Tirana National Theater was built in 1939 by the Italian architect Giulio Berté, inspired by metaphysical aesthetics.
It has survived many political transitions and was active until recently.
On May 17th 2020, despite a strong opposition, the building was torn down. An important site of the cultural patrimony was erased, leaving a gaping hole in the memory of the country and creating an empty square in the public space, a sort of “negative monument” in the center of Tirana.
Since the beginning of the project, I have been looking for a precious postcard of Tirana National Theater. I looked for it at antique dealers and present-day souvenir shops,
but I couldn’t find it. The missing postcard. Built with an experimental and lightweight material of the 1930s, the Populit, Teatri Kombëtar ceased to exist at 4:30 am, on May 17th, 2020.
“It is on Google Maps, but it doesn’t exist”. What will happen to the digital archives of disappeared buildings? How do you claim that memory?
In my project the metaphor of the theater is a take on Giulio Camillo’s “Theater of Memory”, a mental device from the Italian Renaissance that created the possibility of a shared space, based on a common set of associations that anyone can use, but whose significance is intersubjective.
Inspired by my grandparents’ archival material and the documentation I have gathered during my research and journey throughout Albania, on the traces of this archive, I have decided to explore the parallel between the operations of Camillo’s mental theater and today’s AR technologies by means of data that can be accessed and activated through the Augmented Postcards.
The Augmented Postcards work as my own markers. They simultaneously historicize, narrativize, and personalize the encounters between the viewer and the images, generating a process of narrative discovery, as the users find new associations and coherence through newly sequenced encounters with their own markers.