Literature in the era of ‘cancel culture’
(A discussion about identity politics and the consequences for literature)
In recent times two issues have dominated public discourse, especially in the West: All identities have the same right to exist and to be treated equally, but sometimes the interests of certain groups appear to be in opposition to one other. Does taking a critical stance against an opinion with which we disagree constitutes “cancel culture”?
This raises the question: What is the relationship between freedom and freedom of expression, and when does the freedom of expression of one group threaten the freedom of another group?
Where does artistic freedom end and when does the necessity of being ‘politically correct’ begin in artistic creation? And can an artistic work be considered as ‘good’ if it overlooks the link between creative freedom and politically correctness? Can there be good literature that goes against these principles and that challenges this connection and these boundaries, which oftentimes are invisible? What is the border between creative freedom – who determines that border – and has this border been eroded or reinforced by the ‘era’ of ‘cancel culture’? Does art require an ‘ideological guardian?’ On the other hand, how are we supposed to ask for accountability from artists who abuse and hide behind their ‘creative freedom’. Peter Handke attempts to hide his fascist viewpoints towards the war in Bosnia behind ‘literature’ or as he puts it, ‘everything is literature’.
The debate is far from over. The protests against JK. Rowling, who was accused of transphobia for making fun of the term “people who menstruate”, saw angry trans activists burning her books, the author opposed on all sides. Doesn’t it limit the author’s freedom to attack her in this way? Hadn’t she been free to say these things in the first place? Who decided that? Are those who attack her on the Right or on the Left? Is burning books now a valid method of protest? And who decides this?
The Austrian cabaret artist and author Lisa Eckhart, who according to many critics uses anti-Semitic and racist stereotypes, was excluded from a festival in Hamburg because there was allegedly danger of violent protests by the radical Left. This was condemned as hindering the freedom of art and freedom of expression in general, but the debates about “cancel culture” often started on the Right, with the Left accused of displaying an allegedly anti-democratic attitude.
It is suggested that an excess of political correctness from the Left leads to the prevention of freedom, but under the guise of this freedom, the Right pushes the boundaries of what can be said. This often results in historical revisionism, racism, and anti-Semitism. “We will be allowed to say it” has become the rallying cry of populists and the Right, often used deliberately to spread anti-feminist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and xenophobic slogans.
How do we, as writers, deal with these problems without restricting freedom of expression and without being offensive to other people who do not belong to this assumed “we”?
We live in an era of identities. Identity has overshadowed the notion of class, without bringing economic benefit: A small minority of people are still enormously rich and the rest enormously poor, and this division exists on a global level as well as within societies. The debate about identities shifts the focus from the economic to the cultural.
What are the consequences of these discussions for literature? Can an author who is not a lesbian write a novel from the perspective of a lesbian? A white man from the perspective of a black man? Would Shakespeare be allowed to write Othello today? Can straight actors play gay main characters in the theatre? Is it permissible to declare anti-Semitic slogans to be literature in the name of freedom of speech? May an author lie about historical facts in his work? How can one know whether it is part of an artistic process or ideological propaganda? Who is responsible for analyzing this? The debate in Western countries about who is allowed to translate US poet Amanda Gorman’s work showed how serious the question of identities is in comparison to, for example, theories of translation and literary reception.
At the Polip International Literature Festival 2021 we want to reflect both on the experiences of the Balkan countries and place them in the context of these global discussions.
We are thrilled to announce the dates for this year’s edition of polip – International Literature Festival. The 11th edition of polip will take place between 10-13 September, 2021.We will host this year’s edition in accordance with conditions emerging in relation to the COVID_19 pandemic. For details related to this year’s format and program, follow us on our website www.qendra.org as well as on our social media profiles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
See you in September!
photo: Jetmir Idrizi, polip 2015
CHANGE YOUR LANGUAGE!
Linguists with expertise in endangered languages agree that more than half of all world languages are going to disappear, and that humanity is at a turning point in history given that the majority of world languages will most likely become extinct in the next two generations. Authors who use language for creating parallel worlds agree that the language they use in their literary works is the best one to express their deepest turmoil. Politicians consider the language they use on a daily basis (including English,used for official international communication) as the best sign system for resolving the issues their respective electorates encounter. The language(s) of mass media and social networks are becoming ever more dominant and it sometimes seems as if they actually shape our reality; these languages are in fact codes, comprising photographs, montage and message(s), with the visual aspect becoming a significant element of such languages. On the other hand, during this year the COVID-19 pandemic obliterated one crucial dimension from the human communication– namely, live personal contact, in which non-verbal expression and body language play an extremely important role.With the direct human contact diminished, the internet codes are becoming an even more omnipresent power, gaining frightening dominance.
The language used in literature and the one utilized in politics or the one employed by media and social networks, on the other hand, have never been the same. These are usually seemingly similar communication systems, but it always turns out in the end that the differences between them are substantial. There is a particularly significant difference between a kind of literature which strives to critically examine and reflect on our times, even during the pandemic, and politics. For this kind of literature to exist at all, it had to make its own language shift,especially in post-conflict zones, as was the case with the post-Yugoslav countries. The literature that has emerged in this region since the 1990s (and especially after the year 2000)has started a quiet revolution in discourse while attempting to distance itself from the 1980s literary production, which became way too close to the militaristic narratives of the mainstream politics. If the linguists, who deal with language extinction and language change, addressed this issue they would be able to notice a profound change in the use of language. This positive development in reshaping of the literary language is currently disrupted, and forcefully altered by the radical intrusion of the COVID-19 virus into the everyday spoken interactions, which are marked by the restrictive measures: social distancing reduced contacts, contact less communication, online mediation of experiences. Conversely, the new language, which emerged by re-ordering of priorities, re-shaping of discourse and imagination in the post-conflict zone of former Yugoslavia, additionally brought about a new sense of life and a desire for connecting in solidarity with authors, not only from the Balkans but also from around the world. It is this new feeling that we try to build our festival around, deeply believing in the importance of bringing together authors, both regionally and internationally, whose authentic languages are set against the flood of the often very problematic public discourses.
