As the debate about the future of Europe continues, on Wednesday 1 February 2017, 12 new contemporary art installations imagining what Europe might look like 2,000 years from now, and how our present might be viewed from the future, opened at the V&A
. The installations are commissioned by the Goethe-Institut London and the V&A and went on display as part of the free week-long festival, Collecting Europe. The festival also includes a range of talks, discussions, live performances and workshops to encourage debate around what Europe and European identity means to people today, following the result of the UK referendum on EU membership in June 2016.
Created in a range of media from digital and interactive installations to film, sugar sculpture, tapestry, live performance, musical interventions and pocket-sized publications, the artworks transform spaces across the Museum, including the Europe 1600-1815 Galleries, the British Galleries, the Dorothy and Michael Hintze Sculpture Galleries, and the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries. The artists commissioned offer a range of viewpoints from within and outside Europe and include Raqs Media Collective from India, the Berlin-based Italian film-artist Rosa Barba, Dutch digital and performance artist Constant Dullaart and one of Taiwans leading artists, Tu Wei-Cheng.
The 12 selected artists and designers are:
Rosa Barba, Let Me See It, Italy (based in Germany)
Thibaut de Ruyter, A Song for Europe, France (based in Germany)
Constant Dullaart, The European Classes, The Netherlands
Fru*Fru, Eurasic Bath, Spain
IC-98 in collaboration with Kustaa Saksi, A World in Waiting, Finland
IF in collaboration with 00, Europa, UK
Jasleen Kaur, Yoorop, Scotland (based in London)
Onkar Kular and Common Initiative, 4017 Enacted, UK
Tasha Marks - AVM Curiosities, Alabaster Ruins, UK
Raqs Media Collective, The Return of Tipus Tiger, India
Remco Torenbosch, EU, 2017, The Netherlands
Tu Wei-Cheng, Enfolded World: Mysteries of Lost Civilisations, Taiwan
Angela Kaya, Director of the Goethe-Institut London, said: For some people, Brexit is an expression and strengthening of British identity; for others it means alienation from their own or adopted country. Beyond Brexit, migration and nationalisation tendencies make this a critical moment for us to ask: What defines Europe and European identity today? What does Europe mean as an idea? Through Collecting Europe, we want to take visitors on a journey 2,000 years into the future to look back on the world we inhabit. It is only with this historical distance that we can get a clearer sense of what Europe means today.
Tim Reeve, Acting Director of the V&A, said: As major global events continue to unfold, citizens are inevitably questioning what Europe stands for and how they see their place within it, the arts have a unique and important role to play in encouraging debate around the big questions of the day. Collecting Europe is a responsive and thought-provoking project, tackling these issues through the lens of art and design. Visitors encounter exciting and provocative installations that interact with our world-renowned collections and historic spaces, created by artists living both inside and outside Europe. They also have the chance to share their own opinions and ideas about the world we live in, through a series of workshops, forums and open discussion.
Collecting Europe includes a digital element, with a new micro-site developed in partnership with the British Council. The site, created with the design agency The Beautiful Meme, asks questions and invites people across the globe to join the dialogue in a playful and interactive way, contributing opinions to change and shape a digital Europe.
Rebecca Walton, Regional Director for Europe at the British Council, said: We are very excited to be bringing Collecting Europe within the reach of audiences who would not otherwise enjoy it. Across the world people will be able to join the debates about Europe, and about identity, which this festival will trigger. We hope the conversation will roll on, gathering wisdom and new ideas as it goes.