Preparing to launch – reflections of Naomi Russell, Liquid Becomings executive producer

We caught up with Naomi Russell – co-founder of agora now – to hear the latest news about the preparations for Liquid Becomings, The European Pavilion 2024, due to set sail in August.

 

Tell us a bit about your role as both a curator and Producer of Liquid Becomings

I’m the founder of agora now, a movement I started after many conversations with performance artists and makers from around the world who wanted to create a different kind of space for residencies and for knowledge exchange. Agora now led the consortium of partners and curators that responded to the open call from the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) to create The European Pavilion 2024.

I’m wearing two hats for this project. I’m the overall Executive Creative Producer with a helicopter view that knits all the different parts of the project together – from artistic, to production, marketing, and civic engagement to fundraising, budgeting and acting as the main point of contact for our principal commissioner the ECF, as well as other funders. At the same time I’m one of the eight curators who conceived the project concept, curated the different journeys, and selected other artists to join the boats. I will host and curate the journey on the Rhine together with Annette Mees. But I’m not going to tell you about what we will do on the Rhine yet! That’s to come.

You’re due to publicly launch the project at the end of June. Tell us more about the launch and what it is you’ll be revealing.

On 29 June, together with our partner and two curators in Belgrade – United Artist Labor, Bojan Djordjev and Siniša Ilič – we’ll unveil the 23 chosen artists for each of the boats and the routes for the four river journeys. Naturally, we’ll do this by sailing at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers where there are many important historical landmarks at this axis that resonate with our curatorial concept. There’ll be performative guidance illuminating the border of the Ottoman and Habsburg empires, the numerous layers of the Kalemegdan fortress, the Staro sajmište camp, modernist urbanisation, the flow of people, goods and even the smuggling of nuclear waste in the past, all the way to gentrification and the struggle for the public good in the present.

New work has been commissioned for the launch. A musical piece by Marija Balubdžić will be performed live and become the Liquid Becomings ‘soundtrack’. Four spectacular textiles by Siniša Ilić – one for each of our river journeys – will be revealed. Both of these new artistic creations will get to travel with the boats when we set sail at the end of the summer.

How big a challenge is it to get four boats sailing on four rivers with artists on board?

In short, it’s a huge challenge. There are many different components and moving parts: eight curators and two associate curators, five partners, a further 23 artists joining the crews, and four receiving a commission for our festival celebration in Lisbon in November. Then there are producers, marketing and social media, and behind the scenes people involved. All of us are freelancers who have had to become a team very quickly after being awarded the commission. We are spread all over Europe and the Global South and working together on all the production elements mostly online. We had a whole curatorial team residency together in April for one week which was really very precious: time working, eating and living together, enriching the curatorial ideas, planning the routes more specifically and, most importantly, selecting other wonderful artists who had responded to the call to join the boats as residents.

Practically there’s a huge amount to organise so we can be ready to sail safely and confidently. We are producing a biennale in less than 11 months. This is no mean feat. The level of organisation is immense: travel plans for almost 40 people including to and from the boats and to and from Lisbon, adaptations to the boats for each river because of different conditions, especially on the Tagus. Making sure each person sailing has the right health insurance in case something happens. We have been reaching out to engage with local cultural and civil society organisations to join activities when we arrive in their town or city, but at the end of the day if there is a major weather event while we’re sailing from one place to the other, we’ll have to stop and may get delayed. The balance of planning and being prepared for the unexpected is a constant in making this project happen.

When this all starts to feel overwhelming, I try to dial back and remember the moment when we heard we were awarded the curatorship. I was at a dance biennale in Maputo, Mozambique in December when Maria, one of my fellow curators texted me with the message “dude, check your email – we got it, we won!” It was an exhilarating moment to discover that we – a group of independent artists and small collectives/structures – had been awarded the commission unanimously by the jury. That adrenaline carries you through.

The enthusiasm of everyone we share the project with, whether it’s an academic from the Netherlands, civic engagement activists from Poland, Germany and beyond to friends who know this is a big project for me this year, is incredible. Everyone ‘gets’ and remembers ‘the rivers’. Liquid Becomings really resonates and there’s excitement about what we’re going to do. This keeps me going for sure. Miguel, a Portuguese architect who is part of the Bauhaus of the Seas European Project keeps saying. “You’re sailing four boats through Europe, this is amazing, you’re doing it!” And he’s right, we are doing it. Since I was a student in London, I have carried with me the words of Doris Lessing ‘whatever you need to do, do it. The conditions are always impossible’. This quote is stuck on my fridge at home. It’s a good reminder each and every day as we make this beautiful, crazy and necessary project happen in a very short space of time.

