Salzburg Global Fellow Animates Campaign Against New Hydropower Development in Albania




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Oct 08, 2018
by Oscar Tollast
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Salzburg Global Fellow Animates Campaign Against New Hydropower Development in Albania

Young Cultural Innovator Kleidi Eski helped devise a campaign and produce music video to save the Valbona and Vjosa Rivers Kleidi Eski, a design professional and multimedia artist, at Salzburg Global Seminar in October 2017

The Valbona River flows through northern Albanian Alps and this beautiful, wild river forms part of what local activists like to call the “blue heart of Europe.” But, they warn, “the Blue Heart of Europe is at risk of a heart attack” thanks to the proposed development of hydropower plants along this biologically diverse artery.

Enter the eco-cardiologists determined to save the Balkans’ rivers from such destructive development.

One such activist is multimedia artist and Salzburg Global Fellow Kleidi Eski, who was inspired to take action, in part, thanks to his participation at the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators in 2017.

Eski currently runs Light and Moving, a multidisciplinary design and animation studio in Tirana, Albania, and attended the fourth program of the YCI Forum alongside four other “YCIs” from his country thanks to support from the Albanian-American Development Foundation.

Since leaving Salzburg, Eski has collaborated with others to campaign against the development of hydropower plants along the Valbona River.

Campaigners believe the development could cause much of the river to dry up, which would have a knock-on effect on the ecosystem and local communities who use water for drinking and irrigation purposes.

Construction has been ongoing inside Valbona Valley National Park since 2016. Earlier this year, Eski was asked to conceptualize a protest billboard campaign to be utilized in Tirana.

He created “Po Flet Valbona” (“Valbona Speaks Out”) as a slogan and logo. Working alongside Collective68, an open source web agency, Eski also helped set up a website providing information around the campaign and details on how people can join.

Eski says the streets of central Tirana were filled with “Po Flet Valbona” adverts for 10 days earlier this spring, while campaign brochures and stickers still continue to decorate many popular bars.

Eski and his peers are continuing their efforts to stop construction of the plants. He worked alongside a group of musicians, including singers Elina Duni and Eda Zari, to produce a song and animated music video in support of the campaign.

The video has already received thousands of views on YouTube and Facebook and has been shared across social media, attracting the attention of mainstream media outlets.

Eski told Salzburg Global his time at Schloss Leopoldskron had a significant effect on his way of thinking. He said, “The YCI Forum [at] the Salzburg Global Seminar has profoundly influenced me in believing that culture, art, and design can affect the world around us.

“More importantly, this experience proved [to] me that in order to create impact, it is important to join forces with everyone who shares the same ideals. Of course, I have done a little part of it, but this is already a [motivator] to do more in the future.”

You can learn more about the campaign here.