Stefano Romano & Eri Çobo & Romeo Kodra
“... conatus is to motion as a point is to space, or as one to infinity:
it is the beginning or the end of motion.”
Tirana’s River is the large intestine of the Albanian capital. Hearing of the River of Tirana almost all Albanians, and even Tirana’s inhabitants, automatically think of the Lana River. Although the common unbearable smell can mislead, Lana is too visible, too much on the surface of the capital to be confused with the real Tirana’s River; Lana is part of the façade and currently has a heavy dose of make-up. The River of Tirana instead – which flows from the Dajti mountain, slipping between Babru, Paskuqan, etc., to become Ishmi River, then pouring into the Adriatic sea – ends up being full not only of humans excrements, but the whole garbage of the capital – a city addressed exclusively to the consumerism – enriches the range of urticant smells.
Once, a source of energy – with the hydroelectric plant “Lenin” – now, an open sewer – which discharges to the sea, like a giant gut, the feces of the Albanian capital – this river is the emblem of the radical transformation of the entire country. Moreover, always a peripheral border of the city and – until few years ago – a bathing destination for hundreds of kids in search of coolness from the hot Tirana’s summer days, now it lies lifeless in the midst of thousands of illegal buildings that densify towards the center.
In the Albanian society fifty years of forced hardship – economic, social, and cultural – inflicted by a pseudo-communist state have led to the natural omnivorous and bulimic boomerang of the pseudo-democratic transition of our days.
The two periods, however, agree on a common denominator: the condition of the Roma and Egyptians (gabelët dhe jevgjit). They are the ones who live by the “riverside” (bregu i lumit- a metonymic expression used to categorize them in Tirana). It goes back to the last century that these people are born, eat, get married, have children and die at the bank of the river. But soon this visceral population will be ejected, no one knows where, because of local reclamation.
Text by Romeo Kodra