tit.for.tat. Counter Images for Transcultural Thinking and Acting

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4th exhibition of ”Land of Human Rights“

Exhibition venue < rotor >, as a part of steirischer herbst, 2008.

Participating Artists

Ingo Abeska (Graz), Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson (Rotterdam), Tanja Dabo (Rijeka)
Enks (Graz), Igor Grubić (Zagreb), Lisl Ponger (Vienna), Nada Prlja (London / Skopje)
Khaled D. Ramadan (Copenhagen), Delaine und Damian Le Bas (Worthing, Sussex), Aandrea Ressi (Vienna), Szu Szu (Warsaw), Sylvia Winkler & Stephan Köperl (Stuttgart)

Happiness in life for everyone! It fails. The categorical imperative stops at the other, the unknown, the unfamiliar. Foreign customs, religion, other languages, even skin colours form the building material for barricades of fear, equally around Fortress Europe. Strategies of breaking them down seem increasingly helpless. Xenophobic thinking and acting becomes a calamity for all those who leave their homelands, setting out not only with their needs but also their ideas and dreams in search of a better future.
Those stereotypes that become fixed in our minds as a concomitant of xenophobia are a central aspect of ”Counter Images for Transcultural Thinking and Acting“. This is the point where a field of activity opens up for art: Alternative images are possible and we can work on developing the present situation under different auspices. Such counter-concepts empower us to hone our view and revise the conceptions stored in our own minds. ”Wie du mir“ works on counter images for thinking and acting beyond national, cultural and religious boundaries.

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Nada Prlja, “Local Globalism”, 2007 – 2008
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Nada Prlja, “Local Globalism”, 2007 – 2008
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Nada Prlja, “Local Globalism”, 2007 – 2008
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Nada Prlja, “Local Globalism”, 2007 – 2008
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Nada Prlja, “Local Globalism”, 2007 – 2008
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Room 1
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Damian Le Bas, “Roma Europe”, 2007 – 2008
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Szu Szu, “Kashanti boat”, 2008 + Damian Le Bas, “Roma Europe”, 2007 – 2008
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Szu Szu, “Kashanti boat”, 2008
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Szu Szu, “Kashanti boat”, 2008
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Tanja Dabo, “You are beautiful person”, Video Still, 2006
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Igor Grubić, “Kommt es durch die Hintertür (It Comes Through the Back Door)”, 2008
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Lisl Ponger, “Xenographische Ansichten (Xenographic Views)”, 1995
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Ingo Abeska, Installation in the atrium, 2008
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Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson, “DEIN LAND GIBT ES NICHT”, 2005 – 2008

The exhibition project “tit.for.tat. Counter Images for Transcultural Thinking and Acting” is taking place at: Afro-Asiatisches InstitutChiala AfriquasISOPKHG-GalerieMegaphonMinoriten-Galerien im Priesterseminar, Public Space.

Co-produced by steirischer herbst, Afro-Asiatisches Institut, ISOP, KHG, Kulturzentrum bie den Minoriten & < rotor >.

 

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Engaged Art

For almost two years now the art association < rotor > has been dealing with the project “Land of Human Rights”, which is to provide artistic analyses and visions of the human rights situation in Europe. So < rotor > was invited by Astrid Polz-Watzenig, head of Afro-Asiatisches Institut Graz to participate in an exhibition jointly conceived and organised by a network of institutions which aims at opening up alternative perspectives on coexistence in a more and more diverse and colourful transcultural society.

Since it was founded in 1999 < rotor > has been working with artistic tendencies which keep a close and critical watch on social changes. Many artists have been presented since then who take up social and political, economical and ecological issues in their work. At the same time a strong focus on dialogue and cooperation with various different art scenes in Central and Southeast Europe has been established.

One of the central issues worldwide and at the same one of the big challenges Europe is confronted with in the present day has been of particular importance in the work of < rotor > in recent years: migration. Various exhibitions have already shown how artists see the theme of migration, which considerations have arisen with regard to the European Union’s relationship to the countries of the ‘European Neighbourhood Policy’, what is meant with the notion of the ‘Fortress Europe’ and which migration issues arise outside of the EU, in the ‘other’ Europe. Often artists are not only able to produce aesthetically convincing works of art pertaining to these or similar questions but also show remarkable knowledge of the state of the facts.

The part of the exhibition “TIT FOR TAT” which has been organised by < rotor > is presented in its own gallery space in the Volksgartenstraße plus on several locations in public space. What is on display is an international selection of 13 artistic positions revolving around two central notions: anti-racism and nation state.

Turning away from the concept of the nation state is absolutely essential; after all it is based on ethnic homogeneity. The nation state has been much too often the construct on the basis of which people who speak a different language or belong to a different culture or denomination were and still are discriminated, excluded and subordinated. The tight framework of the nation state isn’t compatible with present-day demographic structures anymore. It ought to be replaced by a more open and forward-looking model – a model which is characterised by transcultural thinking.

Anti-racism implies the categorical rejection of any form of discrimination of other people on the basis of their language, culture, status as a minority, denomination and colour of their skin. Eventually, anti-racism necessitates permanent watchfulness and reconsideration, not least with one’s own patterns of thinking and behavior. Once again it is the artists who set us thinking about this through the means of visual art available to them.

Margarethe Makovec & Anton Lederer

 

Press:

  1. PROGRAMMZEITUNG WIE DU MIR Gegenbilder für transkulturelles Denken und Handeln Ausstellungen, Diskussionen, Rundgänge 4. Oktober – 29. November 2008