What have been the joyful highlights so far?

Receiving the submissions from artists to join the boat crews in response to our open call was really inspiring. Each and every one had made a thoughtful and precise response to the curatorial vision and their involvement; joining forces with the curators, is really what will make Liquid Becomings sing. Making the final selection was tough, but as curators we found it flowed. After selecting the artists we wanted to include on the boats, very organically and quickly we found we could cast them into smaller groups for each journey. Now we are starting to work with our crews on their ideas for each river journey as these are collective and participatory residencies. One of my crew, for the Rhine, just this week said: “I really appreciated the opportunity to be part of this kind of residency. It is the most open residency I’ve ever had the chance to be part of.” Each time a selected artist says something like this it reminds me of how we’re curating meaningful experiences: creating a joyful and collective body of artistic experience, encounter and knowledge by being together on the water, sharing, meeting people, finding, being together.

How important are the rivers – being on and by the water – to the project?

They are fundamental. When we came up with our curatorial proposal we realised very quickly we needed to rethink the concept of a traditional pavilion in one fixed place. We wanted what we did to reach the perimeters, to be outside of the usual centres and to encounter as many different places as possible. Even more, we desired a metaphorical space to hold complexity and celebrate the liminal state. Being in the water – inside the arteries that connect not only Europe but the world – and to embrace a slow and simple way of travelling, was our response to that. So water –  the rivers – sailing as an artistic practice – are very important.

What are you most looking forward to once the boats set sail?

Quite simply and very personally, I am looking forward to being on the water for a period of time, in the different time frame that this journey will create: a counterpoint to the constant ‘doing’ that too easily imposes on (my) daily life.

I love water, it brings a deep rest within me that is hard to explain. Until October 2023, I lived on the Amstel river in Amsterdam (and swam in it regularly) and now I live close to the North Sea where I swim every weekend. My love of water is, paradoxically, born out of trauma. My grandfather drowned on a family holiday when my Mum was four years old. I have photos of me as a baby, in the water in the months after I was born. My Mum now has severe Alzheimer’s and I can’t share the project with her as she doesn’t have cognitive capacity or much speech anymore. I keep thinking of this gift she gave me, a love of water, from a place of unimaginable trauma. We live in a world that is in chaos, in ruins, where there is so much grief, so much precariousness, and insecurity for too many people. How do we hold the space to acknowledge it, to listen attentively to grief, whatever it is and however it is experienced, and allow mourning to restore us. To be able to hope, to be able to act, to be able to imagine collective futures. This period on the boats is a time for me to reflect on that, in community with others – in a very personal way.

Finally, what are your top tips for joyful survival?

Take things a step at a time. Enjoy the rain on your skin when you forgot your raincoat. Don’t be afraid.

Liquid Becomings – why rivers?
MS-FUSION Wachau © Rainer Prohaska

Liquid Becomings is The European Pavilion for 2024. It’s not a traditional Pavilion or building, neither is it a space to be filled. It’s a time-based liquid pavilion, a flow of journeys, made up of small boats sailing along four of Europe’s greatest rivers.

Next week between the 7th and 11th of April, the Liquid Becomings curatorial team is gathering in Portugal. We’re looking forward to working together to plan the different journeys and the activities for each river. One important task when we meet is to select other artists who will join us on the different journeys later in 2024.

We called out for artists after the announcement of the commission on 14 February and received many wonderful proposals from Poland, Brazil, Slovenia, Switzerland, Peru, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, Argentina, America, France, Serbia, Croatia, Germany, South Africa, Czechoslovakia, and Portugal. The resident artists who will be chosen will join us to explore the concept of togetherness, co-creating ways of being together by building connections with the communities we will meet on the journeys.

Co-devised by artist-led collective espaço agora now – a movement driven by creating spaces to meet and be together – in Liquid Becomings these spaces are the rivers, the nervous system of Europe.

To give a flavour of how the project will come together we’ve made three short films: Boats, Journeying Together and Rivers, in which our curatorial team tell you more about the rivers we’ll be sailing along ­– the tranquillity that comes with being by the water, the sounds of life on the river, the potential for making these spaces special, and how water will inspire our work with communities.

You’ll also find out what will happen, what to expect, how meals and stories will be exchanged, how conversations will be held – and you’ll also be able to explore some of our provocations: How do things change as the rivers pass through different countries (thirteen in total)? How can rivers be both borders and fluidly borderless? Rivers carry the memories, histories and myths of our continent: how can we find ways to listen to what the rivers are telling us?

During our travels over the course of Liquid Becomings, we want to meet you. When we’ve finished, we’ll have found new ways of being together and new ways to tell each others’ stories.

