CORNERS takes a group of 60 artists and researchers on a series of Xpeditions through the outer regions, the corners, of Europe in search of inspiration for new artistic and cultural works. (The X in Xpedition signifies the unknown.) We will visit Sweden, Norway, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania, Serbian, Montenegro, Macedonia, Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova – and many other countries!
We will travel from sea coast to sea coast, linking the periphery of Europe to its centre and its centre to the periphery. En route during our Xpeditions we will make a series of short stops and engage with local people and their lives with a series of artistic exchanges and intercultural actions, both planned and spontaneous.
We are especially interested in ethnic, political, religious and economic enclaves that exist throughout the margins of Europe. We will explore and challenge the existing stereotypes and narratives that surround these groups and places.
We are looking for invisible knowledge and new information. We are looking for stories which have been overlooked, ignored or avoided by European cultural organisations and artists. We want to place ourselves on the edges of the Greater European space and gain an overview, a new perspective, on Europe as a whole.
New artistic work
In phase two we want to share what we have found and to create artistic productions and presentations work that communicates our experiences. The works will be distributed and tour throughout ”Europe” to make the unheard heard, the unseen seen, the invisible visible. They will be presented in unconventional or public space rather than in artistic institutions such as theatres or art galleries, in direct contact with the general audience. In this way stories heard on the street corners of one part of Europe will be retold on the street corners of another.
1. Newcastle upon Tyne
The Regional capital, Newcastle/Gateshead is a thriving cultural hub, has a renowned popular nightlife and is the home of Newcastle United FC.
n 1801 Middlesbrough had a population of only 25 people, but the nineteenth century saw the city experience a population explosion with the discovery and exploitation of iron ore and coal to create a world leading steel industry giving it the nickname Ironopolis.
Newbiggin-by-the sea was once an important port, shipping grain and coal, and also has a small fishing industry.
2. Mola di Bari
1. San Sebastian
7. Irati jungle
Founded in the early 13th century, the city was subsequently ruled by Poland, Sweden, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The dubious Hitler–Stalin Pact of 1939 granted control of Lviv to the Soviet Union. With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine gained independence.
Lublin is a young, dynamic city in the east of Poland. Of the 350,000 inhabitants roughly 100,000 are students. For centuries Lublin has also been the centre of religious dialogue and the melting pot of cultures, which include the Byzantine, Russian, Ukranian and West European cultures. Jews continued to be a vital part of the city’s life: from the second half of the 16th century until the community ceased to exist during the Nazi Holocaust. Most of them were killed by the end of the WW2 in Bełżec extermination camp and Majdanek concentration camp established at the outskirts of the city.
A little town located in the eastern part of the Suwałki Lake Area, close to the borders of Lithuania and Belarus. In early Middle Ages, the area was inhabited by one of the Baltic tribes, the Yotvingians. The multicultural character and history of this place can be traced especially in architecture: the White Synagogue and the former talmudic school, a little Evangelical church, a Catholic church – all these remind us of the historical presence of Jews, protestants, catholics, Poles and Lithuanians in this city. You can also trace here the Tatars, Karaims, the Romani people, Belarusians and Ukrainians.
A slightly bigger village close to the border with Belarus with a population of 290. We are going to visit Leon Tarasewicz, one of the most important Polish painters who lives and works here. Born of Belarusian origin in 1957, Tarasewicz is known for his abstract, deceptively simple paintings dominated with strong colours and clear graphic shapes. He represented Poland at the 49th Biennial Exhibition in Venice in 2001.
A tiny village lost in the woods and fields of Eastern Poland. The time seems to have stopped or at least slowed down here. The total of its 180 inhabitants is a real cultural and religious mix – here the Tatars (Sunni Muslims), Eastern Orthodox Christians and Catholics coexist harmoniously.
A village close to the border with Lithuania, on Lake Hołny. The place is known for a manor house that belonged to the relatives of Czesław Miłosz – a famous Polish poet, prose writer and translator of Lithuanian origin who emigrated to the US. Miłosz was awarded the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature. He used to spend his school and university holidays in the Krasnogruda Manor and returned there in 1989 with a thought of establishing the International Dialogue Centre in it.
A Lithuanian city with the highest percentage of Russian population (21.3%). Until the 1970s, Klaipėda was only important to the USSR for its economy, while cultural and religious activity was minimal and restricted. The Port of Klaipėda is the most important Lithuanian transportation hub, connecting sea, land and railway routes from East to West. In the past Klaipeda has been controlled by Teutonic Knights, Prussia, German Empire, Entene States, Third Reich and Soviet Socialist Republic. In 2012 Klaipėda celebrates its 760th birthday.
A small sea-side town which functions as a year-round health resort known for its glorious sandy beaches.
A small fishing village and the principal settlement on the Lithuanian half of the Curonian Spit. A century ago it had a high reputation within the artistic world: there was an active art colony established by German artists-expressionists in the 2nd half of the 19th century-the beginning of the 20th century. Artists like Max Pechstein and Karl Schmidt-Rotluff, writers like the Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann, composers and actors prized its landscape and ambience.
A city located between Poland and Lithuania, approximately one-half the size of Belgium. Known as Königsberg prior to Soviet occupation, the city was founded in 1255 and remained a part of Germany for most of the time. The philosopher Immanuel Kant was born here in 1724. The town was largely destroyed during the war; its ruins were captured by the Red Army in 1945 and its German population fled or was forced out. Königsberg was renamed Kaliningrad in 1946 and the city was repopulated with Soviet citizens. The German language was replaced by the Russian language. Because of its strategic importance, Kaliningrad was closed to foreign visitors. After the fall of the USSR, neighboring Lithuania and former Soviet republics gained their independence, cutting Kaliningrad off from Russia. Kaliningrad has suffered more than a decade of neglect due to its isolation from the main body of Russia. As the country’s only ice-free European port, it remains strategically important to Moscow. Kaliningrad was supposed to develop in the post-Soviet era into a “Hong Kong of the Baltic” but corruption keeps most investment away.
The city of Gdańsk lies at the Baltic sea and – together with Gdynia and Sopot – forms a metropolitan area called Tricity with a population near 740,000. Gdańsk itself has a population of 455 inhabitants. Parts of the historic old city of Gdańsk, which was destroyed in 90% by the end of the war, was rebuilt during the 1950s and 1960s. The reconstruction was not tied to the city’s pre-war appearance, instead its politically motivated purpose was to rebuild an idealized pre-1793 state. Any traces of German tradition were ignored or regarded as “Prussian barbarism” worthy of demolition while Flemish-Dutch, Italian and French influences were emphasized. The city has many fine buildings from the time of the Hanseatic League.
Starting point of Balkan Xpedition.
Final destination on Balkan Xpedition.
Starting point of Caucasus Xpedition.