Heritage Space IV

“Yanko, Albanian King” / Translated drama from Ilya Zbadnevich / Sezgin Boynik

Jul 30 - 2020

“Yanko, Albanian King” is the first english translated avant-garde drama from Ilya Zbadnevich, translation by Sezgin Boynik as part of the fourth edition of Heritage Space.

Initiated by Sezgin Boynik, the project is actualizing one of the most radical and experimental avant-garde artwork from the beginning of the last century. Originally written in 1916, during the heyday of the First World War, it was designed and published as a book in 1918 in Tbilisi. “yAnko, albAnian kIng” (Янко крУль албАнскай) uses “Zaum” language, which is considered to be the most important invention of the Russian avant-garde. Zaum, in literary translation, is a “beyond-sense” language using the phonetic, or sound elements of distorted poetic expressions. Parallel to this, the poems and dramas written in Zaum language utilize the multi-accentuality of the spoken word to such extent that the outcome is a new language combined with the existing vernacular of the locality.

Based on the news about Albania, and especially about war, and the self-declared German king of Albania William of Wied, Zdanevich worked on the experimental book that is critical of the war, and the protectionist imperialist politics.

By initiating the translation of a less known book about Albania, written in Zaum language and taking a stance against the oppressive wars in Balkans region, the aim of the project is to question in which way the experimental artistic languages can address the political issues.

As a part of the event, there will be an extensive introduction on the importance of Zdanevich’s work in the history of the avant-garde art, as well as presentations on the challenges of the translating of Zaum language, and the underground legacy of “Yanko, Albanian King” in the XXth century.

The special focus, during the event, will be given to the representation of independence of Albania in “Yanko” and generally on the question of nationalism in avant-garde and contemporary art.

In the event, you will get to know more about the interesting and mysterious life of Ilya Zdanevich, the meaning of zaum poetry, the image of Albania during the First World War, the network of underground culture influenced by zaum and Zdanevich, the use of experimental design as social activism, and many other things.

This project has been realized as part of the #HeritageSpace platform which is implemented by CHwB Kosovo. This activity is part of the “Inter-Community Dialogue through inclusive Cultural Heritage Preservation” project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP Kosovo) and financed by the European Union Kosovo Instrument for Peace and Stability (IcSP / EU) and the Swedish Government.

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