Liquid Becomings is an espaço agora now production in partnership with FLOW, MS-Fusion, Teatro Meia Volta and United Artist Labour and has been curated by Bojan Đorđev, Laura Kalauz, Maria Magdalena Kozłowska, Siniša Ilić, Alfredo Martins, Annette Mees, Rainer Prohaska, Naomi Russell, and Olga Uzikaeva.

The European Pavilion 2024: Liquid Becomings – official presentation
Photo by Sander van Wettum

We invite you to watch the presentation of The European Pavilion 2024: Liquid Becomings, which took place at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam on February 14, 2024.

After a welcome from André Wilkens, Director of ECF, the jury representatives Sepake Angiama (chair), Ferran Barenblit and Hassan Mahamdallie elaborated on their  decision. Naomi Russel and Annette Mees, co-curators of  Liquid Becomings, then presented the content and plans of the project. The other co-curators and representatives of partner organizations FLOW (Warsaw), MS-Fusion (Vienna), Teatro Meia Volta (Lisbon) and United Artist Labour (Belgrade) took part in the final conversation, online from their cities.

Click the link below to watch the full presentation.

Visit Page
The European Pavilion 2024: Liquid Becomings

Imagine that the future of Europe is in your hands

The winner of The European Pavilion commission for 2024 is Liquid Becomings, a project led by the independent artists’ collective espaço agora now, in partnership with FLOWMS-FusionTeatro Meia Volta and United Artist Labour.

Liquid Becomings is not a traditional Pavilion. It is not an exhibition. It’s not even in a single location. Liquid Becomings is a journey, an adventure, a radical experiment.

Setting sail on September 1 for twenty-eight days, four boats will travel simultaneously along four European rivers: the Danube, the Vistula, the Rhine, and the Tagus, crossing a total of thirteen countries. Their crews of artists and captain will each focus on different themes: Ruins and Monsters, Perimeters, Togetherness, and Bodies and Politics. Each boat will make space for the communities and people they meet along the way to come together and share conversations and creativity, to explore and imagine the stories that will be told by the Europe of tomorrow – stories inspired by these four great waterways.

Europe is not an island, it is its rivers

Liquid Becomings will trace the contours of Europe through its rivers, focusing on alternative centres and movements, unseen territories and communities, as well as peripheral geographies and new perspectives. Through the rich symbolism of water, Liquid Becomings will explore the fluidity of the European identity, and asks what the future holds.

Visit Page
The European Pavilion announces five finalists to host the 2024 edition

We are pleased to present the five finalists selected following our call to curate and host The European Pavilion 2024.

During the past weeks, our external jury reviewed a longlist of submissions for their artistic potential to radically reimagine Europe and provoke critical questions.

The jury will soon finalise interviews with the five finalists still in the run for receiving a EUR 500,000 commissioning grant. In January, we will announce which of the remaining curatorial concepts is selected to develop and host The European Pavilion 2024.

In alphabetical order, please meet the final five project proposals:

FAILLE, by Cittadellarte and OGR Torino.

Let’s dream we are all EQUAL, by antiwarcoaltion.art and partners.

Liquid Becomings, by Stichting Pássaros | espaço agora now and partners.

Space of togetherness, by NEON.

Utopia is not an island, by LABoral Art and Industrial Creation Centre.

 

Visit Page
Call for Curatorial Proposals: The European Pavilion 2024

In June 2023, ECF launched a first commissioning grant of up to 500.000 EUR to be awarded to one single organisation or one consortium of partners for the curation and hosting of the European Pavilion 2024.

The grant followed a call open to legal entities from all cultural and creative fields in Europe and neighbouring countries, which were invited to submit an ambitious curatorial proposal that will ensure the visibility, accessibility and positioning of the European Pavilion as a major European cultural event in 2024.

The call was open from 15 June to 14 September 2023. Read more about it here.

The next Call for Curatorial Proposals will be published in February 2024.

If you’d like to stay informed, sign up for our newsletter.

 

Look back at The European Pavilion 2022 in Rome
Curious about what happened at our three-day artistic event: #TheEuropeanPavilioninRome? We invite you to look back with us and watch the after-movie.
Visit Page
Dinner for Future videos

 

When the project now is closing we would like to present two videos created by Dinner for Future’s companion artists.

“The enigmatic works of Ingeborg” by Johan Widén and “Cum Pane” by Elin Maria Johansson, Ylva Gislén and Johan Widén. You find them at Dinner for Future’s webpage.

