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.

PykëPresje, RKS

In the mid-1970s, British experimental composer Dave Smith began travelling from England to Albania. Inspired by fellow composer and communist Cornelius Cardew, who never actually visited the country, Smith sought inspiration in the music and social structures to be found there.

On his travels, he collected sound samples and sheet music from many sources. Folk, contemporary and revolutionary music were all of interest to him. These influences gave rise to the album Albanian Summer: An Entertainment which was performed by Janet Sherbourne and Jan Steele.

Released on the Practical Music label in 1984, the album is at the centre of PykëPresje’s long-term research project of the same name. Aside from the music, what interests the collective are the conditions and context of the album’s evolution. Like Smith, who sought to reflect not only Albania’s vibrant music culture but also its egalitarian modes of production, PykëPresje seeks a more nuanced understanding of the legacy of socialist practice.