Endri Dani

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CIMAM 2021 Endri Dani, Artist and Researcher, ZETA Contemporary Art Center, Tirana, Albania.

In 2021, 50 contemporary art curators, researchers, and museum professionals from 32 different countries were awarded support to attend the CIMAM 2021 Annual Conference, in-person and online.

For the first time, and thanks to the generous support of The Getty Foundation who sponsored the virtual platform, 27 grantees attended the conference online, while 23 attended onsite.

Launched in 2005, CIMAM’s Travel Grant Program is designed to foster cooperation and cultural exchange between contemporary art curators and museum directors in emerging and developing economies and their counterparts in other regions of the world.

Endri Dani's Conference Report

A few days ago, Etel Adnan, an influential Lebanese American writer-essayist, and artist died at 96; I am reminded of one of her most popular expressions, "Your identity is your prison." This expression had to do with the duality of her identity as an accumulation of contradictions between dynamic eastern cultures and Western supremacy.

With a dynamic experience for more than a decade in the art world, exhibiting in Museums, museums, or galleries on different continents, I think the art world continues to maintain a formal proportion to the social sphere because it still operates with labels statistical views guided by geopolitical notions. The art system, as a system that directly "feeds" the human ego (turns the individual into a cult) and the financial sphere, pragmatic approaches continue to strengthen the system's metabolism. Although, as a young artist born in the late '80s with a great development of mobility and access to information, at the beginning of my career, I was faced with a conservative cultural world to protect comfort zones and a traditional mindset as a negotiated relationship with social parameters.

How is it possible that you speak so many foreign languages? How is it possible that you have visited so many places in the world? How many more days can you stay in the Schengen area with an Albanian passport?... These are some of the questions that often dominated over the interest of my work's subjects in openings (mostly in the west). This CIMAM Annual Conference was really of great interest as it dealt with two topics that resonate around me; 'Xenophobia' – related to my geographical identity and 'Climate Emergency' – related to my artistic practice. I followed all the speakers with great interest. I hope that soon the intellectual bubbles will "burst."

From a stabilized academic network, we will move to an active/progressive network of initiatives, organizations, or finally, protests, which can put into practice what we have discussed and re-discussed over the years, such as the creation of new value models referring to humanitarian approaches rather than to the "battle" of knowledge. Paradoxically, even though we were discussing "Xenophobia," my presence at this conference can be considered a marginal presence, since, in the online grouping, I was confronted every day in discussions with individuals from non-Schengen countries, without needing a visa to attend this conference and being vaccinated in the USA.

I think we will face a more emancipated art system at the moment when the synchronization of this system with structural conventions will be lost in time, and the gravity of geopolitical circumstances over the individual (as creator) will be deconstructed. Its internal spatial dimension will be the dominant consideration.