Zanafilla (The Origin)


The project starts from a debate born in Albania in the last year (2019) around the National Theater and Experimental Theater complex. The debate begins when the Albanian government, chaired by Edi Rama, approves the construction of a new theater for the realization of which the existing one must be demolished. Built in 1938 by the Italian architect Giulio Bertè, the theater was initially thought to be a multicultural and sports center and was destined for a theatrical pole in 1947.

The new theater project, approved by the government, it was designed by the famous BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) studio, and from the beginning it sparked numerous controversies among the actors, directors, politicians and the population, up to the creation of a group organized for the defense of the theater (Aleanca për mbrojtjen e teatrit), splitting public opinion between those who agree that the old complex is demolished and those who are against it.


While taking a position, mine is not a political project, however I am interested in the debate that has developed around this building. Demolish or don't demolish it? Right or wrong? I don't have and I don't want to give an answer, but this debate has still put a building at the center of the social, cultural and political discussion of a country. My intention is to make a portrait of this building to know it better.

I would like to make a portrait by images of this old building, "caress" it with the video camera, discover remote corners, creating a parallel with a young girl, in the middle of life, also making her a video portrait. Details of architecture and details of a body, and at a certain point, using a carillon, she sings a lullaby composed of verses written by different people, intellectuals, actors, curators invited to write "a verse for the lullaby of the theater" as a surrealist cadavre-exquis, therefore without knowing what others have written (and without knowing who the others are).

The girl, who’s performing in another place, tries to put this lullaby in meters by following the music of the carillon, as if she wanted the old building to fall asleep, creating a sort of time loop between what is young and what is old, looking for an origin (zanafilla in Albanian) who seems to have been lost in the reasons of each faction.