In Search of Europe assumes that, in connection with the humanities, art can produce something that neither of them can do alone; along with greater depth of focus, a dialogue between these disciplines creates the possibility of a shift in perspective. The production of art is directly tied to the production of knowledge. New and more complex questions arise, along with an altered perception of one’s own role in this production. The precision of science will be synergistically combined with the radicalism of art.
At the center of ISOE is the question of self-perception in interaction with the Other. The goal therefore is not how people in Africa and the Middle East see Europe, but how they see themselves, their lives, and their plans for the future. How do they shape their lives? What scope of action do they project in the face of difficult living conditions? How do they experience the constant necessity to measure themselves against standards set by the West?
Bofa da Cara: ISOE sketchbook, 2013
The eight art works especially commissioned to be shown at the exhibition provide a very consciously polyphonic answer to these questions, to depict two worlds encountering each other, the central motif that Mozambican artist Gemuce chooses for his 15-part series of oil paintings Alignment of Values is the wall. since Gemuce’s artistic work concentrates on the interpersonal encounter, he will expand his concept performatively and complete the series during the opening days of the exhibition, with the active involvement of the visitors.
Maher Sherif, Aliaa ElGready, and Ahmed Salem take the experimental literary work created by a group of alexandrian writers and one of the isoE researchers titled Iskanderiyan Standards as their starting point and as material for a wall comic whose theme is the search for “the other” in alexandria. the literary product of this collaboration is also on view in the exhibition in the form of a handcrafted book.
Esra Ersen traces the gaps in memory and the blank spaces on the map of bulgaria’s history under the title When Thinking Some Play with the Mustache, Others Cross Arms the found objects and stories that she gathers together seem odd, but provide a glimpse of a European past that can be a prospect for a supranational Europe.
Mohamed Abdelkarim’s multimedia work Comparison of Appearance consists of objects and a video installation, as well as a book centering on the politically controversial figure of the Egyptian Islamist ideologue, author, and intellectual sayyid qutb and his travels in the united states from 1948 to 1949, which changed his political convictions fundamentally.
Two pages from the Iskenderiyan Standards literary anthology with texts by Khaled Raou and Hamdy Zidanedited and designed by Maher Sherif and Ahmed Salem; 2013
The photographer Charlotte Menin uses the audio-visual sound installation Yacine’s Voices to lend several voices to the algerian poet yacine, who lives illegally in Marseille.
The artist duo Bofa da Cara (Nástio Mosquito and Pere Ortín) exposes the Europeans’ clichéd ideas about africa and, in a pointedly and provocatively staged lecture shown as the video installation My European Mind, sketch a radical counter-position with the demand for a “rebranding” of Europe.
Karem Ibrahim’s installation Randomly Selected is inspired by borderline situations and trans- gressions as well as by the relationship between authority and inequality.
In her new work A Long Way Home, Anissa Michalon photographically reflects West African residents’ ties with and memories of the old guest worker dormitory called foyers in northeastern paris that they lived in for decades and that is now slated for remodeling. in the same space Vincent Leroux shows his series with the title Commanderie shot between 2007 and 2010, portraits of residents during the transformation of their parisian foyer into a social residency.
Kunstraum Kreuzberg / Bethanien Website