Pristina, the Capital of the Youngest Nation in Europe, Will Host the 14th Edition of Manifesta

The country is recognized by only 102 of 193 United Nations member states.

The National Library of Kosovo in Pristina. Courtesy of Manifesta. Photo: Ferdi Limani.
The National Library of Kosovo in Pristina. Courtesy of Manifesta. Photo: Ferdi Limani.

Manifesta is heading to the Balkans for the first time. Today, the “European nomadic biennial” announced that its 14th edition, scheduled for 2022, will take place in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo.

Expanding on their mission to explore the shifting political and artistic landscapes of Europe, organizers selected Pristina in part because of the distinct geopolitical issues that have come to define the city—namely the privatization of urban spaces—and its role as a gateway to the Balkans.

“This fast-changing urban center at the crossroads between southern and eastern Europe will allow Manifesta 14 to investigate how contemporary culture and social practices can address the identity of a country that is as composite as it is polymorphic,” the announcements reads.

The newest nation in Europe, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. However, its status as a sovereign territory is of dispute, with only 102 of 193 UN member states recognizing its independence.

People walk past a statue of former KLA commander Adem Jashari in Skenderaj, Kosovo, on February 28, 2019. Photo: Armend NIMANI / AFP/Getty Images.

People walk past a statue of former KLA commander Adem Jashari in Skenderaj, Kosovo, on February 28, 2019. Photo: Armend NIMANI / AFP/Getty Images.

This tenuous sense of statehood was at the heart of Pristina’s proposal to the Manifesta—one of many bids the organization received from various European cities.

“As the bid proclaimed, Kosovo seems to be going through its own quiet revolution in terms of mobility,” said Hedwig Fijen, Manifesta’s director, in a statement, adding: “This freedom to move within the region has given Kosovars a new way to think about themselves, how they organise their life, and how they experience themselves in relation to the region and the world at large.”

“The cultural, legal, and political paralysis of the 1990s resulted in a loss of sense of public space and a lack of recognition for what is common,” Fijen continued. “I wish Manifesta can provide Pristina the means to reconstruct, redefine, and reclaim a radicalized and diverse public space.”

While the 14th edition of the biennial is still three years away, the next one, located in Marseille, is set to take place from June through November 2020.


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