31 May, 2023

In a society where divisions based on social backgrounds often overshadow individual stance, a group of 14 young people from Kosovo embarked on a transformative artistic journey this month. Through their collaboration, they aimed to challenge the predetermined ideas we hold about one another and reflect on the importance of unity and understanding.

Over the course of a week, these young individuals explored Kosovo, using the medium of visual art to shed light on the divisions that often went unnoticed and were normalized within the cultural discourse and public opinion. Their mission was to disrupt these divisions and create a space for open dialogue and collaboration.

The first two days the HDISY-KS? group visited three spaces across Kosovo, each centered around the expression of art, community, and citizens' right to assemble. These spaces provided the participants with an opportunity to engage with initiatives that prioritized truth, understanding, shared history, and the essence of humanity, rather than political boundaries.

During their journey, the group was divided into pairs, and each pair was tasked with creating a video about their initial impressions of one another. This social experiment aimed to challenge the notion that first impressions always stick.  First, in the mountains of Rugova, and later at one of the bridges connecting North and South Mitrovica, the participants explored their preconceived ideas and delved into the complexities of human connection.

The HDISY-KS? project found resonance in similar initiatives that prioritized collaboration and understanding as catalysts for social change in Prishtina. Exhibitions like "Forehead Vulva Channeling Research" by Sofia Braga and "Once Upon a Time and Never Again," a tribute to the 1,133 children who lost their lives during the Kosovo war in 1999-2000, were examples of departures from purely political approaches and a call for progress through shared experiences.

Culminating their journey,  was their return to Prizren. After five days of exploration, delving into various initiatives, ideologies, societies, communities, and each other's perspectives, they arrived at the final stage of their journey. Here, they delved into the realm of audiovisual storytelling to convey their newfound experiences and insights.

During their time together, the group also welcomed filmmaker Zgjim Terzi, who shared his expertise and encouraged participants to bring their unique stories to life. Additionally, the project partners, OSCE Mission in Kosovo, provided valuable support and guidance throughout the journey.

The conclusion of the HDISY-KS? project involved participants interviewing one another, centered around the question, "How do I see you?". These interviews will be showcased at the exhibition bearing the same name at the 22nd edition of Dokufest, inviting viewers to challenge their own perceptions and embrace a deeper understanding of others.

With the hope of leaving the participants with a profound and enriched understanding of the world around them, the first edition of the HDISY-KS? project sought to dismantle preconceptions, foster unity, and promote empathy through artistic collaboration. By challenging the status quo and emphasizing collaboration and understanding, these young individuals strived to pave the way for a more inclusive and compassionate society.