by Luigi Galimberti Faussone
Throughout 2011 and 2012, European Alternatives had been running the Transnational Dialogues, an exchange project between Europe and China involving young artists, curators, researchers and intellectuals from all cultural fields. The activities included numerous transnational camps and research tours, the staging of artistic interventions in urban settings, instigating a great number of video-interviews with Chinese and European cultural figures, and maintaining a blog, which is now accessible along with several videos, photos and articles on the project’s websitewww.transnationaldialogues.eu
The issues at stake were many and all quite sensitive. Economic development, labour conditions, civil rights, democracy, freedom of expression, urbanization, the state and the market, public space, commons, independent art spaces, the role of the artist, etc. Anyone familiar with the Chinese context knows the frustration which originates from openly discussing such issues in depth. In order to avoid a likely stalemate, the discussion moved from the halls of academia to the studios of visual artists, where art itself became a common ground for everyone to exchange their views and develop new thoughts.
Therefore, we took art as a language, and yet further, the artist as a privileged interpreter of society and as a powerful impetus for change. The ultimate goal of this project was that of looking at China as if it were a special mirror, through which we can gain a better understanding of the European present and possible future.
The Transnational Dialogues Journal collects the contributions of all participants of theTransnational Research Caravan (Luigi Galimberti Faussone, Lonneke van Heugten, Lorenzo Marsili, Niccolò Milanese, Ségolène Pruvot, Robin Resch, Mike Watson and You Mi), as well as some of the people that had held an active role in supporting the Caravan’s journey (Zandie Brockett, Lu Xinghua, Ni Kun, Alessandro Rolandi, Wang Shuo and Yang Shu) or those who had been actively involved in other activities of related to the project, such as curator Boliang Shen, who was part of a group of Chinese artists and curators whom toured Italy in May 2012 (seehere ) and artist Adeline de Monseignat, who participated in the conclusive trip across Shanghai and Beijing in December 2012.
The publication is freely accessible and downloadable (in PDF format).