Past Events

February 11, 2011


612 Schermerhorn Hall, Columbia University


Friday, February 11, 2011, 1:30–5:30 p.m. 
612 Schermerhorn Hall, Columbia University

Project Europa considers the relationship of art and artists to the promise of a "New Europe" that has followed the fall of the Eastern Bloc in the past two decades. Many artists have explored the conflicts and contradictions of Europe's democratic dream. As a site of ideological, economic, and cultural convergence, Europe is unique and serves as an important intermediary and global model. It occupies an uneasy but fertile space between socialist and capitalist systems, between Christian and Islamic cultures, and between the competing influences of Asia, Africa and the Americas.

This symposium will consider a range of issues, from Europe's democratic ambitions in relationship to the ultra-national and ideal aspirations of the past that still inform the present, to the barriers to democracy on the frontiers and city centers of the continent. Along the way we will consider what it means to be "European," the condition of the migrant and issues of inclusion and exclusion, individual agency and transnational identity. The symposium will also concentrate on the symbiotic relationship between those of the economy and the needs of security, looking at the effects of globalization, an escalation of violence, and the notion of perpetual war. Participants will also reflect on visions of the future, thinking about both the impossible and the possible.

Contemplating the conditions of Europe is particularly timely and relevant for U.S. audiences. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the attacks of 9/11, and the world's recent economic collapse bring the challenges and mutual destiny of Europe and the United States closer than ever. With the current cultural, political and economic crisis, it is all the more urgent to question the recent past, to examine our global impact, and to envision more clearly our commitment to a democratic society.

Schedule and speakers:

1:30 p.m. - Introduction
Alexander Alberro, Professor, Columbia/Barnard

1:45 p.m. - Former West: A Proposition
Maria Hlavajova, Director, BAK (Basis voor actuele kunst), Utrecht, Netherlands

2:30 p.m. - Democracy and Demographics
Tim Griffin, Artforum International, New York

3:15 p.m. - Euro-Vandalism
Diedrich Diedrichsen, Professor, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria

4 p.m. - Projects as Social Space in the 1990s
Claire Bishop, Associate Professor, City University of New York Graduate Center, New York

4:45 p.m. - European Dreams
T.J. Demos, Lecturer, Department of History of Art, University College London, England

Professor Alexander Alberro will serve as moderator. The event is free and open to the public.