Bathore (Photo credit – John Driscoll)
Soundtrack for a new video-work presented at Uncharted Festival in Porto Palermo Castle in the south of Albania from 8th-11th August.
Over the course of three months Julia Heslop has been working in Bathore, an informal settlement on the outskirts of Tirana, Albania’s capital city, tracing the history of this contentious community. In collaboration with composer Martin Heslop, the research has gone beyond Bathore, to Puka, Tropoja and Kukes, searching for the traditional music and musicians and the vacant villages of the north. The video follows the roots of one 21-year-old girl, born in Puka and raised in Bathore since the age of one. Her story represents the first generation of Bathore and the area as it is now, as it has become.
The work follows the girl’s experience of growing up in a community built by people, from the ground up. She speaks of her aspirations for what the youth of Bathore can build, can change, her words spoken through a haze of northern melodies and the clattering of industrial noise. Through a converging dance of image and sound the viewer is invited to trace the emergence, expansion and reimagining of place; of a town coming to maturity.
In this work Bathore’s scarred landscape, its unfinished buildings, its faltering streets, all tell the story of migration, building and imagining. It is about seeing the reflection of another town in the windows of your own.
Thanks to Kristiana Faslia, Antuela Gjata, Marjana Lila and Artur Kurtallari for their help with the making of this video and to musicians Ben Hasani, Kujdesi Maçmata and Agron Sopaj.