Rebirth of Rilinjda

Text by Uran Badivuku & Arbnor Dragaj

Hapësira is more than mere clubbing escapism, a social symbol of the new Kosovo identity being the second youngest country in the world after its 2008 independence. Founded in 2015 by two childhood friends Arbnor Dragaj and Uran Badivuku, Hapësira is a team of earnest individuals with diverse experiences who believe in the advancement of the society through culture, education, art and music by sharing mutual cultural values rooted in the collaboration of open-minded individuals with the aim of shaping contemporary Kosovo through cultural movements and events.  Hapesira prides itself in drawing members who share a similar ethos to theirs. Hapësira collective uses the dancefloor as a vehicle for change by further trying to push the boundaries of Kosovo’s recognition in all domains of life. Hapesira as it is, can be seen as one of the main actors that places Kosovo’s recreational life and influence in the international context. 

Rilindja Printing House where Hapësira organizes its activities, which translates to “Re-birth” or “Renaissance” in English was built in 1976, which back in the time was a source of pride for the whole society of Kosovo. Housing Ex-Yugoslavia’s first Albanian language newspaper, it was the second biggest printing house in the whole of the Balkans, employing up to 2,600 Kosovars and reaching a maximum circulation of 234,000 prints. It used to enlighten our society through books and inform them through newspapers. Today’s Rilindja Warehouse experience by Hapësira at the very same place offers knowledge through sounds, enabling the expansion of the mission beyond the borders and becoming a household name in the domestic scene.

In spite of all the international and local recognition Hapësira still hasn’t been able to reach its final destination within the premises of Rilindja, and that of the most immediate mission and plan, which is to transform a part of the building into a Multidisciplinary Cultural Center and Museum Archive, where the musical activity of various actors of the musical ecosystem of Kosovo is imagined, researched, experimented, taught, created, documented and then performed and transmitted to a broader audience.  In order to bring this significant project into life the Hapësira team had and still has a very difficult and uncertain path ahead of them, due to unreliable plans by the previous Governments, who have given the administration of public spaces, including Rilindja building to the Privatization Agency of Kosovo, which holds the title of the most corrupt state agency since the establishment of Kosovo’s self-governing institutions.  Furthermore, recently this agency, with the reason of not having functioning offices, have granted permission from the previous Government to use the print house for the “permanent offices of the agency”, and as a result of this action the agency started selling all the assets, most of Rilindja’s printing machines were sold for scrap and some for printing purposes in neighboring countries.

The struggle is ongoing! but thus far with the support of the German Embassy in Prishtina and Prishtina Municipality the Hapësira team managed to save few of the machines which will be exposed as part of a permanent exhibition within Rilindja, serving as a relics that represent a historical and sentimental value of it’s past. During the years Hapësira also built its Social Responsibility Fund which is proof that the community keeps on developing a sense of awareness.  The idea that something so basic and common to our urban lifestyle can impact someone tremendously, is what the Hapësira team strives to instill through their ethos. After all, how can we possibly move forward together, if we knowingly leave others behind? Hapësira collective remains committed to the journey of transforming one of the parts of Rilindja into a multidisciplinary center, and we will not stop until the goal is achieved!