January 31, 2022 | Monday

Reconnection 2.0 serving as a net between artists from Kosovo and Serbia

Writes: Aurela Kadriu – Projects Coordinator, Qendra Multimedia

Reconnection 2.0 is a three-year programme that seeks to build cultural cooperation and cultural exchange between Kosova and Serbia. With the support of the European Union, through exchanges in a variety of theater and cultural fields, the partners thrive to foster better dialogue and communication between the two societies.

The three-year programme is curated in such a way as to provide the audiences from both countries with opportunities to get to closely know the cultural offers of both countries with a focus on theater productions. Every year of implementation, each partner is in charge of organizing translations of plays and non-fiction books as well as exchanging theatrical productions, organizing literary and theatrical discussions, artists residencies and many other public events in Prishtina, Belgrade and other cities in Kosovo and in Serbia.

For almost two years since Reconnection 2.0 has officially kicked off, we have been able to expand our already existing annual events, Kosovo Theatre Showcase, respectively HFestival. In the first year of implementation, in the Kosovo Theatre Showcase, Qendra Multimedia hosted Balava – a Heartefact Fund theatre production in Prishtina and Ferizaj – the latter hosting a Serbian theatre production for the first time ever in two decades. During that edition, we also organized a discussion with Jasna Duricic and Mirjana Karanovic, two renowned Serbian actresses who were active during the time of former Yugoslavia as well, thus providing the audience with insights on what it meant to be an actress at that time and how has that role been reinvented into the new circumstances in the region and in the world. That same year, HFestival served as an important platform of cultural exchange. A few important discussions on the commonalities and challenges of Kosovan and Serbian societies took place featuring panelists – journalists, writers, artists – from both countries.

In 2022, Balkan Bordello, a Qendra Multimedia’s co-production with La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club (New York); Atelje 212 (Belgrade) and My Balkans (New York / Belgrade) was hosted in Belgrade. The theatre performance depicting a familiar reality for the Balkans – that of post-war societies and the perception of war returnees as heroes – attracted a wide media coverage in Belgrade, thus raising important discussions for both societies.

In these two years of Reconnection 2.0 existence as a platform for cultural exchange, books were translated and published, young authors as well as well-established authors from both countries were translated into Albanian, respectively into Serbian, with the purpose of providing audiences from both countries with access and insights into what topics are currently hot and intriguing both respective societies.

Reconnection 2.0 artistic residencies are also an important pillar of the three-year programme. In 2021, we worked into curating what we referred to as “engaged residencies”, through which we did not only host artists from both countries, but worked closely with them and used our existing programs as platforms for these artists to exhibit their work. While Milica Denkovic exhibited her visual pieces as well as poems during the eleventh edition of polip – International Literature Festival, literary works and a performances of Agon Rexhepi and Dardan Zhegrova were an enriching contribution to the Belgrade Pride in 2021.

Reconnection 2.0 will continue serving as a nest for artists from both countries to produce, raise questions and become central agents of fostering a bottom-up approach towards creating a healthy, sustainable and long-term cultural exchange platform.