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DOES EUROPE EXIST ? Citizen Middle East Relocated Stitching the Buffer Zone ARTos Foundation 1 – 15 November 2012

Within the framework of the Cyprus presidency of the Council of the European Union the ARTos foundation is organizing an exhibition entitled “Does Europe exist?” (1 -15 November 2012). This exhibition poses the question, among others, in how far Europe as an entity exists within its “geographical”, and not only, space. How do we see Europe through the media? The complexity of problems and the hazards of these times should lead us to a reevaluation of the situation. Culture, through the citizens who produce or consume it, should follow renaissance and anthropocentric approaches. Above all it should be able to aim towards social thought, through self-awareness and stepping out of the passivity that pervades us. Reconciliation with our history and coexistence with the environment and multiculturalism should be the only way for us. The Colosseum of ancient Rome should stop being reproduced on our flatscreens. The exhibition “Does Europe exist?” primarily highlights, challenges and proposes actions that aim towards the self-awareness of Europe, criticism towards the blazing Middle East, reflections of the small but important Cyprus as Europe’s outpost in the southeastern Mediterranean. Art does no longer concern us as a system, or as a production, but as a raison d’être and a voice that must position itself in substance. “Does Europe exist?” consists of “Citizen Middle East”, “Relocated” and “Stitching the Buffer Zone 1: Territories are but fear of space”.

Citizen Middle East Featuring Guest Presentations and Works By: Yousef Moscatello Haytham Nawar Khaled Ramadan Ilka Eickhof Aladin Curated By Aida Eltorie Relocated Inês Rolo Amado Stitching the Buffer Zone 1: Territories are but fear of space Stephanie Keszi & Georgia Frangoudi Maria Costi de Castrillo Anna Grichting Solder


An article published in The New York Times’ arts and culture blogger page, entitled “Does Europe Exist?” in May 2008 by Barry Gewen, pondered the idea of whether Turkey should become part of the European Union, and whether Europe should consider the economical implications, as well as the cultural impact it will create across a continent that seemingly was not prepared to host an entire confrontation of religious and socio-anthropological diversities. That thought has allowed for another mediation to occur towards the question: What cultures do exist in Europe, and to what extent does their diversity drive their national identities? Questioning the role of the European citizen vs. the ethnic who migrates to Europe, and transports with them their own cultural values, not to mention adopting new ones, designs a whole new understanding to the meaning of “cultural change.” Europe shelters a large number of displaced and migrant cultures who came from the Arab countries and are still facing the fate of their political awakening today. The diversity Europe serves today is of incredible growth compared to where it was 50 years ago. At a time where countries in Africa and the Mediterranean region were being freed from European colonialism, had also shown that today due to political displacement of postcolonialist countries, had it internationally changed the local dynamic Designed by Aida Eltorie, Modeled by Karim al Husseini designed amongst the cultures who migrated  and became part of that “alternative” cultural set-up understood as “earning” a national identity. Their goal is to create and consolidate international collaboration, foster knowledge-exchange and support international mobility of cultural workers, theorists and artists. The speakers we invite here are threefold; local environs and first and second wave generations who have become fully integrated into the national paradigms of their associative Euro-cultures. Discussing the diversity of their cultural belongings vs. the values created out of their professional markets of practice through the arts and culture of where they come from by origin, vs. where they are by placement and how that diversity arose from being the consequence during a digital age brought about a “Europe” with its incredible wealth of subterranean counterparts.  Aida Eltorie, is an independent curator and director to a newfound organization: Finding Projects Association. A Masters degree candidate in Islamic Art and Architecture at the American University in Cairo (2013), Eltorie’s most recent project involves curating one of the ongoing exhibitions for the London 2012 Festival, and the late Ahmed Basiony at the 2011 Egyptian Pavilion of the 54th International Venice Biennale. Her past work includes curating the film program at Manifesta 8, under the curatorial auspices of The Chamber of Public Secrets, and the video collective Contemporary Arab Video Encounter (CAVE) at Maraya Art Centre (Sharjah, UAE). Editor-in-Chief of Contemporary Practices Journal (Dubai); Volumes 4, 5, and 6, Eltorie has worked with The Townhouse Gallery of contemporary art (Cairo) for a period of 5-7 years from when the Gallery first opened in Cairo, during which she was also involved with The International Museum of Women (San Francisco) when they first launched in March 2003. By 2007, Eltorie moved to New York whereby she was accepted as a curatorial intern at The Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth Sackler Feminist Art Center, and continued her time there working with Bidoun Magazine for a year and then Christie’s auction house with the Indian and Southeast Asian Department. She independently produced a number of international projects with artists and cultural practitioners from the Middle East and Europe, with various support granted from institutions like ProHelvetia Swiss Arts Council and The Ford Foundation. Published works can be read in Al Rawi Magazine, Nagas Magazine, Contemporary Practices Journal, and catalogues for shows curated by Daniela da Prato on art from the Arab World and Iran in Paris; Breaking News (2008), Golden Gates (2009), and Patrizio Travagli’s Monograph, MMX (Florence, 2010).


