Organised within the framework of The Uses of Art, a project by the European museum network L´Internationale, this event reflects on the formation of new cultural and political agents as a result of the insufficiency of the institutional structures that have articulated the European project up to now. Structured into workshops and round tables, the event seeks to pave the way for a renewed social pact between institutions and civil society.
The reasons that the institutional structures have proven insufficient are various and complex. On the one hand, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, which reduced the need for a united Europe as anti-Soviet as it had originally been anti-Fascist. Another factor was the primarily economic slant of the EU process in the 1990s, which neglected the cultural and political foundations that would make the European project capable of responding to the processes of democratic agency in a society in continuous transformation.
A new “abduction of Europe” has occurred but this time it is not the crafty Zeus who, charmed by the Phoenician woman named Europa, abducts her in order to offer her the pleasure and glory of the Greek kingdom. Instead, it is financial logic that abducts her, and at a very high price: the very identity of Europe as the potential for change and for democratic emancipation. Spurred by this dramatic urgency, the encounter intends to help lay the foundations of a radically new form of political and cultural agency. Aware of the changes occurring in the world system and of the end of liberal public sphere, The new abduction of Europe seeks the emergence of new actors arising from collective intelligence and the transformation of museums and cultural institutions in recognition.
Despite an almost existential precariousness, it is the world of art and of the new cognitive work movements that have most theorised and practiced a different Europe, conceiving of it as a space in which to imagine a new critical and common process. An expectation which, in the framework of L’Internationale –a museum network based on horizontality between institutions and also between institutions and society– tries to define a common vocabulary, so as to bolster a unifying project that breaks through the border between debate and action and that, in short, thinks about the potential and accumulation of culture in times of austerity and scarcity.
The event will have two round tables, with important European thinkers, which will be open to the public and also streamed live. At both debates there will be active moderation and a direct dialogue with members of the audience, those present physically and those participating through the social networks. The two tables will examine the most pressing questions related to Europe’s present.