Since 2017, Flaka Haliti has been constructing lazy robots, composed from material found in the former KFOR/NATO peacekeeping camps across Kosovo. The robots have been made from recycled and repurposed bits and pieces of metal, rubber, sponge, and glass, using art as a form of demilitarization. They were constructed in reverse, as if turning time, with the last being the first. For Autostrada Biennale, Haliti has created a fourth, final, and yet chronologically the very first of those creatures, bringing it “home,” into a former German KFOR hangar, now a future technology park and exhibition venue. Behind the robot levitates its digital-looking wings, visually appropriated from Renaissance paintings and inscribed into a hybrid space that is defined by a geometric futuristic grid.
All four robots, including this first-last one, are not what they are supposed to be—a productive addition to the life of humans, a machinic extension of efficiency, a servant of sorts. Quite the contrary, it lays flat, dreams, waits, blurs the past and the present, as if it forgot all of its urgency and efficiency. Haliti’s installation and a horizontal robot can help us to disidentify and disrupt the public sphere and open it for more queer, minoritarian, interdependent ways of being and doing. Inspired by the writings of José Esteban Muñoz, the artist asks what another, decolonized, and less violent future for Kosovo and the world at large could look like. How would it feel, smell, and look with such uncanny robots paving the way?
Flaka Haliti (1982) was born in Prishtina and lives in Prishtina and Munich.