I am very grateful for the potential that the Goethe-Institut Paris, the partner consortium and the EU Culture Programme have given this project as it required a major platform.
The idea of the U.S.E project was born out of the low turnout rate in the 2009 European Parliament elections, which I thought must be symptomatic of the low confidence that many Europeans have in the EU…Or was it? Why do people not care about European citizenship? I have myself always felt a strong tie to Europe as a geographical entity and I have always found common denominators with many cultures in Europe.
U.S.E aims not only to debate European citizenship but also to disseminate the discussion as broadly as possible. It is done through bridge building debates and also through the laboratory and the website where we would like to connect different views.
This is why it was very important to ask Europeans with contrasting life situations to participate in our interviews. In the exhibition, these interviews are confronted with the works of 14 artists and a multimedia laboratory; documentation is mixed with artistic interpretations. Also, among these interviews you will be able to see some of the U.S.E artists represented. The idea to interview ‘our’ artists was to create communication between them and the audience, a project in itself that will grow during the project’s life time.
The goal behind the choice of artists working on photography, multimedia arts, video and installation art, is to offer the visitor various visual impressions and it is also a try to attract the attention of young people.
The laboratory is the very heart of the exhibition and except from being an artwork itself, it is present to function as a communication platform for you visitors. Go there and you can for example answer a touch screen Europe quiz and give us feedback via the visitors log book. Those elements are connected to this website.
This artistic project aims to increase the citizen participation in today’s Europe. It is not propaganda for a federal Europe. The idea is to play with the notion of identity and cultural borders in order to provoke and wake up people’s minds. U.S.E aims to make us listen to others, interact with each other and give the vast European public a voice. Also the name of the project has its roots in these ideas.
The project has been created out of a need to present a cultural project that adds new, diverse, artistic perspectives to the debate about the Europe we live in. With today’s severe economical crisis it is more important than ever to present art and culture projects that can play important roles for the functioning of our society.