The language of politics in the post-Yugoslav societies remained rather trapped in the past, not having the capacity to even validly describe the issues those societies have been facing (not to mention that resolving them is impossible if we are unable to even name the problems). Limited vocabulary, rigid use of grammar with frequent use of polite form of address, as the only signifier of the pro-European agenda, have led to the exhaustion of possibilities for solving deep political problems. The change of language is the only viable form of the system’s reform. Not speaking like we spoke yesterday – not writing like we wrote the day before yesterday – means not thinking like we did in all those past decades. Is this leap forward possible? This question is particularly pertinent for writers and literary festival Polip has certainly been one of the dynamic answers to this question over the last nine years.
In its tenth jubilee year our festival, like the rest of the world, is facing an additional dilemma – how to transform the language so that it can enable deeper and more meaningful communication during the COVID-19 pandemic? We decided to adapt the presentation format to the new situation: local writers from Pristina and all those who can reach Pristina easily will read on the open-air stage, while writers from abroad and all those who are unable to travel because of the pandemic will partake in the festival either by their works being included in the “Beton International” newspaper, or via video recordings of their works or live readings via the Internet. Online availability of all content on our website will enable all those interested to both follow Polip events and make video-calls from all around the globe.
However, these changes in the presentation format do not change our conviction that in order to change undemocratic, nationalistic, racist and all other ideological, simplified, exclusionary and intolerant discourses, it is necessary to fundamentally change the language of politics, while persistently working on the vitality of the literary language.Just like people, languages are growing old, dying, changing or finding new speakers – or new writers, for that matter, who will use them to express their own fears and hopes. Thus, one of the most important tasks that literature has at this very moment is to influence the language change in the spheres of social and political life. Finally – or initially – in the communication sphere between I and You. The beginning of the language revolution starts exactly there, because it doesn’t happen between the We and You, as it is predominantly the case in politics. I and You or You and I have the power to change the language, and whoever changes the language has already changed yesterday’s world and opened it up for our shared future.
We are thrilled to announce that Bora Cosic has confirmed his presence to the 10th edition of International Literature Festival – polip 2020.
Bora Cosic, born in 1932, is a Serbian and Croatian novelist and essayist who was born in Zagreb and lived in Belgrade until the early 1990s, when he left the country due to the protest against the Milosevic regime. The author has written more than 30 novels, volumes of stories and essays and is one of the last writers to call his language Serbo-Croatian, rejecting the orientation of any national literature. His bestknown novel “The Role of My Family in the World Revolution” (NIN Prize 1969, published in German 1994) is also adapted for the theater. Despite the book’s prizes and cult status, Cosic was blacklisted for his satirical, carnival-like description of socialist society and was unable to publish for years. In the 1960s, he translated and adapted the musical “Hair”, which was performed in Belgrade just one year after the Broadway premiere. The period after leaving Belgrade is marked mainly by essays, including the “Diary of a Homeless Man” (1993), one of the most important post-war works from this region. Without nostalgia for Zagreb or Belgrade (which he now sees as a private museum), Bora Cosic has lived in Berlin for two decades and Rovinj in Istria for two decades. In 2002 he was awarded the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding and in 2008, together with the Translator Katharina-Wolf Griesshaber the Albatros Prize of the Günther Grass Foundation.
Handke to be our guest at POLIP 2020
With great joy we received the news of Peter Handke winning the Nobel Prize. This world is full of ugly things and those disgusting journalists from our regions have just brought ugly pictures of destroyed houses, piles of corpses, rotting human bodies. In contrast to them, Handke has opened his eyes to beauty and poured it into poetic texts.
Where others see a child’s shoe sticking out from the ground, he sees a growing flower; where others hear the cries of raped women, he sees an old lady with a mild smile and warm hands; where others see corpses floating in the river, he sees petals of flowers on the sparkling surface of the water; where others see starving wretches in some camp, he sees nests of golden dough, ready to be dropped into the soup. The only brutality he encounters in our regions is the one used against plums: their juicy, wonderful, purple-blue fruits are in these parts unfortunately barbarically burned and turned into šljivovica, which he nevertheless drinks, but not as gladly as observing a plum on a branch.
We are thankful to the great writer for gifting a public swimming pool to Velika Hoča from the prize money of the Ibsen Award and we are therefore convinced that with the Nobel Prize money there will be enough for at least another ten pools – let the people swim! – but we are particularly thankful to him for bringing back beauty and fondness to a place, where others just bring some atrocities. We invite Peter Handke to be our guest on the POLIP 2020 festival and we also would not object if he accompanies his visit with gifting a small swimming pool to Qendra Multimedia.
This amazing artist will perform at Menza e Ramiz Sadikut on 10th of May, on behalf of International Literature Festival – polip 2019.
