Pyramids: Monuments for Late Capitalism

ArtScience Research Project

by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei & Gosse de Kort


After the fall of communism in 1992 the economy of Albania was introduced in the capitalist system by means of a so-called “shock.” After over fifty years of the strictest communist regime in the world, Albania was introduced to the basic feature of the global economy: the accumulation of capital. Over the next five years, pyramid investment schemes sprang up in every corner of the country, until in 1997 all of them collapsed. A large majority of the population lost all their money. The country descended in to a state of semi-civil war for a year.

In the research project Pyramids: Monuments for Late Capitalism, we will collectively investigate this collapse of capitalism in relation to Albanian public space. We will do so from the perspective of its “crisis.” Crisis and collapse are fundamental features of the capitalist economy, but nowhere has been the rise and fall of this type of economy been so clearly visible as in Albania. How does a country deal with the collapse, within five years, of the two “major” systems our modern age has produced: communism and capitalism? And how can that be seen and visualized in public space?

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