Past, Present and Future of the Balkan Migrations in Countries of Central and Western Europe
Exhibition opening: 14. December 2017, 7pm
Europoly – The European Union Identity Trading Game by the artist Dejan Kaludjerović
On view: 15. December 2017 ‒ 12. January 2018
15. December 2017, 6pm
16. December 2017, 1pm
12. January 2018, 5pm
A fourth multidisciplinary event in the framework of the project EUROPOLY takes place in Vienna, realized in collaboration with four independent organisations – Krokodil (Serbia), Bijeli Val (Croatia), Crvena (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and BLOCKFREI (Austria). The intention of the project is to research and map the intense social, cultural and artistic influence which this long-term wave of migrations made on the West Balkan countries, as well as the countries that mostly represented final migrant destination.
An exhibition, series of regional conferences and film screenings are being held held during 2017 in four cities: Belgrade, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Vienna.
The framework and a starting point of EUROPOLY is the art project EUROPOLY – The European Union Identity Trading Game by the artist Dejan Kaludjerović.
Art project EUROPOLY – The European Union Identity Trading Game is created in the form of a social game inspired by Monopoly. It questions the position of the immigrants in EU, general idea behind the EU, as well as the gap between ideals and practice. Citizens of the non-EU countries, who are working in the EU countries, have been photographed and with their professions are featured in the installation. Luck, to a great extent, determines the possible rise or fall of the players who wish to become part of the EU and acquire new European identity. The European Union defines European identity as something that is provided only within the Union and only to European Union citizens, although Europe does not end at the borders of the Union. However, the EU does have the power to define identity, the power to set up the rules of a game others have to join. The consumer society of the European Union has created a rule, that ’everything is for sale’, including even notions of identity.
The exhibition is on view until 12. January 2018.
Day I: Friday, 15. December 2017, 6pm
“We Refugees” – this is how Hannah Arendt titled her small piece published in 1943 in The Menorah Journal. Arendt’s “We refugees” goes deep into the tissue of our time: Our societies, the face of today’s Europe, our lives, are changing rapidly. If the very introspective act of imagining oneself as a refugee is made impossible, furiously rejected as “Gutmensch”-utopia and seen as dangerous for “our societies”, what are the consequences for solidarity within our societies? The sudden move from “Willkommenskultur” in Germany and Austria in 2015 to “politics of fear and walls” of today stands for a structural change of preconditions for livable life. Judy Butler’s term “livable life” points at the life that can be lived, a normal life that has to go beyond the minimal requirements for a mere survival. The boundaries of livable life for vulnerable parts of our populations today are marked by nationalism, xenophobia, exclusion and segregation. Particularly refugees and migrants have become the new “others”, the embodiments of the fear from every kind of insecurity in the future, our fears. (Zygmunt Bauman) Our imagined “vulnerability” is played against the second-class vulnerability of the other that we fear. This is the new constellation haunting the vision of open and democratic Europe. The discussion in two panels of the first day will dig deep into this new constellation.
The first panel will trace the “We refugees” claim throughout the history, look back to learn about the (possible) future. Do we need to reconsider and re-think the usual notions about Balkanese migrations to Austria? Have the vulnerabilities of the past been transformed into new modes of (multiple) belongings today, of “livable life”? Questions arising from today’s perspective will be the permanent link between the first and the second panel: What happens with spaces for freedom, and ultimately for livable life of all under the new constellations of “fear and walls”? What are the consequences of the politics of fear? And finally, is not the vulnerability of today’s European vulnerable – of refugees, migrants, and dispossessed – our own vulnerability? Exploring the horizon of Europe of “livable life” will be the ultimate utopian goal of the first day discussions.
