6 – 8 October 2017
The international graphic design conference is being held for a seventh consecutive year in Prishtina. Designers from all over the world will converge on the capital of Kosovo, a country that proclaimed its independence in 2008, and where the Euro is valid currency despite Kosovo’s distance from the EU.
Prishtina is a world apart: with a population of barely 200,000 it is a relatively small capital, but still gives the impression of a crowded cafe where everyone smokes. A fifty per cent unemployment rate forces people to use their time creatively and they are not doing badly, helping each other, “because we have already experienced worse times together”. The creative scene in Prishtina is also small, but present, and everyone sticks together.
Kosovo is a country where every action you take has the potential to either be political or interpreted as such. There are many unclear connections and unsolved problems that stand out. So why have designers from all over Europe come to this small city in the Balkans to discuss the latest developments in graphic design, and why has Bardhi Haliti, the curator, come up with the idea of such a conference? Haliti was born in Prishtina, and then studied and lived in America before returning to Kosovo. He sees value in his small country and is trying to support his generation and the younger one by what he does. The Redo conference is an invitation to experience a city in a way that would not be possible otherwise; it is also a welcoming invitation to a young country, a way of communicating about culture and an unbureaucratic, political act.
The hallmarks of the conference have been designed by Samuel Nyholm alias Sany, who recently also created the visual designs of the Münster sculpture projects. His caricatures are striking and his humour presupposes a certain understanding of things, while his work mirrors the situation in Prishtina in a humorous way. Lectures are held in different iconic buildings mostly from the Soviet era. Among the international speakers is Jonas Voegeli, the Swiss director of the course on Visual Communication at the Zurich University of the Arts. Also participating are the Belgian independent magazine Girls Like Us and the Swiss illustrator and designer Anne Haas, who recently created the new app “Book Cities”. Perhaps young Kosovars can one day look forward to freedom from visas.