Visit Page
The European Pavilion in Rome, 17-19 November 2022

The European Pavilion in Rome is a public programme that brings together artists, thinkers and researchers from across the continent and offers panel discussions, talks and workshops, music performances, a virtual reality environment, as well as sculptural and multimedia installations.

Over the course of three days, we will be addressing questions such as: How, through the metaphor of the pavilion, can we rethink the space and the landscape of Europe? What does a European Pavilion look like and what can it mean?

In French, the word ‘pavilion’ also refers to the visible architecture of our ear: the part that allows listening. With this in mind, the programme will pay particular attention to the rich diversity of languages and voices that make up Europe, including in particular those that are too often silenced or marginalised.

Thinking about Europe today is not possible without also taking into account the challenges faced by our continent, not least those posed by the war in Ukraine. While in Rome, we will draw inspiration from collective and individual initiatives engaged in efforts to overcome colonialism and the struggle against any forms of exploitative and discriminatory politics, and forced displacement.

The programme is co-curated by European Cultural Foundation Programme Manager Lore Gablier and Ukrainian curator Lesia Kulchynska, in close collaboration with all participating organisations: Ambasada Kultury (Berlin-Vilnius), ARNA (Sweden), Brunnenpassage (Vienna), EUPavilion (Rome-Zürich), Fondazione Studio Rizoma (Palermo-Rome), Iniva (London), L’Internationale (Madrid, Warsaw, Barcelona, Ljubljana, Eindhoven), OGR (Turin), State of Concept (Athens) and Studio Wild (Amsterdam).

In 2021-2022, The European Pavilion is supported by Fondazione CRT and developed in partnership with Camargo Foundation and Kultura Nova Foundation.

Looking forward to seeing you in Rome!

Read the full programme & RSVP [ENG] here.

Read the full programme & RSVP [Italian] here.

Visit Page
Cum Pane during the Biosphere Festival

For the Biosphere Festival, Dinner for Future’s three accompanying artists Elin Maria Johansson, Ylva Gislén and Johan Widén have made a series of art works that in different ways touch on our relationship with nature, food and food production. Through paintings, sound- and video works, ongoing conversations and happenings, the visitor is invited to become part of a metaphorical web that links the past, the present and the future.

Cum Pane will meet the public during the Biosphere Festival in Vombsjösänkan in the south of Sweden.

Visit Page
What does Europe mean to you? – an introduction to iniva’s DRIFT Digital Pavilion

An introduction to iniva and the DRIFT digital pavilion – visit the pavilion here.

A short film by iniva, filmed in the Stuart Hall Libary, London.

Contributors: Stuart Hall Library Research Associates –  Lola Olufemi, Rahila Haque, Adjoa Armah.  Open School East Director – Polly Brannan; iniva Archivist and Engagement Producer – Kaitlene Koranteng; iniva Curatorial Trainee – Tobi Falade; iniva Communications Manager – Jemima Yong; iniva Curator -Beatriz Lobo; iniva Library and Archive Manager – Tavian Hunter

DRIFT Film credits: Producer Director – Anthony Comber-Badu; Camera -Jack Barraclough; Editor – Jack Barraclough; Music – Jesse Gallagher (The Blue Pearl) Jesse Gallagher  (The Annunaki Return) Jesse Gallagher (Spenta Mainyu).

Visit Page
Short Review on the StoryWalks and exhibition opening

It’s been a blast! Two weeks ago StoryTelling;Europe! celebrated its premiere with the StoryWalks and the opening of the multi stationary exhibition in public space A Viennese Caravanserai.
We celebrated and engaged with a lot of different people – protagonists from the productions, artists, neighbors, colleagues from other institutions and many more
At this point we are very pleased to share some picturesque insights with you before we gonna have a short summer break, but the exhibition is still on view till 1st of October. Check out our website and download the map to navigate through the exhibition A Viennese Caravanserai and listen to the soundfiles of the StoryWalks.
StoryTelling:Europe! continues with the following activities after the summer:
–>  Let’s Cay and Talk // Open Space on StoryTelling:Europe! 16th of September 2022, 19th at Brunnenpassage
–> Presentation at the StreetArtFestival the 1st of October 2022 at Yppenpark
–> Show at the Volkskunde Museum Vienna from the 23rd of November 2022

Stay tuned***

News from StoryTelling:Europe!

The last few weeks have brought many collective learnings and inspirations to our StoryTelling:Europe! Project. In the framework of two Co-Creation Labs that included spaces to create, experiment and reflect, the team dived into central questions of Europe, its frontiers and potentialities.

