Sketching W. G. Sebald in Pristina In the past few years graphic novels have attracted more and more attention both in the field of literature and the visual arts. Not only do they allow for an alternative perspective on the complexities of everyday life, but because of their distinct use of two media – image and text – they also suggest how memories of the past can find new forms of expression despite their inherent blanks. This interrelation between image and text lies at the core of the project graphic, novel. Taking the works of W.G. Sebald as a point of departure, we would like to rethink the dynamics between the two mediums in the context of Pristina, eager to tackle what suggests itself as »grey areas« in the memorization process by means of graphics and text. Also W. G. Sebald famously utilized in his work both image and text in order to find a momentary equilibrium between otherwise hazy or fragmented recollections, personal memories and, at times, ineffable events. However, similar to the grid-like structure of a Graphic Novel, the merging of image and text in W. G. Sebald’s work produces an »excess of meaning«, which cannot be fully resolved. The workshop graphic, novel. takes this relationship between W.G. Sebald’s work and graphic novels as a starting point to enhance an in-depth study on how to access memory through image and text. It aims at taking the potential of the literary and graphic elements of graphic novels further by drawing on the author’s »poet(h)ic of remembering«, but also by the direct encounter with and research into the environment the workshop is set in. The participants are invited to creatively delve into yet unprecedented graphic-novelist techniques, sketching what has been lost, what is to be retrieved, and how to conjoin the missing bits and contradictions of recent local history. Being an initiative from Pristina, the subject-matter from where to explore those techniques is the city and its (in-)visible histories. Therefore, additional to the seminars, the workshop will have a closer look at the matter and the surfaces of the city. Archival documents, found photographs, oral history and walks through the city will form a central part of the research and of the elaboration of a new graphic novel by means of visual and literary expressions. Throughout the workshop, the participants are invited to work on a chosen context presented to them in the city of Pristina. The results of the workshop will be shown in a group exhibition during the polip on 11th of May, 2012.
MATHIS ECKELMANN | (born 1982) studied Sociology and Peace and Conflict studies in Marburg (Lahn). In 2010, he finished his studies with the Magister Artium in Marburg. In the course of his Masters Thesis “Photography as an academic source: Images of forced workers and Germans during National Socialism” he dealt with issues of remembrance and pictorial representation in photography. Currently he is living in Berlin, engaging himself in questions on politics, social theory, arts and comics.
ZGJIM ELSHANI | (born 1990) studies Graphic Design at the University of Pristina in Kosovo. He currently works as graphic designer at the design company “Trembelat”. One of his most recent projects includes the illustration of some of Pristina’s most iconic buildings for the very first edition of the magazine “Lirindja”.
MINA FINA | (Mina Žabnikar, born 1978) graduated in Visual Communications at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana in 2002. She is a freelance graphic designer who gives priority to issues of book and magazine design. Under the monicker of Mina Fina she explores drawing, animation and video, especially live VJ-ing. Since 2008, she is a member of “Grupa Ee” design collective. She lives and works between Ljubljana and Berlin.
CHRISTINA GRANSOW | (born 1980) studied Illustration at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. She lives and works in Hamburg as a freelance illustrator and artist. Her narrative work appeared in anthologies like “Orang”, “Strapazin” or “PlusPlus”. Her drawings and animation videos were shown in exhibitions and festivals such as at the Trancepop Gallery, Kyoto; enblanco Projektraum, Berlin; and the Laterna Magica Filmfestival, Marseille.
JELLE KINDT | (born 1981 in Antwerp) studied Illustration and Comic Design at Sint-Lukas, Brussels. He lives and works in Antwerp as illustrator and comic book artist. Jelle debuted with the short story “Het manneke aan den draad” (2011) published by “Strip Turnhout” in the comic magazine “Stripgids”, Belguim. In 2012 he won a prize for emerging illustrators “Goed voor druk” (VIF and Deleeswelp). Meanwhile, Jelle made cartoons for the Flemish newspaper “De Standaard” (2011), made illustrations for the music magazine “Gonzo-Circus” (2011) and illustrated poems for “QP5” published by “Querido” (2012) in Holland.
NEVEN MISALJEVIĆ | (born 1979) studied Political Sciences and Journalism in Sarajevo. He is the co-founder of “Zvukovina Noise Records” (since 2007) and editor of “Stripnjak graphic Fanzine/Books” (since 2012), a non-profit label dedicated to audio and visual perversions, a merciless and brutal, yet honest presentation of empty truths easily swallowed due to the sheer ignorance of modern life. He currently works on various politically and culturally critical graphic essays and short comics.
GERTA OPARAKU | (born 1980 in Tirana) studied Art Direction and Costume Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana. She lives and works in Tirana as a costume designer such as for the film “Tirana Blue” (working title), for which she was also involved as PA and translator during the post-production phase. She spends her free time working on personal projects as comic book writer and illustrator, and has been invited to a number of festivals in Kosovo and Macedonia to present her work.
ESTER VANHOUTTE | (born 1985) studied Animation, Comics and Illustration at the Sint-Lukas University College of Art and Design, Brussels. She currently travels the world and makes short comics about the cities she gets to live in.
The Workshop is led by:
UTE FRIEDERICH | (born 1984) studied German and English philology in Bonn and Aberdeen. In 2009, she accomplished her studies with the Magister Artium in Bonn. Her Masters thesis “Komik – Comic. Comical elements in the work of Franz Kafka and their visual translations in graphic novels.” was awarded the Roland-Faelske-Prize for comic and animation films. She is currently working on her dissertation on trauma, remembrance and montage in the oeuvre of W. G. Sebald and in a selection of graphic novels.
BARBARA YELIN | (born 1977 in Munich) studied Illustration at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. She lives and works in Berlin as illustrator and comic book artist. Recent graphic novels include “Le Visiteur” (2004), “Le Retard” (2006), both published by Actes Sud/Editions de L’An 2, and “Gift” (2010, with Peer Meter) published by Reprodukt. Since 2005 she is co-editor and contributor of SPRING, the annual magazine of women illustrators and comic artists. From 2010 to 2011, she was commissioned to run a series of comic workshops in Cairo on behalf of the Goethe-Institute Cairo. In the winter semester 2011/12 she taught as a visiting professor at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar in Saarbrücken (Germany) the seminar “Comics and Graphic Novels”.
Graphic, Novel. Sketching W.G. Sebald in Pristina is organized by Elisabeth Desta/ Qendra Multimedia and Sonja Lau/ Tirana Art Lab – Center for Contemporary Art. The project is supported by Goethe Institut Belgrad and Deutschzentrum Tirana.