With a special focus on what it means to be 'at home in Europe', this latest edition of the LabforCulture newsletter links both of our recent Regions in focus (Bulgaria & Romania, as well as our new Region in focus, the Nordic region) with a selection of viewpoints guest edited by Clymene Christoforou of ISIS Arts in the UK. Participate in the dialogue she has opened up with some of the artists and organizers involved in the At Home in Europe project, which you can read below.
Europe is made up of sovereign states each with their own national 'story'. Several of these states were subject to more or less totalitarian regimes for 50 years post World War Two. Others have a Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox or Islamic heritage. Some share the ancient Greek and Roman cultural heritage, others not.
In thinking of a modern European cultural identity is there an expectation that former soviet states divest themselves of their past, and that their artists and cultural producers embrace a new post communist liberal democratic European identity? And where does religious sensibility fit within this debate?
In England, where people still talk of 'going to' Europe, cultural diversity is not the result of someone else's empire, but of England's own. In considering intercultural dialogue do Western Europeans think more of the legacy of our colonial pasts, than of what we might share as Europeans? '
Within a European political framework, culture deliberately remains the responsibility of the member states. The best way, it is felt, to safeguard and grow the cultural heritage of each nation. But what does this mean for the nomadic "international' artist?
Can there be such a thing as a European project? Can we share a cultural heritage and celebrate our difference or can European identity only ever be a fall back position in times of conflict and fundraising?
These were the questions raised as we developed 'At Home in Europe' which considers cultural celebration and cultural assimilation within a European home (land).
Sometimes I'm a Bulgarian artist, sometimes I'm an Austrian artist, sometimes I'm an Austrian artist from Bulgaria, sometimes I'm Bulgarian artist from Vienna, and sometimes mysteriously an artist from Bucharest or Australia. Since the beginning of this year I have often been welcomed into Europe (when they know I am from Bulgaria, people say 'Welcome into Europe') even I knew I was always here.To read more about Borjana Ventzislavova's residency, click here.
The Bulgarian artist and writer Vassya Vassileva remarked to me, about the work I made while on residency in Sofia, that it was always asking how to respond responsibly. And respond is what I wanted to do - to the people I met - to the observations I made - to the situations I found and created - and always to the overarching question that my residency was framed by - what is it to be at home in Europe?
Cultural Forum for Europe organised by the Portuguese Presidency in Lisbon, Portugal, 26-27 September 2007.
Part of a Working Group on the future of Cultural Web portals during the IETM Autumn Plenary Meeting in Ghent, Belgium, 6 October 2007.
LabforCulture invited Rotterdam-based curator and critic Nat Muller to report live from the opening days of the Istanbul Biennial as well as further explore the impact of the event in a series of interviews and reports after her return from Istanbul. Follow her blog here.
As the far northern reaches of Europe begin their descent into long winter nights, LabforCulture turns its spotlight on the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in our latest Region in focus.
LabforCulture invited the creative team of the Norwegian organisation Pikene på Broen ("Girls on the Bridge") to present a perspective on the region from their unique position in the Arctic border community of Kirkenes in the extreme northeast of Norway. We also present more than 100 cultural and artistic organisations that are involved in cultural cooperation within the Nordic region and beyond, prepared jointly by Pikene på Broen and INTERCULT in Stockholm, Sweden.
LabforCulture celebrates its first anniversary in true collaborative style by announcing the curator selected to conceptualise and manage an online presentation of specially commissioned artworks. Read more about curator Ana Peraica's project Victims' Symptom: PTSP (post traumatic stress syndrome) and culture and check back often to stay informed about all the latest developments in the project over the next months.
Over the course of the summer, LabforCulture and documenta 12 magazines collaborated to present 2 week-long workshops in Kassel during documenta 12: 'Paper and Pixel' and 'The Position of the Speaker'. Participants from the two workshops reported live from Kassel; all of their blog posts, discussions and the podcasts from these weeks can be accessed on LabforCulture.org.
Don't miss the opportunity to announce your events and news in our special forum on LabforCulture.org. Let the community know about your cross-border cultural/artistic events, projects or opportunities. The forum is open to everyone!
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