In the stories and interactions, we have experienced in the microcosm of the Brunnenmarket, we found many valuable clues, answers and insights that illuminated our questions. We put the focus on the collective needs we have identified when thinking about the past, present and future of Europe and even on the emotional reactions evoked by this word associated with very different life experiences and realities. Europe as a bridge, as a place of re/construction, as a place of trauma and dream, as a space of transgenerational co-creation, connection and transformation, a place with a collective responsibility and very diverse experiences of privilege.

The exercises of imagination and dialogue have allowed us to question stereotypical images and narratives and open ourselves to listening to the hidden stories, those that happen between the lines, those that were never told or heard, in a very situated context, here and now, among our neighbours, workers, entrepreneurs and children of the local communities.

The two artistic research processes of StoryTelling:Europe! – the development of audio-guided StoryWalks and the mixed-media exhibition in public space A Viennese Caravanserai – allowed us to think about strategies of intervention of our contemporary realities through art, opening up a spectrum of possibilities of unlearning, reimagining and building shelter for our common human experiences and dreams.

The team is now very excited, and concentrated in the last days of preparation and rehearsals before the opening of our artistic productions to the public!

–> StoryWalks and audio station
A project by Melika Ramić & protagonists from the Brunnenmarket
StoryWalks for the public: Thu June 23rd & Fri June 24th, 4.30 p.m.
Audio station in the window gallery of Brunnenpassage: from June 23rd till September 2022

–> Exhibition Opening of “A Viennese Caravanserai” with carpet concert by Seba Kayan and Kamyab Sadeghi
June 24th, 2022
A project by Asma Aiad & the business owners of the Brunnenmarket
June 24th to October 1st 2022

For more information see our website.

Dinner for Future – Open Table Talk

Different kinds of experiences met, and all the senses were used, in the round table conversation in the artist Johan Widén’s studio on 5 May. At the center of the conversation was the question of how we can find strategies to deal with an increasingly uncertain future regarding food on the table. With reflections starting in Greek myths, over to grain’s path through Europe from ancient times to the present day and over to intuition as a guide for choosing seeds, the conversation opened up many new perspectives. The starting point was today’s crisis, showing how interconnected all countries are, but the conversation trailed over to the importance of new stories, as in science fiction, as enabler of alternatives for the future. And even if we did not come to a solution for the starting question, we went home with new hope.

Visit Page
Waste/d Pavilion, Episode 2: Oliver Ressler – Assets Must be Stranded & Bona Fide 2: Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou & Elsa Brès

 

Exhibition: May 28th 2022 – September 24th 2022

State of Concept Athens is happy to present the second episode of Waste/d Pavilion, the solo exhibition of Oliver Ressler, entitled Assets Must be Stranded, curated by iLiana Fokianaki, accompanied by BONAFIDE 2, a pairing for a young art critic and a young artist, contoured by a public program composed by PAT.

Oliver Ressler has been for many decades working in the intersection of art and politics, closely inspired by and connected with the work of various activist groups and social movements, civic society and volunteer groups. Overall his work is characterized by themes that relate to politics, the aftermath of globalization and turbo-capitalism, protest and democracy, the commons in relationship to labour and questions that relate to ecology and sustainability and how these connect to the damaging effects of the anthropocene/capitalocene.

For this exhibition, Oliver Ressler presents works that will resonate very much to Greek audiences who the last decade witnessed protests and massive mobilization against extraction and pollution throughout the country: from the case of Erimitis in Corfu to the resistance against wind turbines in the historic Agrafa mountains, to the goldmine in Skouries in Northern Greece. Ressler has been following the environmentalist movement and has produced a series of films examining questions of climate activism. Primarily the artist will premiere for this exhibition, his most recent film The Path is Never the Same (2022), discussing the efforts of activists and local residents from 2012 until this day to stop the lignite mine operations in Hambacher Forest in the region of Rheine, Germany by occupying trees and living on them.

Visit Page
The time for denial is over

Since the 1960s, a movement of globally connected artists, intellectuals and activists has been persistently campaigning for the restitution of African cultural artefacts, and human remains as part of the decolonisation strategies. After a long period of stagnation, the debate has accelerated in recent years, with examples of physical restitution such as the Behanzin treasures to the Republic of Benin or the Benin Bronzes to Nigeria. While actual restitution will be decided at the highest diplomatic level and delayed for as long as possible, it will be up to artists and civil society to speed up and accompany this process. The time has come to follow those who have led the way to create a broad and transnational movement. How can these objects be returned in their symbolic, social and historical significance? How can restitution be linked to contemporary contexts of knowledge production, social interaction and global justice?