“We, refugees?” – (Un)livable life of vulnerable
Introduction and moderation: Vedran Džihić (Vienna) – politicologist, researcher
6pm – Part I: Looking back to see the future: Austria and Western Balkans tied by history, and culture and migration? Exploring old and new modes of belonging
Igor Štiks (Edinburgh/ Belgrade) – philosopher, writer
Karin Liebhart (Vienna) – politicologist
Nina Brnada (Vienna) – journalist
8pm – Part II: EUROPOLY – GLOBOPOLY: Refugees and migration in the European focus – Constellations of (non)belonging and fear
Arash T. Riahi (Vienna) – filmmaker
Igor Štiks (Edinburgh/ Belgrade) – philosopher, writer
Philipp Ther (Vienna) – historian
Ulrike Lunacek (Vienna) – politician, MEP
Day II: Saturday, 16. December 2017, 1pm
Exhausted (Art) Geographies – After many theoretical, practical and political attempts to define geopoliticality of the contemporary art, especially after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, we faced with an impossibility to define the politics of geographical location outside the global map of the neoliberal distribution of power. Using different means of diversifications, the old one such as: colonial, capitalist and patriarchal mechanisms of social and geographical (re)production and the new one such as: technological, scientific and (techno)cultural methods of social and territorial identification our global world became the geopolitical location where the majority of people doesn’t belong. Inhuman chains of migrations back to back with catastrophic climate changes are ultimate geopolitical exposures of new social class structure within the neoliberal globality in the age of the permanent war. Many artistic practices, theories, exhibitions and critics are a political display of such exhausted geographies or by other words, geopolitical zones of discomfort which refuse to be mobilized for territorial, national, ethnic, religious, economic or other geographies which create the politics of global domination and (post)human exploitation. Starting from those attempts to refuse and to resist to the geopolitics of the present, as well of from the impossibility to step out of perpetuating geopolitical past, those two panels will discuss geographies in conflicts i.e. exhausted geographies and its material limits enacted by political, economic, climatic and epistemic violence of today’s global map shaped by neoliberal distribution of power.
Exhausted (Art) Geographies
Introduction and moderation: Jelena Petrović (Belgrade/Vienna) – art researcher and curator
1pm – Part I: Geopolitical art-zones and its discontents (Discussion on art economy and its geopoliticality)
3pm – Part II: Future Geographies (Discussion on possible futures: an art world beyond the neoliberal geography)
Panel I/Panel II Participants:
Elke Krasny (Vienna) – cultural theorist, curator
Iliana Fokianaki (Athens/Rotterdam) – writer and curator
Lana Čmajčanin (Sarajevo/Vienna) – artist
Marko Lulić (Vienna) – artist
12. January 2018, 5pm
SUPERFLEX, 20 Min, Denmark 2015, OmeU
Kwassa Kwassa is a film work by SUPERFLEX portraying the construction of a boat on the island of Anjouan, in the Comoro archipelago between Madagasgar and Mozambique. Although usually used for fishing, boats like the one built in the film are in many cases also used for transporting migrants to the neighbouring island of Mayotte, a French oversea territory and the outermost region of the EU. The islands are 70 km apart – separated by a seemingly short, but life-threatening journey that has claimed more than 10,000 lives of women, men and children. Kwassa Kwassa interprets the boat as a contextual construction intended to carry migrants on a dangerous, politically complex journey. Carrying more than symbolic meaning as a vessel for dreams of reaching a better life on the other shore, the boat is also a labor-intensive work of craftsmanship and the physical passage bearing human lives to safety – as the title questions in translation “an unstable boat” from the language of the Comoro Islands.
The Great Wall
Tadhg 0’Sullivan, 71 Min, Irland 2015, OmeU
As the migrant crisis in Europe intensifies, this pertinent documentary investigates the barriers to entry erected by E.U. member states: concrete, wire, and electronic surveillance. Using as its narration Franz Kafka’s short story “The Building of the Great Wall of China,” the film flows from the Mediterranean coast inward to metropolitan seats of power, offering political insight through the juxtaposition of modern imperial authority and desperate migrant poverty.
Angela Melitopoulos, 130 Min, Greece 2006, OmeU
Corridor X deals with the historical migration and transit route connecting Germany and Turkey via the former Yugoslavia and Greece—which the European Union’s enlargement policy is now expanding as the tenth corridor. The film juxtaposes the geographic corridors of memory and perception in migration and diaspora with an investigation of the situation of the postwar Balkan territories.
Film selectors: Dina Pokrajac (Subversive Film Festival), Jelena Petrović
Local partner: Volkskundemuseum Wien
The project is supported by Allianz Kulturstiftung, ERSTE Foundation, Federal Chancellery of Austria, The City of Vienna, Austrian Cultural Forum in Serbia, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, The City of Zagreb, Eurocomm-PR GmbH.