Arts Interventions Development


Norway / Albania / Austria / Kosovo 2019 - ongoing

An international, interdisciplinary theatre laboratory on trust, tribes, topography and transnationalism. 

The BESA PROJECT draws inspiration from sources as seemingly diverse as the medieval Icelandic sagas of and the written and unwritten laws regulating social interaction in the old tribal highlands of Albania and Kosovo, collected and systematized in written form as the Kanuni

Stage 1 will be the development and promotion of the legal and formal framework for a new category of visitor’s visas – «besas» - for visitors and/or asylum seekers to European Union countries, based on the Albanian concept of besa (generally translated as: word of honour, promise, pledge), as deemed in the northern Albanian rules and social codes of honour coll described in the Kanun of Leke Dukagjini. One of the central aspects of besa is the sacred duty of the host to offer his guest not only hospitality, but also protection from harm under any and all circumstances. The host assumes responsibility not only for the guest’s well being, but also for any misdemeanours or crimes the guest might commit while under the host’s besa.   

The besa/visa framework will be developed through a series of councils, seminars, workshops and public perfor­mances organised by Norwegian hypertheatre company in close collaboration with local and interna­tional partners and participants in the region, investigating to what extent a detailed tribal codex can still be relevant and applicable to today’s society, and what adjustments will need to be made.

In the subsequent Stage 2, the developed besa/visa plat­form can also serve as a potential prism or filter for the sta­ging of modern or classic drama, by applying its rules and codexes to regulate the play’s character and the way they relate to each other (but without changing the manuscript). Imagine how a besa version of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, or Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, might look for instance.

All tribes have their written and unwritten laws – with BESA PROJECT, we aim to bridge the past and present and see if they can make a future.