Based in Bologna, Armando Lulaj is one of a new generation of contemporary Albanian artists, and Time out of Joint comes to New Zealand after representing Albania in the 52nd Venice Biennale.
The title Time out of Joint comes from a line spoken by Shakespeare’s Hamlet after being visited by his father’s ghost, a supernatural event which fundamentally altered Hamlet’s perception of the world around him: “the time is out of joint; O cursed spite!/That ever I was born to set it right”.
In Lulaj’s video installation reality is also punctured, in the form of a large tower of ice which has mysteriously appeared in the midst of a rubbish dump in Tirana, Albania. This dumping ground is also home to a transitory community of residents who live and work amongst the waste. Lulaj’s dual projection shows the block of ice shimmering among the debris, while local children encounter it, at first perplexed, then playfully touching and stroking, and eventually losing interest and wandering off to continue their labour while the block slowly, imperceptibly, begins to thaw.
An oblique allusion to the recent industrialisation of Albania, the physical instability of the tower also makes comment on perceived corruption within his homeland. Says Lulaj of the harsh environment the tower is sited within: “this community lives in our post-consumption space-this scene, our product, their habitat, is the Time out of Joint”.