Ilija Ludvig was born in 1976 in Belgrade. He emerged from musical anonymity in 2007, appearing on the compilation Jutro će promenitisve? (Morning Will Change Everything?). Ivan Loncarevic from popdepression.com notices: “Ilija plays guitar and sings, has a stand-up performance during the concert, expressing himself through songs and visually. Is involved in the fight against all injustices of this world and loves to show how much he cares about everyone in the audience. Ilija is a poet, an artist, a performer,a musician. Is Woody Guthrie and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins; is Billy Bragg and Lou Reed; Ilija is Ludvig.” As for his official releases, Ilija is represented on the popular compilations Pesme is podpokrivača (Songs From Under The Covers) (2013) and Jason Molina Tribute: Just Be Simple (2014), Tapi: LJUBAVNA TEOREMA. (2018) i Piano Sky (2018). He lives the music he creates as an upcoming, unfulfilled friendship,a document of that anticipation, as a Ulysses’s trace of the one true love. The lyrics are never well articulated. They are either sung, murmured or mumbled. Their meaning resonates creating Ambivalens – the spatial equivalent of the scene – and within that space a new closeness is achieved. This achievement depends primarily on the need to keep the air alive, the invisible one. And, of course, on the courage to do so.
POLIP International Literature Festival Prishtina 2019
When the word “deal” is used, it is mainly in regard to “business”, while in the Balkans it often also refers to a”lucrative business” which is done despite the unfavourable political circumstances. When the expression “excellent literature” is used, it is mainly in regard to the books topping the bestseller lists, while in the Balkans it often also refers to the books that succeeded to cross the borders drawn by the monopolies of the national markets.
Only a small number of people refer to a deal or to(the works of) literature which have succeeded – despite the unfavourable, often almost impossible circumstances – to transform the political landscape and the dominant ideological framework,to initiate the exchange of new ideas, at the same time instructing the bankers to make different kind of deals, instructing the publishers to change their business outlook, and enabling authors to meet each other in literary encounters that were inconceivable up until that moment.
Recent history has recorded two such moments. One has changed the image of the post-WWII Europe, the second did the same for the image of the Balkans. Namely, in 1963, eighteen years after the end of the Second World War, Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer signed the Elysée Treaty, which marked the end of the enmity between France and West Germany. The Elysée Treaty opened new possibilities for the coexistence of European people, but also made the exchange of ideas, books, material and cultural capital possible. The very notion of “reconciliation” came out of this treaty of friendship; new forums and institutions were established, especially in the field of defence, culture, education, environment, economics and finance. What paved the way for the treaty, however, was the cultural production, and literature above all, as writers started to grapple with the challenging war-time themes immediately after the Second World War ended. Both the feminist and left movements in France and the authors gathered around the Group 47 in Germany initiated the process that led to the Treaty, which started steadily to change the face of Europe.
In June 2018 an agreement was signed near the Lake Prespa, which ended the long-standing dispute between (North) Macedonia and Greece. The Prespa agreement was made possible thanks to the involvement and activism of Macedonian and Greek intellectuals and writers, who vehemently opposed right-wing regimes that were in power. The “Colourful revolution” in Skopje and the persistent protests of Syriza’s supporters, despite the party leadership’s betrayal of their revolutionary ideals, influenced permanent changes towards reconciliation in the Balkans.
Even though the Brussels agreement was reached between Serbia and Kosovo back in 2013, almost no progress in its implementation has happened. This year it will be twenty years since the signing of the Kumanovo agreement, which ended the Kosovo War in June 1999, but reconciliation has not yet taken place. On the one hand, the European Union is to be held accountable for insisting on negotiators who are not fit for the historical task, on the other the local political elites are to be blamed, as they ignore the current social and cultural reality, denying that the cooperation between Serbia and Kosovo’s independent cultural scenes even exists. Is the agreement between Serbia and Kosovo possible, after all? How strong is the literary deal between these two countries? Is it possible to transform the political landscape that brought life to the standstill? History is telling us that it is possible. Possible, of course, if the deal is not about certain individuals profiteering from the frozen conflict, but instead is about the victory of culture and progress of society over the destructive politics of the past.
From a literary deal a different future of Serbia – Kosovo relations could be forged, one based on trust and exchange of ideas and goods. This process is unstoppable. POLIP festival, which emerged as the result of an agreement between two independent literary groups from Belgrade and Prishtina back in 2010, is turning ten this year.In the meantime POLIP has managed to connect and to fuse with many literary associations and institutions, has grown out of its regional character and has become an international literary festival. This year, within its programme, the very first GRAN Fest (International Graphic Novel Festival in Kosovo) will take place.
The literary works that have been promoted at POLIP, the topics and issues that have been debated in public, our authors and their audiences, all of them are already part of the new future.
POLIP Literature Festival in collaboration with No Recess and HAMAM Bar Prishtina in staging the musical performance of LENHART TAPES, an outfit project of Vladimir Lenhart from Kovačica/Belgrade, Serbia, who will be joined on stage by Mirjana Raić, Serbian singer from Novi Sad.
19th of May – @Hamam, 22:00h
One guy, 4 walkmans. Goat and sheep dialogues, muslim chanting, loops, e-bow instructions, turbo-folk anthems, language lessons, satanist rituals, heavy metal guitar for beginners.
Mirjana Raić is an ethnomusicologist and vocalist based in Novi Sad. She performs traditional songs with vocal group Rođenice and also improvised music with Lenhart Tapes, Argo, etc.
