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Give to Take Estate Agency


From 11–14 April, the Austrian Cultural Forum in London will be temporarily transformed into a functioning estate agency, where Nada Prjla will take the role of an estate agent, offering for sale a selection of properties in the Balkans.

A story about home
By Nada Prlja

A year ago, a variety of problems became a part of everyday family life back in Macedonia - too many opinions, too many different needs. A sense of conflict and division even between the closest relatives became an increasingly common phenomenon, day by day… My mother, in an attempt to eradicate a series of repeated misunderstandings, come to the idea of selling our apartment - our home - as a possible solution to some of the issues that had invaded their lives. Since that day, a need to understand the relation between possession and a sense of belonging has haunted me.

There were many things that were ‘to blame for’ my mothers newly distorted vision about the notion of Home.
Firstly, I was angry of the effect of neo-capitalism, which was and still is ‘spreading as a virus’ in the geographical area of South Eastern Europe. Neo-Capitalism has made people aware of the market value of their possessions, followed by a sense of competitiveness in the economical domain.
Secondly, the notion of home/ motherhood has been vastly diminished, and the feeling of belonging, stability, and continuity has all been exchanged for a new type of stability – defined exclusively within a financial framework and the notion of financial stability.
Thirdly, and, for me, most painfully – the moment of replacement of the symbol (of home) in to a ‘straightforward thing’, a possession like any other that can be bought and exchanged like any other. The home as a marketable property is purely financial rather than having any emotional or symbolic value.
The need to incorporate Western standards has pictured the last decades in the level of the individual behaviour, city shape and society structure. The adaptation of the West was unfortunately taking only selected ‘values of Western society’ – for example - People have been waiting with the years for Mc Donald’s, Benetton and Mango to appear, in their full neon blast, where the real values of the West have been not acknowledged (as less neon representations), like knowledge and expression of personal freedom.
This adaptation has led blindly SEE people into plastic object consumers and kitsch fans.
Parallel to that the face of the cities has been developed by a storm of appropriation of public space by private interest, re-defining the distribution of the wealth and by acceptance of newly defined tastes.

The change within ex – socialistic countries was in many ways ‘fast-forwarded’
Is a possible motive for the ‘fast-forwarded’ change of the country’s policies perhaps a financial insecurity and the encouragement of a certain need for economical stability?

The ‘transfer of economical value’ is a clear illustration of a ‘fast-forwarded’ change within SEE society. Many moral/ethical questions could be stated in this discussion about which methodology of the policy makers is going to apply to this ‘accelerated’ process of modification of the whole society?

When the change is obligatory and imposed, my concern is not related to the reaction that could be provoked by the obligatory nature of this particular change. My concern is directed toward pointing out the reason why and how the obligatory change has been imposed in the first place.