Thirty scenarios, and thus thirty different ways of thinking about Europe, form the point of departure for the trans-regional art project Europe (to the power of) n
, which takes place in Brussels, Istanbul, London, Łódź, Minsk, Novi Sad, Høvikodden/Oslo, San Sebastián, and Beijing between 17 July 2012 and 30 April 2013. This project has been made possible through the Excellence Initiative of the Goethe-Institut. The launch of the project starts with a festival at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. Within this frame a selection of scenarios and their protagonists are presented.
The background: Europe (to the power of) n
was initiated by Sabine Hentzsch, Goethe-Institut London and Heiko Sievers, Goethe-Institut New Delhi. The international curators are: Peio Aguirre, Kit Hammonds, Tone Hansen, Jarosław Lubiak / Joanna Sokołowska / Jarosław Suchan, Filip Luyckx, Markus Miessen / Felix Vogel, Lena Prents, Esra Sarigedik Öktem, Miško Šuvaković, Jun Yang. Artistic Director is Barbara Steiner.
An understanding of Europe that is pluralistic, heterogeneous, frayed and full of contradictions forms the basis of the project. This Europe arising from the scenarios is permeable and not closed. This Europe has challenging relationships to others, is challenged and challenges itself in itself. It does not defend its identity and unity, but opens itself up.
What is the interest of artists in scenarios? Mainly the aspect of a hypothetical construction of future – the one that leads us to imagine alternatives beyond the status quo, and even encourages us to broaden our perspectives and ask questions about how something might arise. In his Polish Mission in Auroville
the artist Janek Simon sketched two possible perspectives: either the artists' dystopian/anti-utopian way of thinking could shatter local harmonious community life, or the artists, who share a penchant for pessimism, black humour, decadence and irony, are infected by the positive view of the world in Auroville. Melanie Gilligan develops in Popular Unrest
the vision of a future that subordinates human beings fully to the needs of the capital.
These and other scenarios, that have been developed by international artists in collaboration with international curators, are shown, realised, contextualised and extended at nine venues in and outside the European Union between July 2012 and April 2013: The Serbian curator, Miško Šuvaković, presents ten from thirty scenarios in Novi Sad, Janek Simon travels to Auroville and the Norwegian contribution – Freedom Requires Free People
by Ane Hjort Guttu – is shown by the Belarusian curator, Lena Prents in Minsk. Whereas the film was intended to comment on European school systems meaning is shifting in Belarus to a fundamental plea for freedom. The film shows an eight-years old boy who fights against a disciplinary and standardising school system and claims the right of discrete thinking. Slavs and Tatars continue their research about Shiite mourning rituals that are celebrated today in many European major cities.
The partner institutions and venues are:
- Museums (Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź; Muzej savremene umetnosti Vojvodine, Novi Sad; San Telmo Museoa, San Sebastián)
- Curatorial Departments, affiliated to Universities (Curating Contemporary Art Department / Royal College of Art, London; Contemporary Art Study Centre / European Humanities University, Vilnius)
- Contemporary Art Centres (Sint-Lukasgalerie, Brussels; SALT, Istanbul; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden / Oslo; Taipei Contemporary Art Centre, Taipei)
- Alternative Venues (Galerie Y, Minsk; Vitamin Creative Space, Beijing / Guangzhou).
- Others (Office for European Capital of Culture 2016, San Sebastián / Novaja Europa Magazine, Minsk)
The different locations not only play an important role in the project in terms of variety and contextual differences, they also challenge political, economic, social and cultural definitions and conceptions of a united, exclusive European community from various perspectives because they:
- distance themselves from it from the very beginning,
- place great emphasis on political independence or autonomy, or are viewed with suspicion or even excluded by those who see themselves as part of the European community,
- have problems “to practically live” community.
China's and Taiwan's participation in this project is to be understood in an exemplary way. Today, the relationship between China and “Europe” can be described as more exposed in comparison to other relationships between European and non-European countries. This is reflected not only by media coverage, but also by political, economic and cultural undertakings. Taiwan was invited because it qualifies China's self-projection as a great, homogenous and stable block – just as the above-mentioned places challenge the idea of a strong “core” Europe.
However, the relationship between “Europe” and China/Taiwan is not the only point of interest, also with and through the works of art Europe is set in relation to others taking into consideration its colonial, non-European past, its current migrant imprints and its increasing global interdependences. And the fact that asymmetry produces winners and losers, dependencies and inequalities, which cannot be seen in an isolated sense in any part of the world, is also manifested by the situation of the Philippine population in Tel Aviv – the contribution of the artist Köken Ergun. So we are not speaking of a selfreferential Europe here. In this project, Europe’s culture is clearly embedded in other cultures and cannot be understood as a solitary entity.
Europe (to the power of) n
is a project of the Excellence Initiative of the Goethe-Institut. The study that preceded this project, Scenarios about Europe
, was carried out in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Leipzig between September 2011 and April 2012.
Europe (to the power of) n
is coordinated by the Goethe-Institut in London in collaboration with 10 institutions in and outside the European Union.
Launch and festival are realised in close collaboration with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. The artistic presentations are made possible through the support of Arend Oetker, Berlin. The entrance is free.
The publication Thinking Europe: The Scenario-Book
, the study preparing the project, is published by Jovis Berlin and can be ordered under: www.jovis.de/index.php?idcatside=3530&lang=2
Copies for journalists are available at the press and public relation office on enquiry.
Further information about the project: www.europe-n.org
The first project within the frame of Europe (to the power of) n
takes place at the Royal College of Art, Battersea Galleries, 18. 7. – 11.8.2012
Project Partners are Goethe-Institut. With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Allianz Kulturstiftung.
Press and Public Relation: Markus Müller
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Artistic Direction Europe (to the power of) n