Manifesta purposely strives to keep its distance from what are often seen as the dominant centres of artistic production, instead seeking fresh and fertile terrain for the mapping of a new cultural topography.

Fitore Isufi Shukriu — Koja, RKS

Prishtina is full of abandoned buildings whose value has been lost. Some twenty years after the war with Serbia, most of these “leftovers” are in a state of such morbid disrepair that their very survival is threatened.

One such building is “Marsi”. An exemplar of brutalist modernism, it was originally designed as a supermarket. Later it became a restaurant, then a nightclub before being abandoned in 2003 and privatised four years later. In 2019, Koja made it the subject of an in-depth research project as part of Foundation 17’s Metamorphosis II initiative.

Together with a group of architecture and design students, she conducted fieldwork to gather material evidence and oral histories attesting to the sociocultural significance of the building and the importance of its recuperation.

The results of their research were presented as part of a site-specific intervention comprising photographs, videos, interviews and other documents and artifacts. At the Grand Hotel Prishtina – another “leftover” worth flirting with – Koja reprises the intervention.