Studio Rizoma and GROUP50:50 invite artists, activists and thinkers from Europe and Africa that represent the avant-garde of a transnational restitution movement to present and discuss their practices. After the first stage in Palermo, the “Transnational Restitution Movement” protagonists will travel on to Leipzig, Lubumbashi, Kinshasa and Berlin in 2022 and 2023. In each city, they involve local artists and activists in their reflections and artistic production to take the transnational restitution movement forward.

Visit Page
A Sentimental Journey through Europe

For ECF 2022 magazine, Common Ground, Monica Sassatelli (associate Professor of sociology at the University of Bologna) published “A Sentimental Journey through Europe” (p. 135-140):  an essay that reflects on the notion of European Sentiment and how The European Pavilion initiative contributes to enriching it.

The idea of a pavilion that is singular in the name but actually plural and diverse in its concretisation seems really promising to materialise and develop these family resemblances and this quest to reimagine Europe. A space that is not a predefined box but grows with its content, some of which will be contradictory and filled of ‘pluralistic agonism’.

– Monica Sassatelli

Visit Page
What is Nation? – artists’ conversation on the occasion of 59th Venice Biennale

#driftdigitalpavillion

iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) in partnership with aabaakwad 2022 The Sami Pavilion raises the question, ‘What is Nation?’, explored through an in-person conversation with artists Sonia Boyce, Zineb Sedira, Stan Douglas, and Yuki Kihara, and chaired by iniva artistic director Sepake Angiama.

What is Nation? opens up the possibility to think beyond boundaries and borders of land and water, thinking through what is carried in the body to m/otherlands, to disperse diasporas, forge post-national imaginaries, identities, communities & formations of new fluid subjectivities. We ask the artists presenting at the 59th Venice Biennale, ‘What does it mean to represent a nation?’

The conversation will be recorded by iniva, and included in its Drift digital pavilion, which will launch online in May 2022.

This event is part of a wider day-long event hosted by aabaakwad, titled aabaakwad conversations taking place on the 22 of April in Venice to coincide with the 59th Venice Biennale. For more information about the full programme and details on how to attend, please see aabaakwad’s website here.

 

Image credits: Water at the three project sites- The Thames River, the Margate Coastline, and Venetian Lagoon. Photos by Beatriz Lobo.

Yuki Kihara (photographed by Sarah Hunter), Stan Douglas (photographed by Seham), Sonia Boyce (photographed by Anne Purkiss) and Zineb Sedira – all images courtesy of the artists.

The European Lunch Salad

”Europe meets in the lunch salad, the world meets at the dinner table”

The European Lunch Salad is a simple way to describe how interconnected the countries in Europe are in every day food products. ARNA asked our fellow European Pavilions to send photos of a popular lunch salad in their home town. It turned out that salads from Vienna, Madrid, Turin, Amsterdam and here in the south of Sweden are very similar to each other. So in a sense we are sharing the same meals around Europe.

See the lunch salads and what they contain at https://arna.nu/en/projects/dinner-for-future

Dinner for Future’ scenario planning

March 10-11, 2022, Dinner for Future arranged a scenario planning about the food in Vombsjösänkan 2037. The workshop led to exciting conversations about the food on our plates as the point where local and international development meet and how the Ukraine War now makes these complex connections clearer.

On site Kick-Off with the artists for StoryTelling:Europe!

On site KickOff with the artists for StoryTelling:Europe!

Brunnenpassage is delighted to announce that we finally could host an on site kick-off meeting with the invited artists involved for our production StoryTelling:Europe! which is part the European Pavilion Initiative. Asma Aiad, Melika Ramic and Natalia Hecht are ready to start their work in the neighborhood of Brunnenpassage, the market area, which represents Europe and beyond within a nutshell. On the basis of the concept of our two interlinked projects which will have premiere and opening 23rd and 24th of June 2022, we are diving more and more into the topics and emerging questions which might be of relevance in the collective process of transmedia storytelling in the upcoming month.

Brunnenpassage is excited and very honored to work with those wonderful artists within the European Pavilion Initiative. We are happy to introduce you to:

Asma Aiad, conceptual artist, activist and youth worker.
She has earned her Bachelor’s degree in political science and is currently studying at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She is completing her Master’s degree in Gender Studies, with a research focus in Islamic feminism. Her activism and artistic work deal with topics like identity constructions, anti-racism, feminism and the deconstruction of stereotypes. She is a co-founder of “Salam Oida”, an initiative that celebrates Muslim culture and art in Austria. Her various works such as “This is not a headscarf” or “(Un)Seen Sacred Spaces”, she explores her Muslim identity in Austria and Europe and issues such as discrimination, representation, and art.
For StoryTelling:Europe! she is developing a multimedia stations exhibition in co-creation with protagonists of the market under the title “A Viennese Caravanserai”.