Lenhart Tapes – Kuća Arifova (ft. Mirjana Raić): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5QdKb5bQWI
Lenhart Tapes – Rakija me otrua (ft. Mirjana Raić): https://soundcloud.com/lenhart-tapes/lenhart-tapes-ft-mirjana-raic-rakija-me-otrua
Lenhart Tapes LIVE @ Matrijaršija (ft. Mirjana Raić + Goran Stojčetović + VJ Bolji Dugouško): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xG6BRwsppvc&t=836s
Lenhart Tapes Orchestra – Za horou: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLmQ5GZYMUc
TURBOTRONIK / VICE MEDIA
LITERARY REPUBLIC POLIP
Two referendums for independence were held in Autumn 2017 in regions which had fought long-standing battles just to make voting possible. Eventualy, the days for casting votes arrived and the whole world followed the referendum processes in Catalonia and Iraqi Kurdistan. However, both referendums were met with fierce rejection by their home countries, Spain and Iraq, and, indirectly, by the European Union, Turkey and the international community. Kurdish President Masoud Barzani resigned, even though 90 percent of the Kurds in Iraq voted for independence, as the results backfired and triggered a regional crisis. Immediately after the Catalan referendum, President Carles Puigdemont fled to Belgium amid fears that he was likely to be prosecuted, after Madrid had declared the referendum illegal. While Kosovo’s declaration of independence in February 2008 was followed by the recognition of the new country by over a hundred states around the world, Kurds and Catalans were left unrecognized and abandoned. While he was stepping down from power, Mr Barzani repeated that old saying that “the Kurds have no friends but the mountains”, as his people were betrayed once again by the international powers.
In the shadow of these dramatic political processes, a very vibrant cultural and literary scene exists, together with the civil and NGO sector, which could surely offer some response to these events – especially on the question of the role of a writer in unstable political times and climate. It was quite interesting to observe the reactions of writers after the Catalan referendum, especially those who have inclined toward right-wing positions (as in the case of Mario Vargas Llosa). What happened to Kurdish writers during that turbulent referendum period, what is happening with Kosovan writers today and has freedom there finally “learnt to sing as the poets have sung of it’?
The repercussions of these political events on the lives of individuals and communities are both grave and long-term. These events will also affect the cultural landscapes of these regions and their immediate surroundings. Curiously, one region is in the very heart of the European Union, while the other one is in one of the most unstable and violent zones of today’s world. We witness the phenomenon of permanent wars and migrations, while at the same time walls are being rapidly built and state borders fortified; this being the case not only with the outer borders of ‘Fortress Europe’ but also with its internal borders, which are much less open now than they were only ten years ago. We also have the case of the United Kingdom and its departure from the EU. Can we draw parallels with some other movements for independence around the world? Are we allowed to debate on why Brexit IS possible, while independent Catalonia IS NOT, or does that debate makes little or no sense? We witness also the ever greater globalisation and seeming convergence of the world, although arguably mainly in the sphere of economy, while simultaniously the gap between the rich and the poor is growing on both the local and the global level. How do the attempts for independence of Kurds and Catalan people fit into these turbulences?
Even though certain political figures persist in reminding us about the singularity and uniqueness of the Kosovo’s case, we are witnessing the slowing down of the political resolution of the ‘Kosovo question’, as outlined in the Strategy for enlargement of the EU in the Western Balkans recently adopted by the European Commission. Does this mean that senior EU officials have linked the three Ks (Kosovo, Katalonija, Kurdistan) and tried to create balance at the expense of Kosovo?
The international literary festival POLIP will attempt to deal with this topic as a blind spot of the international community, which at one point turned to violence in order to preserve the status quo and existing order of nation-states. For this reason we invite authors from different countries to take part in POLIP debates and public readings, hoping that their engagement will cast some light on the recent events and offer some ideas regarding the challenges of our near future.
Therefore the POLIP Festival and its zone of influence could be seen as a certain Free Literary Republic, where Machiavelli’s Prince and Plato’s State, Elfride Jelinek’s Piano Teacher and Svetlana Alexievich’s Chernobyl Prayer meet, like in the eponymous Ray Bradbury’s story; but, above all, POLIP festival is a zone for people who wants to freely discuss the future of the world we all live in and which concerns us all.
We are thrilled to announce our first writer of polip 2018!
Antoine Jaccoud (1957) is a Swiss author who writes for film, theatre and performance. His film credits include « Home » and « Sister », directed by Ursula Meier, both films receiving international awards, among them a Silver Bear at Berlinale for « Sister » in 2012. As a playwright, Antoine Jaccoud wrote « Lolo’s husband>>, monologue about the famous dead french porn star Lolo Ferrari, « Pandemic » (a black farce about bird flu epidemic) or « Farewell to animals» (a farewell to animals..), all plays that were– or are still- performed in Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, or Poland. Involved in the support of bosniak refugees in Switzerland, Jaccoud also created in 2005 a one week performance gathering 14 survivors of the Srebrenica genocide on the stage of a Geneva theater. Jaccoud is also a member of « Bern ist überall », a group of Swiss writers performing
their works on stage with musicians, who had a tour in Kosovo in 2017 with many local guests and the support of Quendra Multimedia.
International Literature Festival POLIP and HAMAM bar Prishtina have the pleasure of presenting Kralj Čačka (The King of Čačak), Belgrade musician and poet, who recently published his first album “Zemlja Snova” (“The Land of Dreams”) and poetry book “Na Margini” (“On the Margin”).
