Pixel and Blood
Olson Lamaj has researched and investigated ongoing debates around art in public space in Tirana. He is presenting a series of photographs under the title Pixel and Blood depicting important buildings like the Palace of Culture, the National Bank of Albania and Tirana International Hotel situated around the main square, that mark the identity of the city centre for years. The prominence of these buildings has been previously used by the communist regime and state propaganda as sites to place political slogans. As a reference to the sites where the slogans have been previously present, Lamaj creates new statements that appear on the buildings – this time only as an intervention in the virtual space and through Augmented Reality (AR). These new contemporary slogans are a combination of popular expressions and original creations of the artists, made with the intention to capture the paradox of the current virtual and technological era. Especially in a county like Albania and a city like Tirana where poverty and progress are equally present.
These new semi-monuments that can be experienced through an application, contribute critically to debates in relation to digital transformation, spectacle, consumption and power structures in contemporary societies and art in Albania and beyond. Two of the statements/monuments have been introduced as Instagram filters and can be placed in different settings by users worldwide. The project Pixel and Blood was realised at Tirana Art Lab in the framework of the Beyond Matter artist residency program.
(Text by: Adela Demetja)