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In Search of Europe

A group of young volunteers in discussion with Petra Ardai and Nevena Bajalica, curators and workshop leaders, next to the exhibition panel with Danilo Kiš, a world-renowned Serbian-Jewish author.

During the first night after opening, somebody drew neo-nazi and antisemitic signs on that panel. A couple of days later, somebody else (we don’t know who) patched the desecrated space on the panel with a piece of paper with the word “peace” written on it. Other anonymous bypassers joined in countering the antisemitic incident by writing “peace” on the paper. After a couple of days, the paper was filled with the word “peace” written in different languages. Neonazi and nationalists continued damaging and violating our exhibition panels and spaces around them, but it only made this spontaneous and simple act of upstandership even more appreciated and important.

June 26 – 17 July

The exhibition was placed along the promenade on the Danube quay, from the entrance to the Strand beach to the Cultural Center “Silk Factory”.

About the search for Europe

“In Search of Europe” is a story about the creation of post-war Europe and the Europe that we have yet to create

In a walk through the historical, moral, and political dilemmas that Europe faced after the crimes and horrors of the Second World War, in which the Holocaust has a special place, and with a review of a few thoughts of a group of selected historical figures, the exhibition in a more or less indirect way touches on the complex social changes and processes that shaped the post-war society and defined the fundamental European values of civil rights, respect for human dignity and democracy, and thus enabled the creation of Europe as we know it today, with questions addressed both to the individual and to the entire European society, about what kind of Europe we want tomorrow.

Passers-by who walk by the billboards, or stop at the “stations”, are an inseparable part of the exhibition, the central part of which is dialogue, reflection and exchange with citizens and among citizens.

Conceptually, the content is divided into three parts:

  • Facing the past,
  • Reconciliation and
  • Reforms – EUpilogue.

Realization

Production: Terraforming
Author of the concept: Miško Stanišić
Curators: Nevena Bajalica , Benjamin Fischer and Petra Ardai
Artistic advisor: Andrea Palašti
Design: Darko Vuković
Printing and editing: Atom d.o.o.
Organization and implementation: Terraforming team – Ljiljana Ćumura , Snežana Vranić , Violeta Vojkan

The project was supported by:

“Novi Sad European Capital of Culture 2022” Foundation
Friedrich Ebert Foundation
Swedish Embassy in Belgrade
Alfred Landecker Foundation

The panel with Willy Brandt

The panel with Lou de Jong

The panel and pavement desecrated by nationalists with the letter “Z” in support of the Russian aggression on Ukraine

Danilo Kis

Nationalism is an ideology of banality. Nationalism is a totalitarian ideology. Nationalism is, above all, paranoia. Collective and individual paranoia. As a collective paranoia, it is a consequence of envy and fear, and above all a consequence of the loss of individual consciousness

From an interview in the magazine “Ideje” in 1973. ”

Nationalism is a brake on the development of man as an individual and society as a whole.

Willie Brandt

History, no matter how bitter it is, is a reality that continues to influence our present and our future every day.

From the speech in Jerusalem, 7. June 1973

The Germans must bear the responsibility. But responsibility is not the same as guilt. Those who are not guilty of Nazi atrocities, however, cannot escape the consequences of a policy that too many Germans willingly joined.

From the book “Criminals and other Germans”, 1946

The Holocaust, an unprecedented crime, changed the face of Europe forever.

Simon Weil

Destroying the past is perhaps the greatest of all crimes.

“The Need for Roots: Prelude to a Declaration of Obligations to Humanity,” 2003.

Showing a partial truth through distortion, manipulation and politicization of the history of suffering is worse than a complete lie.

Lou de Jong

The various documents and records represent the diaries that countless citizens have inadvertently kept. This material will provide future generations with an accurate picture of what ordinary people experienced during the years of war and occupation.

Statement in a radio program, December 1945.

Faced with the terrible crimes of the past, we have created common European values of civil rights, respect for human dignity and democracy.

Melina Mercuri

The past must leave the museum to become a source of inspiration.

From a speech at the UNESCO conference in Mexico, 29 July 1982

The culture of memory, like all other segments of our national culture, are an inseparable part of the common European experience and cultural heritage.

Public forums

The public debates were held in the Cultural Center Silk Factory. Each evening the program was combined with public debates realized in cooperation with the organization ASA FF from Chemnitz, Germany, whose exhibition “Open Process” was set up in the neighboring hall. That way, each evening, after the “In search of Europe” debate, another “Open Process” debate would be held.

SATURDAY, 2. July

18.00 – 19:00

PANELISTS

Curator and moderator: Miško Stanišić , director of NGO Teraforming

The entire exhibition and event I attended exceeded my expectations. The amount of care that went into it, as well as the ability to quickly respond to unforeseen changes are examples of Teraforming’s vast experience! The level of debate and the ability to find a common language among such diverse participants was impressive and that’s why I want to be involved and follow the further work of Teraforming!

Benjamin Fisher

Program manager at the Alfred Landecker Foundation, activist, former president of the European Association of Jewish Students, Germany

THURSDAY, 7 July

18.00 – 19:00

PANELISTS

Curator and moderator: Benjamin Fischer from Berlin, program manager at the Alfred Landecker Foundation , activist, former president of the European Association of Jewish Students

I really enjoyed my stay in Novi Sad and the discussion. It was an open debate with space for critical and progressive thinking and exchange of views on similarities and differences in different contexts. What left the strongest impression on me were the discussions, but also the meetings in the context of which the discussions took place. In this way, we were able to enter the spheres of Serbian political and social reality, which simultaneously forced me to face my own prejudices.

Maximilian Max Cholek

Poet, writer, co-founder of the Coalition for Pluralistic Public Discourse, Berlin, Germany

My overall impression of the program I attended and participated in is that the issues addressed in it are still not only relevant, but also crucial in the context of the current global political and environmental crisis. What seems to be a question of how we remember the past, turns out to be decisive for our future again. More work needs to be done to better understand how the turbulent recent decades have shaped current social circumstances in our region, and the framework of the culture of memory provides us with the necessary conceptual tools to do so. Novi Sad, and Serbia in general, needs more programs like this one.

Dr. Vlatko Ilić

Associate professor at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, theater director and author, Serbia

WEDNESDAY, 13 July

18.00 – 19:00

PANELISTS

  • a group of young men and women from Novi Sad
  • Nevena Bajalica , program manager of NGO Teraforming ,

Curator and moderator: Petra Ardai , artistic director of the art collective “SPACE” , director and theater pedagogue

I liked the visual aspect and the effective graphic design of the project that made the programs accessible and attractive. The key moment of the workshop and panel that I led with young people from Novi Sad was how the participants felt and articulated how the history of Europe affects their daily lives. We have dissected and redefined the meaning of “being European”. The participants concluded that the notion of “being European” should be redefined in a continuous dialogue between generations, minorities, ethnic groups, newcomers and the local population. I found it very inspiring that the young people of Novi Sad engaged in a playful but challenging way to define Europe through memories, senses and dreams. With that, our public conversation crossed the line of a regular discussion, went beyond the obvious. It was political but also personal at the same time. We really engaged in the search for Europe.

Petra Ardai

Artistic director of the SPACE art collective, director and theater pedagogue

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