MM / Tirana
September 2001

Miltos Manetas
Tirana Biennale

Greek-born artist Miltos Manetas (then living in the US, now living in the UK) contacted us first in August 2000. In fact, we had heard of each other before: earlier that year, we had designed the catalog and sign system for Elysian Fields, a group exhibition that took place at the Centre Pompidou (see Elysian Fields), and Miltos was part of that show. So we knew each others work.
Miltos approached us with a couple of loose ideas and plans, which were never actually realized. We did however ask Miltos to write a text for us, for inclusion in issue 57 of Emigre, a US magazine we were guest-editing towards the end of 2000 (see Lost Formats), and we're glad Miltos did write us that text.

A year later, Miltos Manetas contacted us again. He asked us to design a contribution to a group show he was curating for the Tirana Biennale (running from September 15 to October 15, 2001, in Tirana, Albania). This exhibition was called '10 Hours', and would also make an online appearance (as www.biennale.net). The whole show was organized by Electronic Orphanage (the gallery MM was running around that time) and the US magazine ArtForum.
Miltos' plan was as follows. He wanted to ask each participating artist to write one sentence, and together all these sentences would form one manifesto. The title for this collective text would be 'Utilities for a Manifesto'. In short, we had to turn this manifesto into a 8-page contribution that would appear, as a separate section, in the catalog of the Tirana Biennale.

What we did was pretty basic. We took all the sentences, and divided them over eight pages, text set in American Typewriter. In between those sentences, we placed little biographies of the participating artists; or better said, fragments of biographies. Of each biography, we only used the first few lines, ending each fragment with the phrase "more at www.biennale.net", encouraging people to read the rest of the biographies online.

We placed the manifesto in the book in such a way that all the texts were rotated 90 degrees, counter-clockwise. That way, the eight pages appear more like a continuos scroll. (Also, we always like the 'Playmate' effect: the moment when people have to turn a book or magazine 90 degrees to read a text).
The eight pages were not placed in the book as a series of four spreads, but rather as separate section: first a front-page, then three spreads, and then a back-page.

Shown here the pages, as 'flat' digital files. We would have loved to show the pages as actual photographed items, but for some reason, we never received the catalog. So we now have to show you these pages as digital images, which we very much dislike, but there's no other way.
experimental_jetset_tirana-1 experimental_jetset_tirana-2 experimental_jetset_tirana-3 experimental_jetset_tirana-4 experimental_jetset_tirana-5 experimental_jetset_tirana-6 experimental_jetset_tirana-7 experimental_jetset_tirana-8
We didn't attend the opening of the group exhibition, and to be honest, we suspect not many people did. The fact is that the opening took place on September 15, 2001, which just happened to be four days after the 9/11 attacks in the US. Not too many people were fond of travelling that week.
Anyway, a couple of weeks after the Tirana Biennale, Miltos took the exhibition to Deitch Projects in NYC, where the show was presented under the title Biennale.net.

Other projects we did for Miltos include MM / MMMM, MM / Neen Manifesto, MM / 444 Theory and MM / Internet Paintings.

Filed under:
contributions

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