/ Žikica Simić on Kralj Čačka /
Kralj Čačka eng. King of Cacak, Čačak is a city in west-central Serbia) is the musical brainchild of Nenad Maric, a painter and a poet. For more than a decade Kralj Čačka is best kept secret of Balkan music scene, often called the “Serbian Tom Waits” and compared to Leonard Cohen, Serge Gainsbourg, Frank Sinatra… Kralj Čačka proves with every concert – music is only a question of love and emotion! His music is an unique walk through the blues, jazz and folk, painted with socially engaged comments. “Zemlja snova” is the first studio album for Kralj Čačka. It was recorded in Belgrade during summer and autumn of 2016.
-tandem- is a duo, newly formed by Blerta Kosova&Oda Haliti, both fanatics of experimental music. The energy, the same taste in music, the love for music, the courage for navigation on various music genres, experimentation on mixing, keyboards, and vocals will make us understand why these to artists merged into this duo. It’s a new format of presentation if we compare to what we are used to expect from them on stage. tandem is moving on…follow them. Photo by: Meddy Huduti
-tandem- will be part of polip 2017!
Interview with Syrian Poet Aïcha Arnaout
Words Without Borders has just translated from French into English an interview with Syrian poet Aïcha Arnaout, who has lived in Paris since 1978. “Last March,” Cécile Oumhani writes, “she became totally engaged in the Syrian revolt, working day and night to send news updates and attend meetings in support of her people. We no longer meet at readings, only at rallies and evenings centered on current events in Syria.”
An interview with Entela Tabaku Sorman, a poet from Albania! Entela will be part of the 7th edition of the International Literature Festival -polip
A short portrait of Hamed Abboud, a Syrian writer living in Vienna!
“I am Burgenlander!” says Hamed Abboud, half in earnest, when asked about his origin. The Syrian writer is a well-known refugee.
Nir Baram: How do we work and live in a society that we consider unjust?
Nir Baram is an Israeli writer. Good People, his second novel, has been translated into 10 languages and is now published in English by Text. He writes for Haaretz and other newspapers and lives in Tel Aviv.
An interview with Nir Baram, a writer from Israel, attending the 7th edition of polip festival 2017:
Ana Ćurčin is a singer-songwriter born in Baghdad, raised in Moscow and based in Belgrade, Serbia. Her music blends the traditions of folk, Americana and dream pop into a musical atmosphere of her own. She performs either as a solo artist or with her band. Two amazing singles “Cut Loose” and “I Can’t” as well as deeply touching live performances brought Ana under the spotlight in a short period of time and made her one of the most promising acts of Eastern European singer-songwriter scene. Ana’s live performances include many notable venues throughout Europe including Exit Festival. In January 2015. “Sketches of Belonging” was released in January 2016, the first single was “Remain Calm”. Ana Curcin & the band are: Ana Ćurčin, Goran Antović (keyboards), Marko Cvetković (bass), Marko Benini (drums).
Ana is going to perform as a solo artist on the 1st night of polip festival 2017. See below the links of her performances:
Literature in Exile
The year that we have left behind, the political arena have shaken the ground – BREXIT, Trump, and the rising of the right wing in countries in Europe, which in turn will produce many changes. Here would come a Chinese ancient saying quoted often by Hanna Arendt in discussion of political crisis ‘It is a curse to live in interesting times’. Massive flux of refugees and migrants, with the rising right wing, has unearthed latent cultural, ethnic and religious tensions in Europe. The post-communist countries, some in the Western Balkans striving to enter EU, have also been shaken by political turbulences, mainly because of corrupt governments and lack of economic development.
For many if not the majority, the exit strategy from crisis is migration. While from this part of the world, some want to leave ‘home’, others in other parts of the world like Syria, are forced to leave ‘home’ and forcibly confirming the state of exile as a human condition or rather necessity.
The immediacy through which we have access today to information and footage, technological advances gave a new dimension to exile and experience of political unrests. In this line, did literature take a new dimension of creation and consumption? How does literature responds to mobility or lack of it and the idea of home, or multiple ‘homes’. Simultaneously, the saturation with images that portray political crisis, left literature as a site of possibility/es, as a bridge to a multiple levels of experience of the self in relation to others, of new spaces in relation to old, known ones. The usage of language being the first medium of writers enables us to grasp in more profound ways these multiple levels of human condition.
This year, from 12-15 May, international literature festival ‘polip’ gathers in Prishtina thirty authors from different parts of the world, some of them being writers in exile.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / a great article from Jan Böttcher, on our International Literature Festival – polip 2016
Tv 21 report on the upcoming 6th edition of the International Literature Festival polip – 2016
Festivali Ndërkombëtar i Letërsisë “Polip”, që organizohet për të gjashtin vit në Prishtinë, këtë vit do të fokusohet në shqetësimet që e kanë kapluar Evropën dhe ndikimin e letërsisë në këto situata. Në këtë festival, që këtë vit mbahet më 13,14 dhe 15 maj në qendrën “Multimedia”, këtë vit do të marrin pjesë rreth 30 artistë nga vende të ndryshme të Evropës, edhe pse buxheti i ndarë për të nga institucionet është zero./ 21 Media
More authors to polip 2016!
