BUNK’ART – entering the dark past

Megan Nagel, Goranka Ćejvanović

Albanian Dicator Enver Hoxha’s bunker

Enver Hoxha had a five-storeyed bunker built consisting of 100 rooms on the outskirts of Tirana in the 1970s for his own protection against a nuclear attack. The number of massive bunkers in the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania can only be estimated. Official statements say 221.143 bunkers were built to protect the population. After Enver Hoxhas death in 1985 and until the disintegration of communism in 1990 isolated Albania was ruled by Ramiz Alia.

I have had just a basic information about the Dervish community before the journey, and their religious plurality and inclusivity is something that can be of greater interest and relevance for the Balkans.
Marko, PhD Student U Belgrade

A bunker becomes BUNK’ART

The museum BUNK’ART was only opened 24 years later. The artistic presentation is realised by two journalists, the Italian Carlo Bollino and Albanian Admirina Peçi, with support from the Albanian government as well as the NGO Qendra Una. Currently 24 rooms are open to the public, subdivided into different topics. One part is a chronology of the history and the life of the population:  the invasion of the Italians, the occupation by the Germans and the end of the propagandistic regime. This is visualised by different kinds of objects, photos, documents such as letters and maps as well as video installations.

Ovo je jedna od najzanimljivijih poseta u Albaniji. Oduševljena sam time što su bunker koji je bio značajan za vreme vladavine Envera Hodže pretvoren u muzej koji slikovito dočarava taj vremenski period.
Dunja, M.A. Student U Belgrade

We enter BUNK’ART

The entry to the bunker is reached through a long, cold and dark tunnel, the concrete door is already open. We are greeted by an unpleasant moisture. Rats or bats no longer live here.  We walk from room to room of this labyrinth of self-experimentation. And we can hear the dictator’s voice. We push the button. Sirens ring out, we are standing in a room filled with smoke. We can feel the culture of fear. Only the artist himself can pull us out of the creepy past with his play of colourful light. But the self-experiment lasts until the end. The echo of the concrete toilet door leaves a bitter taste as it slams shut and evokes the feeling of being imprisoned.

BUNK’ART is not only a testimonial to the propagandistic regime, it’s also a documentation centre serving for the rehabilitation of history and the process of coming to terms with the past.

Prijatno sam iznenađena … Nisam očekivala njihovo potpuno otvaranje najmračnijih perioda polovine 20og veka i veoma sam pozitivno iznenađena tim iskorakom (Srbija još uvek nije napravila taj iskorak prema najtežim praksama koje je sprovodila Komunističa partija Jugoslavije). Upadljiv je otvoreni odnos Bunk‘Art muzeja prema novijoj istoriji i Nacionalnog muzeja istorije u Tirani koji propagira snažan nacionalistički diskurs i revizionističku istoriju
Sanja, M.A. Student U Belgrade