suggests a specific rendering of the infamous “Patronazhistët” files that were leaked prior to the past elections. At the time, these files did not only provide evidence of state surveillance and the appropriation of personal information for political ends. They also entailed – incidentally – somber bonds, between the observed and the observer, the patron and its subject, indicating a shared vulnerability in terms of bodies governed by a power structure that itself remains far out of reach. The poem "Vulnerable Living in Tirana” that results from these files goes a step further. It considers the political scandal of the leaked information as a “state script” of sorts, a somber form of art, that requires its own artistic response. THE PRESS CONFERENCE serves as Kaso's first performative presentation of his work, inaugurating the MANIFESTO Hijacking series.

The Readymade-state-of-mind is a dangerous sort of mind. One of its crucial dangers, as THE PRESS CONFERENCE will show, is its production of a new form of speech.

by Ataol Kaso
Curated by Sonja Lau