TWO JOURNALS represents the story of LOCA (Vjosa Shala b.1977), a girl growing up in Kosovo in the late ’80s and ’90s to witness and document forms of hope, ambition, fear, loss, oppression, violence, protest, party, and punk as shaping aspects of both her and her country’s history.
The 1980s saw an ultranationalist lurch in Belgrade lead by Slobodan Milosevic which saw to dominate the Yugoslav political system, with Kosovo the symbolic focal point. By the late 80s as Serbia’s grip on Kosovo increased, so did the unrest and opposition to it. Miner's strikes of Trepca inspired protests throughout the country, which were met with an increasingly violent and lethal crackdown. The annexation of Kosovo became complete with Belgrade taking direct rule of the security of the country after it had done the same with the political and educational system, as well as the Albanian language media.
A 24-hour general strike was called and observed, and, within days, the participants had all been fired from their jobs, most of them never to return to their professions. Increasingly, as it is often observed in oppressive regimes, the only thing which seemed to work was state force and the efficiency of the arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, disappearance, murder, and just everyday frightening of the Kosovar Albanians. In the spring of 1998, the last European war of the 20th century was globally witnessed.
Realities, parallel and colliding, very intimate but also public and speaking volumes, are scrapped and glued together to bring light to an alternative chronology of this war. Lists of missing people cropped articles of intellectuals reporting police brutality, protests, uprises, police attacks, massacres, art, and performance featuring Loca herself are part of the diaries.
As much as these diaries are a testimonial of the coming of age of a young woman, they are a confluence of the private and the public—personal documentation of the everyday socio-political context, a collection of major events, and the surreal experience of growing up in an oppressive system.
By opening the journals to the public and inviting writers, academics, journalists, musicians, and other art professionals to annotate them, parallels are drawn to link their content with a broader context of time and place. The result is an exhibit that shows how deeply intertwined the private is with the public, and how consequential the influence.
You will meet unorchestrated events of war and terror, entangled with flickering signals of hope and youth, brought through flyers of underground parties and events taking place mid-war / mid-day to avoid war curfews.
The first annotators of the TWO JOURNALS platform are Elida Ramadani, Rina Krasniqi, Sezgin Boynik, Shkelzen Maliqi, Toton Pllana, Vjosa Musliu. Their annotated material launches a work in progress that seeks to connect with artists, collectives, researchers, archivists, and cultural workers.
Write to us at email@example.com with ideas about works that would be informed and/or inspired by this archive.
TWO JOURNALS by Vjosa Shala LOCA is a project in progress of Nita Deda, seeking to connect with artists, collectives, researchers, archivists, and cultural workers, in proposing new works informed and/or inspired by the material.
This online platform has been developed as part of the Heritage Space platform, which is implemented by CHwB Kosovo and funded by the Swedish Government.
TWO JOURNALS is mentored by Era Krasniqi.
Nita Deda - Head of the project
Rina Meta - Editor of the online material
Christof Nüssli - Graphic Design
Leart Rama - Video
Blerim Rracaj - Photography
Bardha Meta - Transcription
My Translation Centre - Translations
twojournals.com is designed and developed by No Plans
The journals, as well as other photographs and flyers of the times represented in this platform, will be edited and published as books in collaboration with Christof Nüssli and Christoph Oeschger / cpress.ch and Andrrat Moderne.
Special thanks to Adrian Berisha and Arjona Caraku from the Municipality of Prishtina, Dafina Morina and the National Museum of Kosovo, Blerta Ismaili, Anyla Dautaj, Dardan Zhegrova from CHwB, Urtina Hoxha, Elvira Thaçi, Gazmend Nimani, Leart Rama, Asllan Islami, Skender Xhukolli, Dritëro Krasniqi, M Club, Bardha Meta, Besa Haziri Bajgora and Ryan Sullivan for all the help in producing promotional materials and putting together the launching event.