Book Launch: Anri Sala, Chapter #1: Skanderbeg Square Tirana, 51N4EJune 28, 2018
Skanderberg Square, Tirara
Photo © Filip Dujardin
Book Launch: Anri Sala, Chapter #1: Skanderbeg Square Tirana, 51N4E
A conversation between Anri Sala and 51N4E on the relation between contemporary art and public space.
‘If I were to imagine public space as a movie, it would be one without script or cast. Its stagecraft would be exclusively intended to prompt the audience’s actions to take charge of the narrative. The camera movements would direct everyone’s gaze back to themselves.’
– Anri Sala in Chapter I: Skanderbeg Square Tirana, 51N4E, published 2017 by Ruby Press
The execution of the first phase of Skanderbeg Square took almost a decade to complete and is the result of an intense and almost ‘fusional’ collaboration. While collaborating on the design for the competition, 51N4E and Anri Sala erased the boundaries between disciplines and focused on what it means to make a public space.
The conversation will be about how this collaboration, one between ‘insider and outsider’, shows the relevance of contemporary art in conceiving what an important civic space should become. How art in public space can go far beyond resulting into an art object, but rather become an integral part of the design, intervening in the process itself.
Chapter #1 is a publication that shows the ambitious transformation of Skanderbeg Square in Tirana, Albania. The project was initiated by the then mayor of Tirana and current prime minister of Albania Edi Rama and finished under current mayor Erion Veliaj. It is the result of a collaboration between the Belgian architecture office 51N4E, the Albanian artist Anri Sala, the Belgian environmental designers Plant en Houtgoed, and the Albanian project-management company iRI. Transforming the central square of a nation that was founded only in 1912 and that is now a developing, young democracy, the project compresses all the hopes and tensions that come with that transition. With its focus on transition, this publication is the pilot of a series called Chapters, a progressive documentation of the work of the architecture office 51N4E and its collaborations with related people and practices. Every Chapter combines the presentation of one or more projects with a forward-looking reflection on the key issues that shape them. Produced progressively over the course of the next few years, the series intends to outline how 51N4E engages with contemporary society in all of its complexity.