Harabel Contemporary had the pleasure to be part of “Public Spaces Re:Claimed”, a project in collaboration with Inbox Art Association, UAC Skopje, mentored by Rimini Protokoll and supported by Creative Europe. Public Spaces Re:Claimed is a project that addresses the challenge of shaping and understanding public spaces and our freedom to decide what kind of city we want to live in, particularly in countries facing permanent transition.


On 31st March and 1st April, the immersive performance “Tirana the City of Changes” took place in Tirana, starting from 16:00 pm to 20:00 pm.

The performance featured 3 guides: the Poet, the Punk and the Journalist, and 3 different city walks. Each guide has their own starting point.

The Punk route starts at Str. Ibrahim Rugova, on the left side of Taiwan Center, meanwhile The Poet and the Journalist start in the right corner of Hotel Dajti, on “Dëshmorët e Kombit” Blv., each of them taking a different direction according to the audio instructions of the character.

The audience applied for the performance mostly through social media and e-mail and the project team organized groups of 5-6 people for each of the characters. Participants were from age 18-50.

This performance incorporated dramatic character development, technology and use of public spaces. The participants downloaded the SPA:RE application on their phones and used earphones to follow the tour.

Once the tour started, the participants listened to a short introduction by The Architect, a character that prepares them for the tour, explaining how the project started in Tirana and the important details that would help them follow the performance correctly.

After the introduction, the respective character communicates directly with the participant, giving you the impression that they are actually walking together or headed to the same direction. Each of the guides shares their personal story, which intertwines with the story of the city and its past, drawing attention towards the fact that what is personal can derive from the collective, in this case, the collective space and its uses.

The guide involves the participant in their story by also asking questions that encourage reflecting about the public space, giving them instructions and directions on where to walk faster, where to stop, as the routes were chosen and planned in detail, also taking into consideration the traffic lights and safe pedestrian areas.

Due to this participatory character of the performance, the participants were often invited to stop during their walk and have a look around while following the instructions on the video, to reflect about a certain spot in the city and the changes it has gone through during the last 20 years, the stories that might have happened there. In some other moments they are invited to sit on some benches and take a moment to explore the street with their eyes, or to reminisce about the past, aiming to motivate them to act on preserving the public spaces in contemporary cities and to gain a deeper appreciation for the urban environment.

Each of the routes start around places that carry both the old and the contemporary, narrow streets that lead to the main streets, a market area, neighborhood parks; Hotel Dajti,  the primary center for international visitors and diplomats during Albania’s socialist period, where the guest rooms were bugged with microphones; the Castle of Tirana, transformed into this modern center full of shops and restaurants, the pedestrian area nearby full of people and bars, old abandoned houses in the corners, the Clock Tower, the square in front of the city’s National Library, the square behind the National Museum where the participants had a full view of the public installation “The dreaming city”, made precisely for these walks, continuing with the Skanderbeg square and the parking lot underneath.

Under the mentorship of the Berlin-based Rimini Protokoll, the project Public Spaces Re:claimed brings urban sociology and art together to influence the development of new identities of public spaces in contemporary cities.