The National Library of Kosovo in Pristina. Photo: Ferdi Limani. Courtesy: Manifesta.

Manifesta 14 Chooses Pristina, Capital of Kosovo, as Next Host City

Manifesta has announced that Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, will be the host city of the fourteenth edition of the nomadic European biennial, which will take place in 2022. Pristina’s strong bid and its desire to become an “open-minded metropolis” were cited as reasons why it was selected.

Following the Kosovo War (1998–99), when Serbian rule over the Balkan nation ended, Kosovo was governed as a United Nations protectorate for two decades and became an independent state in February of 2008. “The cultural, legal and political paralysis of the 1990s resulted in a loss of sense of public space and a lack of recognition for what is common,” Hedwig Fijen, director of Manifesta, said in a statement. “I wish Manifesta can provide Pristina the means to reconstruct, redefine, and reclaim a radicalized and diverse public space, which still seems to be today regarded as a cultural subversive act, which can become a call for change.”

Since Manifesta’s inception in the early 1990s, its mission has been to examine the changing cultural topography of Europe through the prism of the specific situation of a new host city. Manifesta’s supervisory board noted Pristina’s geographical and geopolitical importance and relatively short history as the capital of the youngest nation state of Europe during a press conference held this morning.

In response, the mayor of Pristina, Shpend Ahmeti, said: “Our city is proud and honored to host Manifesta in 2022. In a place where 50 percent of its hospitable population are younger than twenty-five, where Ottoman architecture is mixed with postwar neoliberal philosophy, there is a lot to discuss, there is a lot to do, and there is a lot of public space to reclaim.”

Ahmeti added: “Manifesta is what we need not only to push for an honest discussion about the direction of the city, but also as an example of rebirth of cities, art and architecture in Western Balkans. Manifesta has given the most important answer to our bid-Balkans is Europe and we can contribute to the debate.”

Manifesta 13 is taking place in Marseille in 2020. The biennial will be led by an artistic team comprising Alya Sebti, director of ifa gallery; Katerina Chuchalina, senior chief curator of VAC Foundation; Marina Otero Verzier, director of research at the Het Nieuwe Instituut; and Stefan Kalmàr, director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London.