Press Release: TRANSEUROPA Festival 2015 calls on political movements to go beyond fragments
Europe-wide festival of politics and culture culminates in Belgrade, Oct. 1-5
September 10, 2015 – The unfolding “refugee crisis” in Europe demonstrates in brutal detail the consequences of Europe’s fragmentation. From Greece to Calais via Hungary and Ventimiglia, rising nationalism is causing countries to retreat from joint challenges and to remilitarise Europe’s borders. While underscoring the ineptitude of regional and national governments, the events of the last week demonstrated the breathtaking power of civil society.
“Where governments were bureaucratic, European civil society was responsive. Across the region, networks sprouted and united online and on the ground to support refugees who themselves were empowered to challenge European borders,” said Daphne Büllesbach, a Director of European Alternatives and co-organiser of the festival. “At TRANSEUROPA, we’re mobilising the people who make this kind of change happen to move further beyond defragmentation to build a new Europe.”
“We are excited to have this lively debate in Belgrade,” adds the Ministry of Space collective, the local co-organizer of the festival, “as it is the place that vividly experiences many European policies, struggles and dilemmas, but also hypocrisies, including the refugee crisis, austerity measures, megalomaniac projects and new kinds of movements.”
The festival programme is divided into three themes: new forms of politics and movements, alternative economies and the commons. Contributors include artists, activists and leading thinkers such as philosopher Srećko Horvat, political scientist Ulrike Guérot, activist and Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde, author and activist Brett Scott, theatre director Angela Richter and Guardian journalist Nabeelah Shabbir.
In collaboration with artist and activist Tania Bruguera, who serves on EA’s advisory board, the festival will highlight the interconnectedness of art and activism through the Why Artivism? performance. The performance is a transnational reenactment of Tania Bruguera’s marathon reading of Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism during her detention in Cuba. Readings will take place on September 26 in Belgrade, Rome, Berlin, Lisbon, Paris and Warsaw.
With Serbia the new route of choice for so many refugees, a number of artistic performances to be held in Belgrade are particularly timely: a documentary performance on Europe’s relationship with “otherness”, a photography exhibit illustrating the crossing of EU borders’ barbed wire and a night of Syrian poetry-in-exile.
Throughout its seven year history, the festival has called upon participants to imagine, demand and enact a new Europe. Never has this call been more urgent than today: mounting crises, many self-made and re-erecting of borders such as yesterday when only those with a German, Swedish or Danish passport were allowed to enter Denmark across its southern border, show an alarming reversion to a Europe of nationalism and borders. TRANSEUROPA Festival is about the other Europe: the one that is unified and borderless and not defined by the EU.
TRANSEUROPA Festival is free and open to the public. International participants who need it may seek support for their accommodation in Belgrade.
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European Alternatives (EA) is a transnational civil society organisation promoting democracy, equality and culture beyond the nation state. EA has offices in Rome, Paris, Berlin and London, and member groups across the continent. More information at www.euroalter.com. For more information on the TRANSEUROPA Festival, visit http://transeuropafestival.eu
Ministry of space (Ministarstvo Prostora) is a collective founded in 2011 with the aim of monitoring future development of Belgrade and other Serbian cities. In implementing its projects and activities the Ministry of space closely collaborates with a network of researchers, activists, groups and individuals working in different fields such as architecture, urban planning, sociology, art and political science. More information on http://issuu.com/ministarstvoprostora/docs/ministry_of_space
This press release is also available in Portuguese.