Polip can now proudly announce two new authors that will join us for this 2016 year festival: the Swedish authors Viveka Sjögren and Annette Rosengren. They are both sitting in the international border of The Swedish Writers’ Union (Sveriges Författarförbund).
Viveka is writing and illustrating books for children and young adults. In one of her latest books, “Om du skulle fråga Micha” (Eng: “If you would ask Misha”), Viveka writes about how parents can explain the situation for refugees to their children.
Annette is engaged in questions about vulnurableness in the Swedish society, and
“… people in countryside, family life and everyday life and meaning in small communities, men´s interest for cars, life in prison, homelessness and social exclusion in the city of Stockholm, and in her last book from 2009 about asylum seekers who fights for a better future and Swedish mostly hard asylum policy.” (Quote: Annettes webpage).
The questions about how to express the refugee situation to children and to pay attention to the vulnurableness in the society for refugees could not be more necessary and important now. We at polip look forward for Vivekas and Annettes participation!
polip 6th edition!
The international literature festival polip will in its 6th edition (2016) be about the concerns that are shadowing the European continent right now. How are the values of liberalization tackling the current situation of migration flows, and how can literature affect the current situation in times of war, misery and fear? Polip this year will try to be a platform for all the impressions and feelings that the contemporary moment gives rise to.
We are proud to present authors that are aware of these shadows and know how to express the current situation in literature and cultural expressions. One of the authors that will visit the polip festival is the Turkish poet Mehmet Yashin, who will contribute with his sense of politic history within his Turkish poetry, and dealing with thoughts about identity and language. The Swiss duo Fitzgerald & Rimini explore the borders within culture expressions and have won prizes for their new way of playing with music, stage and poetry.
We are proud to further present following authors: Rosa Pock and her humoristic way to tackle hard subjects, Martin Bieri and his way to express the dark side of society in poetry and Rumena Bužarovska with her young and humoristic way to treat literature. Bojan Babić writes poetry about conflicts and prejudice and Peter Ahorner has a satirical way to express the society. Katrin Thomaneck has studied classical music and translation studies, and finally Gjergj Anton Filipaj has been working as a journalist in Kosovo and Albania with education in PR, communication and philosophy. We are curious to see how this mixture of meaningful persons can contribute to hope-building in the European continent in these hard times. The list of authors will be updated successively.
Exited to welcome them at our polip Festival 2016!…
Martin Bieri and Fitzgerald & Rimini – Europe / Grand Tour
Poet Martin Bieri and musical spoken-word duo Fitzgerald & Rimini present a literary journey through present-day geography. Bieri’s poetry collection Europa, Tektonik des Kapitals (Europe, Tectonics of Capital) is a sightseeing tour away from touristy landmarks seen as a final European vision of the good life: a look at the continent’s “late landscapes”, nuclear plants, traffic routes, football stadiums, areas dominated by functional architecture: at “illusion and infrastructure”. For their new album Grand Tour, Fitzgerald & Rimini have visited Babylonian capitals and forlorn backwaters, metropolises basking in their after after party glow and seaside resorts out of season; they have collected sounds and words, in order to generate from it the acoustic memory of a European home that go beyond all borders. Bieri and Fitzgerald & Rimini’s ways cross and turn into a musical-literary journey full of wonderment, criticism and wanderlust.
Reviews Martin Bieri
“Feeling the proximity of the world’s largest illegal capital reserves may have helped in the writing of this book.”WDR 5, Matthias Ehlers
“His material, indeed his driving force are all the images, references and meanings he actively notices or that fall into his lap. It’s not old towns or alpine peaks that are this wayward tourist’s travel destination, but infrastructures: nuclear plants, traffic routes, industrial ruins, football stadiums.”DER BUND, Daniel Di Falco
Reviews Fitzgerald & Rimini
“This fascinating album defies all categorisation (…) Irresistible!” NZZ am Sonntag, Manfred Papst
“Puzzling miniature art pieces have come to life, refined into fantastic poetry, located somewhere between spoken word, radio play and song. A genre of its own in word and sound, evoking lovingly dark mental images without even remotely bordering upon kitsch.”Berner Zeitung”
CONTACT AND BOOKING
REELL, Rebecca Ellsäßer
Tel.: +49/30/40 05 38 77
The Guardian: polip festival, bridging the gap between two countries
“This is not the first attempt to use cultural events to bridge the gap between the countries. Polip, a literary festival in Pristina, first held in 2010, has Serbian writers among those regularly invited to participate. Co-founder Saša Ilić, a Serb, says he set up Polip “because I understood there was no cooperation between Pristina and Belgrade in a cultural sense and someone had to start that.” He was also involved in two books published in 2011: From Belgrade with Love, an anthology of Serbian literature translated into Albanian and published in Pristina, and From Pristina with Love, a volume of Kosovan literature published in Serbian in Belgrade. “The goal is that one day they might become part of the school curriculums,” he said”. (The Guardian)
read the full article:
Ana Ćurčin & Stray Dogg (Dukat) from Belgrade will perform at the 4th edition of polip. Here is a link to have a little preview of their performance on the 17th of May 2014:
Translating literature is a reoccurring issue that has been present throughout all periods of literature. But how does literature rise above its own linguistic limitations? How much has Albanian literature been translated into German, and what is the role of translators from Albanian in German and vice-versa?
Albanian is a particular and complex language when it comes to its morphological and syntax structure. So, what are the challenges of translating Albanian literature into German?
