Azra Akšamija: Palimpsest of ’89

Credits: Materials: animation Dimensions: single-channel, 21 min. Concept and artistic direction: Azra Akšamija Research and development: Azra Akšamija (history), Blanca Abramek (patterns), Joshuah Jest (animation), Kristen Wu (patterns); Zdenka Badovinac, Bojana Piškur
ACT at MIT

Azra Akšamija, Associate Professor at ACT, is exhibiting her work, Palimpsest of ’89 (2017), at the First Biennale of Western Balkans: Weaving Europe, Weaving Balkans.

Palimpsest of ’89 (single-channel animation, 21 min), explores the role of Sarajevo’s cultural institutions in shaping the common heritage in the Western Balkans. The project visualizes how the region’s history has been “written and rewritten” through the work of institutions that have been framing and preserving the common heritage. This inquiry is translated into a “palimpsestual carpet,” proposing a model for thinking about the creation of the common heritage through the weaving of integrative and disintegrative narratives and policies related to cultural institutions. Carpet iconography functions like a form of storytelling and history writing. The carpet patterns of this piece depict the creation of the common heritage through selected cultural institutions that were founded in each period of Sarajevo’s history:
1. The Pre-Modern (Pre-Ottoman and Ottoman),
2. The Modern / Austro-Hungarian,
3. The Modern / Socialist, and
4. The Post-Dayton Period (1995–2016)
Each of these periods translates into one layer of the palimpsestual carpet, and with progressing time, more and more symbols are added to the carpet, while others get revised or erased. 

Credits:
Materials: animation
Dimensions: single-channel, 21 min.
Concept and artistic direction: Azra Akšamija
Research and development: Azra Akšamija (history), Blanca Abramek (patterns), Joshuah Jest SMACT ’18 (animation), Kristen Wu (patterns); Zdenka Badovinac, Bojana Piškur