KHALED RAMADAN BEIRUT / COPENHAGEN ART TALK on Bio-Colonialism In the debate on expatriatism, nation-states most fear the satellite dish and the Internet - in other words, any facility aiding the construction of a “virtual identity” and helping it to remain in contact with its roots and origins. This concept of virtual identity is the focus of my talk. I will present the way in which expatriates become the “authors” of their own identity and the processes by which they constantly draft and redraft themselves in virtual / personal logic. Sometimes to please the host society in order to be accepted, and some other times due to not being able to speak about ‘the Other’, in my talk I will attempt to negotiate the construct of the postcolonial identity and the perception of cultural primacy in the age of networking and mass human engineering. Video SCREENING ART TALK on Bio-Colonialism (10 min 2007) by K. Ramadan and French artist Colonel The joint video performance “Art Talk” video by Ramadan and French artist Colonel asserts the cultural difference, the “otherness” in relation to the Nordic society, which is inscribed on non-Nordic subjects. ART TALK on Bio-Colonialism, is inspired by theories of the thinker Magdalena Donea who has discussed the concept of “virtual identity,” the (re)construction of identities, and their challenge of traditional notions of our ways of indicating who we are. She highlights how assumptions such as physical appearance, accent, and mannerism tell us that one has a fixed identity related to one’s sex, geographic location, history, and social class. Nonetheless, in the disembodied world of the virtual community, identity is ambiguous. Khaled Ramadan is an archivist, transformative documentary maker, curator and consultant. His fields of specialties are the culture and history of documentary and experimental film aesthetics, with interests in the fields of aesthetic journalism and documentary film history research. Ramadan has studied at Edinburgh College of Art, has a master degree in architecture and Diploma in documentary film production. Ramadan has occupied a variety of positions such as senior advisor and curator, for the Manifesta Foundation, Amsterdam, Finnish Art Council, the Danish Art Council and the Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art (NIFCA). He curated projects for institutions like, Manifesta 8, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Modern Art, China, and UCCA Beijing, Danish Film Institute, Nikolaj, Copenhagen Art Center and the Nordic House Reykjavík, Iceland. Ramadan’s works are shown around the world at major festivals, TV stations and museums, like Rotterdam Film Festival; Cinema Paris; KIASMA Museum in Helsinki; Queens Museum, NY; Hamburg Film Festival; Docu-days Beirut; Video Brazil; Der Kunstwerk in Berlin; Sidney Film Festival; Milano Film Festival and San Francisco Arab Film Festival; Press TV and Al-Jazeera TV. In 2009, Al-Jazeera TV produced a documentary about Ramadan’s activities and achievement. In 2009, Ramadan was given the Achievement Award of the 11th Cairo Biennial. Ramadan is member of the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art (IKT) and AICA, The International Association of Art Critics.


HAYTHAM NAWAR CAIRO / ZURICH Visual Integration The Integration of Writing Systems in Visual Culture Can we find a visual solution to aid societies in the development of a multicultural global community? How can new media be applied via multi-lingual design to decrease both the cultural and linguistic impact for the migrant? How can designers develop awareness of the complexities of using two coexisting languages in visual design? – Nawar Haytham Nawar tackles the migration of lingual form through its chronological visual integration. Starting with his cultural history, Nawar references ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs for their pictographic qualities, that had then gone through stages before it reached the school of Greek alphabets. Greek alphabet in the Coptic language was the parliament of Ancient Egyptian language; starting at Hieratic, it then became Demotic, Coptic and brought us to the Arabic language. Multilingualism had always existed in integrated cultures, and Nawar’s visual study presents us with the ancient importance of shared Greco-Egyptian cultures to where we are today in contemporary society. Haytham Nawar (born in Egypt – 1978) is an Artist, designer and researcher, lives and works currently between Egypt, USA and Switzerland. Nawar’s practice is interdisciplinary and incorporates the mediums of drawing, printmaking, light and sound installation, video and photography. He is Fulbright Research Affiliate SVA School of Visual Art NYC. He received a BA degree in Fine Arts, a master’s degree in Fine Arts majoring in New Media from Cairo, Egypt and another master’s degree in Art, Design and Technology from Zurich University of the arts, Switzerland. Nawar is currently PhD Candidate at The Planetary Collegium, Center for Advanced Inquiry in Integrative Arts, School of Art and Media - Faculty of Arts, University of Plymouth in England. He is also a member of Member in ATypI (Association TypographiqueInternationale), TDC Type Directors Club, USA. The Syndicate of Plastic Arts in Egypt, the Cairo Atelier for artists and writers and the Associations Internationale des Critiques d’art (AICA), Paris, France. Since 1998, he has participated in several international exhibitions, biennales, triennials, and workshops. Nawar won awards and acquisitions: in Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Egypt, France, Greece, Germany, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland, Syria, UAE and United States.


