In Search Of Europe
   Image: Samuli Schielke, 2009

Agentur in Transit presents:
#01-12:    Daniela Swarowsky (A): IN SEARCH OF EUROPE


The In Search of Europe Exhibition is an autonomous part of the interdisciplinary research project In Search of Europe: Considering the Possible in Africa and the Middle East, which is located at the Zentrum Moderner Orient/ZMO in Berlin. The research started mid 2010 and will end in 2014.

Part of the curatorial concept is to couple each of the six researchers - and thereby each research project - with artists from the respective sites of fieldwork and to commission one work of art from each artist. The artists are asked to comment and give their vision of the respective scientific questions, problems, and theses in their medium. At the same time, the researchers (anthropologists and historians with a background in Islamic studies) are asked to respond to the visions, theses, and positions of the artists. The collaboration is a dialog in which, from the beginning, art is the equal partner of science. To make the process of dialog visible in the exhibition and a part of the collaboration, the task of documenting this process is assigned from the start to each 'pair'.
In Search Of Europe
   Image: Samuli Schielke, 2010

Central to the curatorial approach of the In Search of Europe? Exhibition are preliminary events in Istanbul ('Artistic research : Academic research & modes of collaboration'), Paris ('The Visual Representation of 'the Other' seen as a Genre'), Cairo, Alexandria ('The European Curator, the Orientalist & the Egyptian Translator'), Dakar (t.b.a.), Maputo und Bamako (t.b.a.) in the year 2012, which are in preparation.
In workshops, exhibitions, screenings, and debates, artists and cultural producers are invited to contribute local discourses and to critically comment upon In Search of Europe?. The materials resulting from this process will come together in the main exhibition in Berlin at the end of 2013 in Berlin's Kunstraum Kreuzberg/ Bethanien.

What binds all In Search of Europe? topics together is the historical experience with and of Europe, which large parts of the world experienced, from the 19th century, latest, up to today. The In Search of Europe? research projects look into how people in different locations have been and are still struggling with these challenges: from ottoman travelogues, to intellectuals all over the world having to grapple with ideologies and social movements (like liberalism, socialism, communism, feminism etc.), to potential migrants developing highly personal imaginaries of Europe.

In Search Of Europe
   Image and drawing: Metod Blejec, 2011

With In Search of Europe? we critically question the notion of Europe and ask what it means to strive for a better life in an unequal world in which people repeatedly must compare themselves with standards set in the 'West': in the dominance of European languages, educational systems, urban planning, nationstatehood, securalism and not at least contemporary art. But isn't the concept of 'Europe' a metaphor and projection screen for what people want to realize in their own countries? Is Europe perhaps nothing more than a myth to whose maintenance one laboriously clings? The contemporary art of the 'global South' was created against this backdrop and can, like no other, reveal the contradictions of this relationship and even contribute to designing a new order for the world.

Curator: Daniela Swarowsky
Curatorial Assistance: An Seebach
Research team (ZMO): Dr. Samuli Schielke (projectleader), Dr. Bettina Graef, Dr. Knut Graw, Dr. Aissatou Mbodj, Leyla von Mende, Vanessa Diaz

Daniela Swarowsky is a curator and cultural producer living and working in Rotterdam and Berlin. Since 2010 she works at Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin where she holds a research fellowship and curates an exhbition in conjunction with a research project called 'In Search of Europe? Considering the Possible in Africa and the Middle East'.
Over the past nine years she has developed a series of art-projects related to questions of migration and identity in her position as artistic director of ZiM Foundation in Rotterdam. Her film-trilogy 'Messages from Paradise: About the Permanent Longing for Elsewhere' (#1 Egypt:Austria, #2 Morocco:Netherlands) is a series of fictive dialogues around imaginaries of a better life and myths associated with migration.

ISOE exhibition website In Search of Europe