Act for Democracy! – Opening Forum on European Culture 2018

At a crucial point in European history we open the second edition of the Forum on European Culture “Act for Democracy!” with Croatian philosopher Srecko Horvat and Spain’s most famous and controversial artist, Santiago Sierra.

Thu, 31 May • 17:00
Stadsschouwburg - Rabozaal


Were you not able to attend the opening of the Forum on European Culture 2018 or would you like to rewatch the programme? Click here for the recording.

UPDATE: Turkish author Aslı Erdoğan feels obliged to cancel her contribution during the Opening of Forum on European Culture. Her physical condition has deteriorated since her imprisonment in Turkey and is now in need of surgery. In a statement she argues that her arrest has led to permanent damage to her body and that she will be taking the case to the international court. Theater maker Ola Mafaalani will read a passage from Aslı Erdoğan’s work. 

In recent years Europe has been shaken to its foundation, facing crisis after crisis. Europe has changed, from a positive, post-war project of peace, cooperation and integration into a fragile construction that is under enormous pressure. In 2018, it is even imaginable that in the future there will no longer be a European project at all. What should be done to reverse these developments and keep Europe together in times of increasing differences and rising nationalism?

At a crucial point in European history we open the second edition of the Forum on European Culture “Act for Democracy!” What role can artists and thinkers currently play in Europe, as those who created and consistently defend the democratic and artistic freedoms that defined Europe, and as those who are now under attack as these European values are being challenged? What is the power and impact of art and imagination for Europe? How should we “Act for Democracy”?

During the opening we will travel to some of Europe’s most critical regions, Spain, Croatia, Turkey, and hear from three important European creative minds – Croatian philosopher Srecko Horvat and Spain’s most famous artist Santiago Sierra. Together, they will articulate their views on Europe and its future. What in today’s Europe is left of European values such as human rights, freedom, democracy, and the rule of law? And what should be done to safeguard Europe’s future?

With a theatrical contribution of theatre maker and stand-up philosopher Laura van Dolron and music from Julian Schneemann & friends

Srecko Horvat is a Croatian philosopher, activist and co-founder of DIEM25, a pan-European movement for democratizing the EU. The German weekly Der Freitag described him as “one of the most exciting voices of his generation”. He has published more than 10 books including What Does Europe Want? (2013).

Asli Erdoğan is a renowned novelist, human rights activist and one of Turkey’s most critical voices. In 2016 Asli Erdogan was arrested and jailed for 4 months because of her writings for the pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem newspaper. She currently lives in exile in Germany. This year she was awarded the prestigious Simone de Beauvoir Prize for human rights and women’s freedom.

Santiago Sierra is Spain’s most famous artist. His performative work that confronts the audience with the invisibility of the poor, the homeless and the immigrants, often caused controversy. This year Sierra faced censorship of his work for the first time when Spain’s leading international art fair removed his most recent work that portrayed 24 Spanish people as ‘Political Prisoners’, including some Catalan politicians from the separatist movement.

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