remijon pronja






AN DIE FREUDE' Nushid AlFarah

Video HD, 3.08 min. 2016

A classroom in Tirana’s Madrasa (Medreseja e Tiranës): under direction of their music teacher, female pupils are singing a song – the anthem of Europe – in Arabic, a language stereotyped as hostile to the Western world. In the mid-nineties, this anthem, in its Albanian version, officially became part of elementary school curricula across the country. Based on his own school years’ experience and memory of this period, Remijon Pronja conceived a video-work to examine cultural and political overlaps while revealing mixed and contradictory forms of alignment that his homeland has been going through over the last decades: on the one hand, as a Muslim-majority country and, on the other hand, as a country aiming towards closer connections with and, eventually, within the European Union. Being an Albanian institution, the Madrasa follows and respects official educational programs of the state; however, given its function of a religious school, it also has a duty to adapt the curriculum to the Arabic (non-Albanian) language. Pronja’s video portrays this complicated situation, in which Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (or “Ode to Joy”, or “An die Freude”, or “Nushid AlFarah”, etc.) discloses pupils themselves as the main protagonists of ongoing ideological overlaps in Southeastern Europe.