YOUSSEF MOSCATELLO LECCE / SHARJAH Reversal Roles The approach in my work carries an element of reversing roles. Whether in the form of fireworks, which is the first video “Fuochi”, presented showing a desaturated image of fireworks. In this experience of watching light in slow motion explode, another connotation appears completely contradicting the celebratory function of fireworks. In the “Map of Faith,” I chose to emphasize the diversification and transformation of the world. Map of Faith is a personal representation of the map of the world in a different more positive perspective, shedding light on stereotypical viewpoints, offering a diverse perspective to one single issue: Religions. Hence, a map of the world based on divisions by various religious groups in today’s world, is a way in which we recognize ourselves, our homelands, our countries within political mappings that describe the world from a more negative viewpoint. Something we have been used to in the past, as history repeats itself. I use embroidery in this piece in order to unite regions, countries and civilizations. The act of embroidery unifies, locks in and integrates the fabric and the thread, creating a sense of interconnectedness. Joined through stitches; come religions and peoples. The thread and fabric are delicate materials, creating a fine line, just as religion and civilizations, connecting one another. My focus lies mainly on how the Islamic world is perceived from the international communities, and the misconceptions that the western world is has about the Arabic and Islamic world, whereby they often confuse culture with religion. My point of view on these issues is strengthened from the fact that I converted to Islam, from originally an Italian Christian background therefore, I can interpret everything in a singular way. The decorative aspect and the use of Arabic and Islamic design started to play an important role when I moved to the Emirates with my wife and family. Most of the cultural symbols or icons that derive from certain regions in the world become stereotypes. These symbols are seen representing certain peoples, creating hostility, animosity and fear therefore creating barriers and bridges in the global spectrum. The media encourages a more biased point of view in associating cultural symbols with religion. In “Incomprehensible” two sentences explain how misconceptions about the Arab World in the West are very common. The embroidery work, represent two calligraphies: One says “this is not Arabic language” in Farsi, and the other one says “this is not Farsi language” in Arabic. Both statements can be read, of course, only by Arabic or Farsi speakers. Especially in the last decades, when Islam and Arabic culture was spread in the west due to political events that were showed in the news, the Islamic icons and symbols became very common, and people started to get used to it. But this doesn’t mean that the people understand the meanings. One of the main example is the Arabic calligraphy, that people usually recognize as part of the Islamic/Arabic culture, and cannot understand that even though the Persian language use the same alphabet, it is a completely different language. This is also the problem when it comes in terms of culture, as Arabic and Persian are different, although the religion is the same.


A representation of one of the biggest misconceptions in Islam is that people believe that all Muslims are Arabs. In the work “Two Worlds” I represent next to each other the Islamic World and the Arabic World, in order to highlight the huge differences in terms of territory expansion, nonetheless even though the nationalities included in the Islamic world are much widely than the areas occupied by Arabic cultures, which proves the diversity of an Islamic World away from being associated to only an Arab. In the work “REVERSE” I focus on the representation of the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean Sea is the link between East and West, and until today is experiencing a lot of tragic migratory movements to people leaving their home countries in Africa in order to find a better life in Europe. I have also experienced in my early youth the political events that Albania was experiencing at the beginning of the 90s, when the communist regime fell and a thousands of Albanian citizens were forced to leave. In the past, the Mediterranean region was a stage to a lot of battles, where many cultures and religions had met in our histories, and this work, in blue, appears like it is a piece of land in the middle of nothingness. Like emerging from the darkness, creating a general disorientation. Youssef Giuseppe Moscatello was born in Botrugno of Lecce, Italy in 1979. In 2003 he achieved a Bachelor` s degree in Fine Arts from the Accademiadelle Belle Arti (Academy of fine Arts in Rome), meanwhile during his studies he was invited to participate in several group art exhibitions in relevant places. From 2005 to 2007 he worked very closely with the well renowned artist and professor Fabio Mauri realizing several big projects. He converted to Islam in 2006, and in 2007 moved to United Arab Emirates. At the moment he is working at the Maraya Art Centre, a non-profit art space located in Sharjah, UAE.


