Tirana (Albania) may 2011

It wears as it grows – Armando Lulaj

After the breakdown in relations with the USSR, in 1963 the Albanian military navy, obsessed by the fear of possible attacks to be launched at sea, crushed a Mediterranean sperm whale, confusing it with an enemy submarine. The animal was recovered and its skeleton housed inside the Museum of Natural History of Tirana, where it is still visible.

The video It wears as it grows by Armando Lulaj recalls the event by recording the transport of a reproduction of cetacean remains through the streets of the Albanian capital, as if it is a coffin. By the way of such a grotesque action, the skeleton was taken from a scientific context and ideally relocated within the political and social history of the country. In the final scene the skeleton is deposited inside the pyramidal mausoleum built to glorify the figure of dictator Enver Hoxha, thus further strengthening the link that, due to a ridiculous misunderstanding, has arisen between the whale and the power system that has turned it into the trophy of a ruinous witch hunt.

By retracing the friable ground of historical memory, Lulaj seeks to renegotiate the past, to question it, by taking a deep reflection on the transparency and opacity of things.


Monica Poggi


Armando Lulaj, It wears as it grows, (video frame), 2011.

© Armando Lulaj, 2011.