Thursday, July 06, 2006

Eastern Expressway

September/October 2006

Eastern Expressway

A Project of the Protestant (Evangelic) City Academy Frankfurt
curated by Jakob Hoffmann, Christian Kaufmann, Marc Petzoldt

The troubled region of the Middle East has been a hot spot for media attention for long time. Exemplary “Eastern Expressway” takes two of the most diverse countries, Iraq and Iran. Both countries are marked by a radical breach of culture and society always accompanied by fractured images. To what extent can creativity flourish under such enduring repressive situation prevailing in both countries? Is it possible at all; if so then under what conditions? Which mechanisms of violence and control face the artists in the respective countries?

“Contemporary art? You are going to be raising so many problems. Why don't you write about positive things? Look outside - the sun is shining. Why don't you write about the sunshine?” is a question from Lisa Farjam, the chief editor of the art magazine Bidoun. One would like to add: art - how can one relate to art at all in the light of escalating violence in the Middle East. The project Eastern Expressway would like to contribute to this debate, while artists in exile, dedicating particular interest to positions developed within the countries, like in Iran/Iraq and others. Can art be presented where apparently there is no way out of the spiral of violence and where first attempts to a mathematical calculation of violence exist? Where do social perspectives exist when politics fail?

The project Eastern Expressway explores artistic strategies. Which aesthetic questions and answers apply to the situation of both countries, the neighbours, are (former) enemies; are there references between the art worlds? The perspective of those who stayed, of foreign visitors and of those exiled will all convene for this project. Precisely the contradictions and significant differences between the countries, seen through Western eyes will be questioned. And as existing forms of contemporary art will be explored.

The project, Eastern Expressway is also an attempt to unsettle pre-existing images of crisis regions in which the participating artists will be given space to develop new positions. Hereby new works will be created for the exhibition as well.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events with an interdisciplinary approach. A film event is planned the movie, “Voices of Iraq” will be shown. The phenomenon of advertisement in Iraq is the discussion topic of another event. The question, what can be shown when nothing is allowed to be shown, may be asked here. Thereby the participating artists should be a part of the discussion. Amongst other types of fora, of special intrestet is existing networking on the World Wide Web, such as blogs.


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