ILKA EICKHOF BERLIN Europe and Beyond: Fortress or Global Community? Initially, the uprisings in the Arab World seemed to be an opportunity to actually shift and re-read the old and dusty narratives of the Arab World and the historically grown dichotomy of two entities, “the West” and “Islam”, formerly referred to as “the Orient”. Interest in the uprisings has been found especially in the area of cultural productions, also because culture and contemporary art always functions as a signifier of a somewhat modernity in societies. Unfortunately, a readjustment of an image has not been carried out. In addition to the confusion of Western foreign policy analysis and prognoses caused by the uprisings, Europe seems to make a shift to the political right – and reinforce and perpetuate stereotypes not only of the Arab World, but also of the so-called “Muslim Migrants” (who are often enough neither migrants in the sense of the classical term, nor Muslims) within their own societies. The racist culturalization within European societies of “the (Arab/Muslim) Other” is a topic I would like to address in this talk. Merkel’s announcement of the failure and death of multiculturalism in 2010, David Camerons call for the end of “passive tolerance”, various attacks on Roma communities throughout European countries including France and Italy in the past years, or figures like Marine Le Pen or Gert Wilders are just a few examples of many. The uprisings in the Arab World catered to a new, sudden interest in the Arab World – especially in the area of cultural productions, art and youth. But topics which are being repeated in different sets of actions/discursive formats/ exhibitions are nonetheless focusing on always the same issues and a historically grown interest: Gender, violence, and Islam. The commodification of cultural productions in the frame of the so-called Arab Spring and the interest of the West in specific cultural/artistic productions (from former colonized countries) will therefore be another topic connected to the notion of national identity, immigration, racism, separation and dissociation, questioning the perception of a multi-cultural global community in times of global entanglement. Ilka Eickhof (Center for Middle Eastern and North African Politics, Freie Universität Berlin) Ilka Eickhof is a research associate at the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Politics since 2011 and has a Master’s Degree in Islamic Studies, Sociology and Modern History (Berlin, Damascus and Istanbul). She worked in Bosnia and the Palestinian territories before engaging in academic studies, and completed her MA with a thesis on Anti-Muslim racism and postcolonial theory. Before concentrating on her Ph.D, she worked at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin) for two years. Her current research focuses on the regulation of cultural (+identity) politics and contemporary Arab art in Egypt and Jordan, locating the arts/art institutions between the state, the political (secular/ islamistic) forces, the (western) market and the current discourse on the “Arab Spring”. Ilka Eickhof is a participating member of the graduate colloquium of the Frankfurt Research Center for Postcolonial Studies (FRCPS).


aladin LONDON The Magic Show aladin’s multiple practices include that of professional magician: he is an elite “Gold Turban” member of the legendary Magic Academy, Bangalore - India, has appeared as himself in the Universal Pictures film “Magicians” and features in the global compendium of virtuosos “Book of Cool”. Occupied with critically trespassing the frontier between the real and the illusive and in the spirit of putting “Art into Action,” aladin will be conducting a one hour public intervention, “Becoming European by magic”, questioning, and playing with ideas of ethnic and national identity through the device of “Magic Show”.

