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TRANSEUROPA FORUM IN BERLIN Cuban artist Tania Bruguera says: “Art is a tool to enact ideas that seem impossible”

TRANSEUROPA FORUM has inaugurated at Allianz Kulturforum in Berlin on Friday 25th October 2013 with the keynote speech by journalist and commentator Robert Misik (, Standard). Misik's intervention evolved around the questions "What kind of Europe do we want? What kind of community? What kind of politics?". His concerns are that things are not working that well anymore. He said, "We need more instruments for citizens to participate. More democracy, less expertocracy". He added: "Although to get out of the crisis we need more Europe, European politics has dramatically lost legitimization in the past years". The evening continued with the round table "Are you uncomfortable disrupting normal behaviour? – Acts of dissidence and radical citizenship", which has been moderated by journalist Margerita Tsomou. The discussion focused on the interaction between artistic practice and democratic resistance. Its starting point is that "here in Europe we have entered in a permanent state of crisis". Erdem Gündüz, the Turkish choreographer who surged to fame as The Standing Man of Taksim Square, pointed out that we need new meanings of democracy. In particular, as Gündüz has noted during the protests in Istanbul last summer, "individual activity has more effect than collective activity, because the system cannot (yet) deal with it". The necessity for new forms of protests has been highlighted by Ole Frahm and Torsten Michaelson of the German artist collective LIGNA. In particular, Frahm noted that the control in and on our society has changed, and that Art is an important mean for agency and not only of representation. At this stage Tania Bruguera, the world-famous Cuban installation and performance artist, talked about her concept of arte util, which means both "useful art" and "art as a tool". According to her, "political art (i.e., art that works politically) is the art that deal with consequences, the art that makes metaphors operative". She added: "Art is a tool to solve problems. Art is a tool to enact ideas that seem impossible. Art can be used to infiltrate the political terrain" with new ideas and meanings. The evening of discussion has been preceded by the enactment of the artistic performance Air Time at Brandenburg Gate at 17:30, which took place with the participation of Erdem Gündüz, the LIGNA collective and of more than 70 people who have staged a 40-minute long choreography inspired by the actions and the ideas of movements of protests all around the worlds. Air Time consisted of an artistic audio track that participants had previously downloaded to their mo3 players. The track gave instructions to participants on how to interact with the space and people around them. Photos and press material are immediately available at: Back


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