What are the chances that the work of Albanian author finds its light in German? Does this depend on the quality of literature, the subject theme, or how it talks about the present, or is it simply, chance and individual efforts? How does translation determine the fate of the translated work, how much it is accepted or refused when it goes beyond its language barriers?
What is the difference or what are the main differences between translating literature and other kinds of works? Are the skills and the talent of the translator the most important thing, or do ethics play a role too.
Translation is not only about words, but also about where those words come from. How much does the translator need to know about the writer, the culture of the language that they the belong to and its tradition?
Through translation we manage to know literature, great works of art, the cultures and the mindsets of other people. How do we approach translation of literature today, so we don’t get lost in translation?
Panelists: Zuzana Finger (DE), Hans-Joachim Lanksch (DE), Ulrike Syha (DE), Kim Komljanec (SI)
Moderator: Blerina Rogova Gaxha (RKS)
Translation: Rexhep Bajrami (RKS)
E shtunë, 17.05.2014
Përgjimi i Letërsisë 2: cka nuk mund të përkthehet
Përkthimi i letërsisë është një temë që e riaktualizon vetveten dhe e përcjellë çdo periudhë nëpër të cilën kalon letërsia. Çfarë është procesi i kalimit të letërsisë së caktuar përtej kufijve të vetë gjuhësorë. Sa është përkthyer letërsia shqipe në gjuhën gjermane dhe çfarë është roli përkthyesve të letërsisë nga shqipja në gjermanisht dhe anasjelltas?
Shqipja është një gjuhë karakteristike dhe komplekse për nga ndërtimi morfologjik dhe ai sintaksor. Çfarë janë sfidat e përkthimit të letërsisë shqipe në gjuhën gjermane?
Çfarë janë mundësitë që vepra e një autori shqiptarë të përkthehet në gjuhën gjermane? A varet kjo nga cilësia e letërsisë, tematika që trajtojnë, aktualiteti që përmbajnë, apo thjesht, nga fati dhe gjindshmëria individuale? Sa e derminon përkthimi fatin e letërsisë së përkthyer, pranimin apo refuzimin kur ajo e kalon kufirin e vet gjuhësor.
Cili është dallimi apo dallimet themelore mes përkthimit të letërsisë dhe përkthimeve të kategorive tjera? A kemi të bëjmë gjithmonë me aftësinë dhe talentin e përkthyesve, apo mund të mund të bëhet fjalë edhe për etikën e përkthyesit.
Përkthimi nuk ka të bëjë vetëm me fjalët, por edhe me faktin se prej nga na vijnë ato fjalë. Sa duhet ta njohin përkthyesit shkrimtarin që e përkthejnë, kulturën e gjuhws prej tw cilws pwrkthejnw dhe traditën e saj?
Përmes përkthimit, ne arrijmë të njohim letërsinë, veprat e mëdha, kulturën e mendësinë e popujve tjerë. Si duhet t’i qasemi përkthimit të letërsisë sot, në mënyrë që të mos jem i të humbur në përkthim?
Panelist: Zuzana Finger (DE), Hans-Joachim Lanksch (DE), Ulrike Syha (DE), Kim Komljanec (SI)
Moderator: Blerina Rogova Gaxha (RKS)
Përkthyes: Rexhep Bajrami (RKS)
16:00 – 17:30 The surveillance of literature 1: Book promotion + debate
Reading and promotion of the book “Dreams of love and death” by Filip David, an author from Serbia, translated into Albanian by Smajl Smaka. Visar Zhiti, a poet from Albania, and Adil Olluri, writer from Kosovo will talk about the book.
The author, the translator and the two speakers will also discuss literary translations and literary exchange in the context of Balkan. How much do we read one another, and can literature go beyond the usual prejudice and animosities of the people of the Balkans. Is anyone actually interested today in translating and exchanging literature amongst the people of Balkans?
Panelists: Filip David (SRB), Visar Zhiti (AL), Smajl Smaka (RKS)
Moderator: Adil Olluri (RKS)
E premte, 16.05.2014
16:00 – 17:30 Përgjimi i Letërsisë 1: promovim libri + debat
Promovimi i librit “Ëndërra për dashurinë dhe vdekjen” të autorit nga Serbia, Filip David, përkthyer në shqip nga Smajl Smaka. Për librin do të flasin poeti nga Shqipëria, Visar Zhiti dhe shkrimtari nga Kosova, Adil Olluri.
Autori, përkthyesi dhe dy panelistët do diskutojnë gjithashtu edhe për përkthimin dhe shkëmbimin e letërsisë në kontekstin ballkanik. Sa e lexojmë njërin-tjetrin dhe a mund të shkoj leximi dhe përkthimi I letërsisë përtej inateve dhe armiqësive balkanike. Kujt i intereson sot realisht përkthimi dhe shkëmbimi i letërsisë mes popujve të Ballkanit?
Panelist: Filip David (SRB), Visar Zhiti (AL), Smajl Smaka (RKS)
Moderator: Adil Olluri (RKS)
EURODRAM general assembly in Prishtina
It is our great pleasure to announce that the next general assembly of Eurodram will be held in Prishtina, from 13th to 19th of May 2014, in frame of the 4th edition of the International Literature Festival polip – Prishtina.