Courtesy of Niccolo Fano “Nightwalk” 2012

“My cultural heritage encompasses the three Asian countries mentioned above; my mother was from Dhubri, Assam in the East of India and my father was primarily from Kishoreganj, East Bengal (which became East Pakistan and then Bangla- desh) but also had Syrian ancestry. The traditional – classical, folkloric and popular – live arts were engaged with matter-of-factly; most families regardless of class, caste or circumstances were at a minimum informal makers of culture – as amateur artists, wordsmiths, musicians or actors etc. with their families and friends as audiences at the very least. My early experience of entertainment and live arts was thus of seeing them sited in the community and being generated and sustained by real relationships. Of course, this profoundly coloured my awareness and practice of the arts. In adult life too my schooling has continued: I have had almost 20 years’ parallel experience of strategy consultancy alongside carrying out street-work with vulnerable people. The latter went hand-in-hand with continuous professional training in psychotherapy, counselling, group work and brief intervention skills applied to itinerant, public contexts. I recognise how this sustained engagement with youth and community development has an influence over the choices I make as an artist, both in terms of subject matter/content but more particularly in terms of choice of means. I have my own theories about magic. Conjuring or magicianship appears to invoke an agency to instrumentalise matter and processes such that their characteristics conflict with scientific norms.” From “Appearance, Reality and Truth in Magic A personal Memoir … part 1” – aladin, London 2012. Originally published in Performance Research (2008). Volume: 13, Issue: 4, Pages: 75-81 aladin Based in London, U.K., aladin works across categories. As an interdisciplinary artist and animateur his projects have been sited at: the Whitechapel Gallery, the ICA, LIFT, BAC, South London Gallery, Jerwood Space, Chisenhale Dance Space, London Design Festival, D+AD New Blood Festival, Portobello Film Festival, Pestival South Bank Centre, London 2012 Festival/Cultural Olympiad amongst others. Between 2000-4 as a Visiting Professor at universities in the U.K. and abroad, aladin writes widely (including the Guardian newspaper, Performance Research Journal and Deepak Chopra’s Intent),  and is also Editor Emeritus of BDNEWS24.


Inês Rolo Amado PORTUGAL Relocated This work reflects upon current issues within the EU. In this united Europe the unity seems to be only present in the obliteration of the individual and the individuality of each country. The orange together with the orange tree is a reminiscent and a reminder of those other objects extrapolated from Cyprus in days gone by. History does tend to repeat itself! I use the orange as a metaphor for a world where migration and globalization, dislocation displacement and relocation, conflicts and disputes, are second nature along with the demarcation of territories and pan-global hybridization. The orange is also used in this piece as an expression of temporality over time and space. The sound for this installation is layered and it is made of some earthy, deep, hard and brittle sounds together with the voice that repeats and reiterates the word ‘laranjas’ oranges in Portuguese. The original sound, which is partially modified, was made in collaboration with Dave Lawrence Several facts and factors Colonialism and thus dislocation and displacement in Europe happened especially from the XV Century onwards. Europe was the daughter of Agenor in Greek mythology. Europe “the dark” or the land of the setting sun. (HS) Harmonised Commodity Description System is the trading classification systems used world-wide, for the distribution of fruits and vegetables. In tombs like these, throughout Cyprus, excavations were carried out during the XIX century, and goods were removed and relocated to another continent. Inês Rolo Amado Born in Portugal, Amado works and lives in England. She is an artist, researcher/academic and curator. Her work spans several media; sculpture, video, site-specific installation, and performance with a particular interest in interdisciplinary and collaboration through dialogue, interaction and exchange. Inês Rolo Amado © October 2012


Stitching the Buffer Zone 1: Territories are but fear of space. Stitching the Buffer Zone is a collective initiative which aims to build up an open platform of interaction and exchange on the issue of the Cyprus Buffer Zone. By means of exhibitions, presentations, and/or public interventions, in Cyprus and abroad, Stitching the Buffer Zone is an ongoing open call to artists, activists, architects, urban planners, and researchers to question, reformulate and contest prevailling norms and ideologies concerning this spatial strip which is still exluded from everyday experience. In doing so, these events and collaborations aim to shift perspective, and, thus, to create new meanings, experiences, understandings, relationships and situations. Territories are but fear of space is the first exhibition presented by Stitching the Buffer Zone. This exhibition brings together 4 women architects and urban planners: Stephanie Keszi & Georgia Frangoudi, Maria Costi de Castrillo and Anna Grichting Solder. Their work grows out of a critical belief that histories of segreggation produce territories of exclusion. Their approaches suggest processes of transformation of the buffer zone from such a territory to a space of multiple encounters. For additional information please see the book entitled “Stitching the Buffer Zone: Landscapes, Sounds and Trans_Experiences along the Cyprus Green Line”, which was published within the framework of “Does Europe exist?”.


Exhibition inauguration: Thursday 1 November 2012 at 20:00 Roundtable discussion “Citizen Middle East”: Friday 2 November 2012 at 19:00 Opening hours: 1 – 15 November 2012 Monday – Saturday* 10:00 – 13:00 and 16:00 – 20:00 *On Saturday 10 November the exhibition will only be open 10:00 – 13:00 For more information: Tel.:+357 22 445 455 Email: Web:

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Does Europe Exist?  

Does Europe Exist? event booklet