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.

Vangjush Vellahu, AL

De facto states are the subject of this multi-channel video installation by Vangjush Vellahu. Often using a small hidden camera in his research-based practice, Vellahu filmed six troubled territories over a period of two years: Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, South Ossetia and Kosovo.

All six political entities were born of conflict; their landscapes, buildings and people bear the scars of their violent beginnings. To this day, the states are yet to achieve the autonomy they sought upon secession. International recognition proves similarly elusive.

Vellahu’s incisive videos document the palpable tension between volatility and stagnation, frustration and transformation experienced by the people who live in these unstable conditions. The protagonists of his studies tell the stories that cut across their land and map out their visions of what might be.