Melika Ramic, performance director and art education
She has worked at the Burgtheater Wien, Wiener Festwochen, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus as well as Dschungel Wien, Brunnenpassage ArtSpcialSpace and others. In 2010 she founded her association motschnik and staged various plays for young audiences, which were shown at national (spleen*graz, Szene Bunte Wähne, SCHÄXPIR Linz) and international festivals in the UK, Malta, Switzerland, Luxembourg.
Since 2017 she has collaborated with the Canadian group Mammalian Diving Reflex on projects such as Haircuts by Children, These Are The People In Your Neighbourhood, and All The Sex I’ve Ever Had, touring to the US, Finland, Australia, Slovenia, and Germany.
In 2021 she was curatorial collaborator for the family program of the Kultursommer Wien. She is currently working as an artistic collaborator on the long-term project “Humboldting the Humboldt” between the Humboldt Forum Berlin and the Thomas Mann Gymnasium Berlin under the artistic direction of Darren O’Donnell.
For StoryTelling:Europe! she is creating performative StoryWalks with and by children of a neighbourhood school class collecting and sharing stories with and by local shop operators and market stall workers.

Natalia Hecht, Community Artist, Psychologist, Cultural Evaluation Expert from Argentina living in Vienna.
At the core of her artistic practice are participatory co-creation and reflection processes with communities. Through collaboration, artistic intervention and critical social reflection, central topics such as diversity, migration, transculturality, feminism and collective care, are explored in order to initiate processes of self-representation and transformation. Natalia has specialised in designing and leading evaluation processes in the cultural sector with an art-based, discrimination sensitive, participatory approach. She has been part of Brunnenpassage Team for many years developing artistic projects and leading community engagement and evaluation processes.
Her role in StoryTelling:Europe! is supervisor, curatorial one with a focus on the development of thematic focus, methodology and the interrelation between the project rails.

Let’s get started in the field – we’ll keep you posted.

THE DEMOCRACY PAVILION CONFERENCE. Ljubljana, March 9-11

The Democracy Pavilion conference in Ljubljana on March 9th and 11th is organized by the L’Internationale association in cooperation with ZRC SAZU as part of the European Pavilion program, an initiative by the European Cultural Foundation.

Plans for the Democracy Pavilion were first drawn up some months ago. However, with the current Russian’s army invasion of Ukraine in our minds, L’Internationale association wants to use this platform to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

We will begin the sessions on Wednesday with news from artists and cultural workers in Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora. We hope that some of them will be able to travel to Ljubljana so that we can listen to what they want and need. During the three days, we will also discuss many issues of democracy, Europe, colonial legacies and contemporary empires, also remembering ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and elsewhere, as well as the histories of exploitation and erasure that still manifest themselves in the present. Our question remains what does democracy mean in these current, bleak conditions? How do we both seek to defend the limited space to think and act that we still have and push for a new sense of living well and caring for the planet we share?

Conference programme

The panels and keynote talks will be streamed online from European Cultural Foundation YouTube channel  

Dinner for Future welcomes the project’s companion artists

How does the food of the future taste is the question ARNA asks in Dinner for Future. The basis of the work is an understanding of food as a complex network of connections. Not only between landscapes, plants, animals and people but also between producers and consumers in a global market.

The project takes place in Vombsjösänkan, an area which is a candidate for becoming a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Here are some of the Sweden’s best arable lands that have the longest known history of agriculture in the country, lean lands, historically extensively cultivated land, several nature reserves and a large military training field. The issues raised by the project are highly relevant in a broader context: Sweden’s domestic food production has been halved in thirty years and is today very vulnerable to external disturbances. These are becoming increasingly apparent, from the global pandemic to climate change and the war in Ukraine.

The project’s three coompanion artists will help to capture and, through literary and artistic work, shape and complicate the issues that arise during the project. Primarily, they will present their material during the Biosphere Festival in September 2022, but also during the project’s workshops and meetings that will bring together farmers and other food producers, researchers, students and other stakeholders.

We are excited to welcome the following artists to Dinner for Future!

Ylva Gislén is a poet / author. Among other things, she was the director of the national Art Graduate School 2010-2015. www.ylvagislen.se

Johan Widén has been an artist, nationally and internationally active since 1988. Was 2000-2010 professor of free art (painting) at Kungl. Stockholm Academy of the Arts. www.johanwiden.studio

Elin Maria Johansson is an artist, educated at Kungl. The Academy of Fine Arts. Works with video, performance and installation. www.elinmariajohansson.com

Visit Page
Presentation: How do we keep the channels open with all this salt?