Eurodram is an European network for drama in translation, founded and coordinated by the Maison d’Europe et d’Orient in Paris, a cooperative member of the International theatre institute, and gathering around 300 members all over Europe, Central Asia and Mediterranean countries. Its main objective is to circulate and promote theatre texts, in a multilateral way, to both professionals and a wider audience. This work is also of course a strong opportunity to develop cultural exchanges between our different partners. Representatives from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, North-Caucasus, Denmark, England, France, Georgia, Israel, Italia, Kurdistan, Macedonia, Poland, Rumania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine are expected to come. More information about EURODRAM can be found at http://www.sildav.org/eurodram.
“Të zhvendosura përbrenda” – Top Channel Albania – News – Lajme
“Të zhvendosura përbrenda” titullohej interpretimi që u kushtohet grave viktima të dhunës gjatë luftës së fundit në Kosovë, e cila u realizua në kuadër të Festivalit Ndërkombëtar të Letërsisë, POLIP.
The culture trip: polip festival – one of the Top Ten Summer Events In Europe:
Concert of Ah Ahilej
The band Ah Ahilej from Belgrade will perform at the 3rd edition of polip. Here is a link to have a little preview of their performance in May: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwsYkWUambY
Subpoetics: Inner Poetry in Performance
with Dr. Seth Baumrin
The presentation and performance will be on sunday, 12.05.2013 at 15.00 – 16.00
At this year polip festival, among many other things, we will organize a four days of intensive workshops culminating in public performance of newly devised work.
Participants will be actors, dancers, athletes, writers, painters, photographers, and musicians.
Each participant shall devise new performances in workshops that transform physical and vocal training regimens combining inner impulse with action, based on poetic texts in various languages. The workshop culminates in original work that shall be performed at the end of the Festival. This work can be performed in the future by the group.
There shall be no limit on the nationalities of group members, no limit on the languages used, and the group size should be restricted to ten performers and five observers. Each participant must come to every meeting.
The work methodology is based on but not limited to the teachings of Eugenio Barba’s Odin Teatret actors Roberta Carerri, Tage Larsen, Iben Rasmussen, Julia Varley, and Torgeir Wethal, as well as regimens derived from Grotowski’s actor Ryszard Cieślak. The Workshop shall be led by Dr. Seth Baumrin, who received his professional training at Odin Teatret in Denmark, and is now Chairman of the Communication and Theatre Arts Department at John Jay College of the City University of New York.
Each participant shall be equipped with two poems in any language, fully memorized on the first day of the workshop. These poems should be rooted in cultural histories and dear to the heart of the participant.
This work is structured such that in the final stages of development an inner narrative (secret from the audience) moves performance beyond entertaining in the direction of healing through the artist’s work on self and its impact on the spectators. Subpoetics can be understood as social action taken in the interest of those who do the work and those who witness it.
Subpoetics is a process of elaboration whereby actors create physical actions associated with particular texts. These physical actions are shorn away from that text and perfected with precision. They are then attached to a different text even though the actions and the new text are unrelated. The actions are then justified to function as appropriate physical actions for the new text. The process of justification and adaptation of actions to different texts requires reducing, magnifying, or changing the rhythm of the original physical actions. In order to reduce or magnify a physical action, its original impulse in the torso must be located and retained. The extremities of movement, the external movements of the limbs or head, can be augmented by percentages—they use less space, or more, or are executed at different tempos, but the initial impulses to action remain the same. Through elaboration and reduction, participants give entirely new meaning not only to the original score of physical actions, and also, by justifying the actions, new meaning is given to the second text (thus there are inner and outer poetics). Most important they give the text a personal meaning discovered through individual means. Through this process, the participants shall develop subscores that stand behind the actions and have sources in the participants’ impulses and imaginations. Subscore differs from a subtext. A subtext’s sources are buried in the text and its author’s imagination, usually beyond recovery whereas subscore is personal to the performer. Subscore is located within the performer’s body/mind in the linkage of internal image and impulse to external action.
Subpoetics functions in the tradition of Bertolt Brecht’s Lehrstücke (learning play). In Brecht’s usage a learning play is not necessarily limited to the instruction of the audience but of equal importance to the players themselves for whom participation in the work enables realization of ideas, perspectives, and facts previously unknown to them.
Subpoetics embodies a training/performance regimen enabling participants to learn how to learn; learn how to teach; auto-didactic methodologies for self-realization; group dynamics that engender cultural awareness. Weaning young people away from stereotypes promoted by electronic and popular media—virtual reality replaced by truth—by constructing their own identity. This kind of work is crucial during a period of potential cultural erasure as borders both real and artificial obscure the struggles of the individual.
PANEL DISCUSSION | Day 2 of polip 2012 | May 12, 2012
Remembrance and Literature
In this discussion round, we want to investigate the connection between writing and remembrance.
Even though memories are closely knitted to visual impressions, literature mostly uses purely linguistically-communicated imagery when approaching the past. What happens, though, if the linguistic imagery is presented next to pictures and photographs that claim that ‘this is how it was’ regarding events anchored in the collective remembrance? Do these by now ubiquitous pictures risk overlaying the historical events?
What happens if suddenly the pictures begin to tell their own story and the text slowly disappears in one’s perception? Where do we find the reality in this and where do we find fiction? And how is literature distinguished from history? What are its strong points?
We aim to analyze the combination of image and text with regard to their correlation and to discover the additional benefit that emerges from that.
Furthermore, we are interested in the questions of what it means when literature has the purpose of remembrance, how this artistic action changes the perception of the past in the collective memory, and what influence this appropriation of the past has on the authors.
Moderator: Roman Ehrlich (GER)