In 2020, Culture Hub Croatia (CHC) launched a project named Voids (Croatian: Praznine) as a reaction to the issues created by mass tourism on the Croatian coast. Empty spaces in the historic centre of Split, typically used for tourism-related business activities in summer, were handed over to artists and citizens to use in the off-season. Spaces to work, to study, to connect – something they’ve been sorely lacking thus far.
‘We used this experiment not only to test the concept, but also to build our community. In July 2021, we opened Prostor (Space) in Split, a space which now features the same elements tested during the Voids project: open studio, workspace, gallery, event space… and we continue to apply the same principle of space adoption giving everyone the opportunity to suggest activities through a public invitation that we publish once a year’, said the CHC.
Voids are back in Split this year, with several artists who grew familiar with the city as they participated in the project in 2020 and 2021 invited to design art interventions.
Ledia Kostandini (Albania), Driton Selmani (Kosovo), Tin Dožić (Croatia), Lana Stojićević (Croatia) and Verica Kovacevska (Northern Macedonia) will be putting up site-specific installations around town to turn the public space in Split into a space of artistic expression and dialogue. The interventions are envisaged as a medium that will encourage the citizens of Split to think about their environment and its potential in relation to the past and future.
Every week from February 28th to April 3rd, a different artist will display their work, reports Vizkultura. Following Tin Dožić who kicked off this year’s programme with a sound installation, Ledia Kostandini has unveiled several site-specific installations entitled Blowing in the Wind.
‘The starting point of my work was my first visit to Split in 2020, when I noticed pieces of clothing hung up to dry in the wind in the city centre. They occasionally resembled flags indicating an existence of lives being lived behind those walls. Intrigued, I began to follow these traces, just as if I were following the tiny heartbeats of the city, pulses that show that there is real life in this monumental place, not just the tourist one’, said the artist whose work will remain displayed around town until March 13th.
This time around, Voids are also headed for Dubrovnik as the most visited tourist destination in Croatia. From March 5th to the 20th, several artists from Croatia and the region will be using business spaces that sit empty in winter as their open studios.
‘Through the Adopt the Space scheme, the citizens and civil society organisations will be included in the participatory process and will get the opportunity to propose their own activities in the selected spaces during two weeks. In this way, tourist spaces become community spaces, shaped by the people themselves, in the quest of re-appropriation of the historical core and bringing back the sense of community’, states the CHC.