Research Network Associate Cairo Clarke shares reflections on the shape her research has taken over the past year as her practice began to spill into territory outside the curatorial sphere. Piecing together fragments from archive visits, conversations with family, readings and materials she has come into contact with through this period of research as well as the everyday conditions that have continued to shape it.

The event title and line of inquiry is a quote from Alexis Pauline Gumbs in conversation with Christina Sharpe for the 39th issue of The Funambulist.

 

Cairo Clarke is a curator and writer based in London and Naples. Her work is informed by slowness, it centers forms of knowledge production and dissemination that slip between the cracks, are formed on unstable ground and take on multiple temporalities. Supporting strands of theorising taking place in autonomous spaces and holding space for the mess.

Cairo has worked closely with artists to develop and share instances of work across film, performance, printed matter and events as well as sharing self-led curatorial projects across numerous sites including Pompeii Commitment: Archeological Matters, Deptford X and LUX. In 2019 she launched SITE, a publication and curatorial project exploring alternative encounters with artist practice and the dissemination of research. Cairo is the 2020/21 Curatorial Fellow at LUX. Previously she was a member of The Black Curriculum, and continues to work in educational spaces.

Translating Resistance, Smuggling Utopia: Towards a European Pavilion in Marseille
Leyla Dakhli, Elsa Dorlin & Caroline Meyer Picard

Within the framework of the European Pavilion initiative, the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, has invited French-Tunisian historian Leyla Dakhli to lead a collective process entitled Translating Resistance, Smuggling Utopia. Consisting of researchers, translators, artists, and activists, the collective shares, reads, compares, and discusses texts, archives, and ideas to retrace some trajectories of resistance and utopian thinking in ​Southern ​Europe and the Mediterranean.

In December 2021, Leyla Dakhli came to Camargo for a 5-day residency and as the curator of this program, she extended this invitation to philosopher Elsa Dorlin and choreographer Caroline Meyer Picard. Together they started an initial discussion on the possible angles, questions, materials and forms they would like to explore throughout the process.

In February, the trio will return to Camargo to pursue their reading and translation of political and poetic texts that challenge the very concept of border. During this workshop, a few threads will be pulled from a tangle of words, images, sounds, and ideas, to be weaved into more tangible directions. An actual bibliography of texts to be translated will start taking shape, which may include fragments of manifestos, poetry, speculative fiction, ethnographic writing, and scientific literature.

Visit Page
Public presentation of The European Pavilion at OGR Torino

On 12 November 2021, the European Cultural Foundation, Fondazione CRT, and OGR Torino hosted the public kick-off of The European Pavilion.

You can watch the recording of the presentation on:

Summit Syndicat!
graphics by ciao ciao studio

Syndicat! is part of Studio Rizoma’s contribution to the European Pavilion.

Picking up the roots of early sindicalisti, workers’ unions and anarchist philosophy, Syndicat! invites artists, researchers and citizens to elaborate and present ideas for concrete alliances that build connections between the port cities Palermo, Tunis and Bremen, culminating in a series of performative conferences to be staged over multiple days at Ecomuseo Urbano Mare Memoria Viva.

Syndicat! is neither utopian nor an abstract intellectual exercise but a concrete experiment in action, drawing from the lessons of past failures and successes in Tunisia, Sicily and the European Union. Top-down, institutional attempts to build functioning transnational alliances and practices appear stalled and victim to mutual distrust. And yet: is it possible to federate not states but people?

The talks and discussions are divided into four thematic sections that serve as an overview of topics that are relevant across both shores, clearly presenting a shared interest: Liquid TerritoryThe Port CityAgrinomics and Shared History, Shared Future.

Visit Page
Studio Wild – The Forbidden Garden of Europe

Until 26/11/2021 at Spazio Punch, Venice

As part of the European Pavilion, we supported The Forbidden Garden of Europe, a project by Amsterdam-based architecture practice Studio Wild. Presented as part of the public parallel programme of the Dutch pavilion during the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, the project takes the form of a garden of ‘invasive alien plant species’, which have been listed for their ethnic and biological characteristics and pose a threat to European native species. Using plants as a metaphor, The Forbidden Garden of Europe sheds new light on politically charged topics and tells the story of these invasive alien plant species.

The European Pavilion Podcast

While developing the European Pavilion programme, we produced a series of podcasts that contribute to a critical and creative debate on the future of Europe, and which are a first manifestation of The European Pavilion itself. Together with our guests, we discuss topics such as public space and ecology, post-national imaginaries, representation and lived experiences, or the need for a just transition.

Listen to all the episodes here.

Visit Page
Website by HOAX Amsterdam