Europe in November / December 2013 Nelson Mandela
The EU Commission is optimistic that Europe as a whole shall be on the path of economic recovery and therefore will realize a tiny growth of 0,5% in 2014, even though it is admitted that it shall be a slow pace out of austerity for those countries like Greece or Spain which have been hit the hardest. Knowing how vital for an economic recovery is the spread of some optimism, it is too early to tell what shall be the truth of the matter come next year. Moreover no self critical admission about the neo liberal policy measures has been made so far. The recovery is taking place on a very much weakened trade union and employee position, so that the restructuring of the economy to attain new purchasing power goes with a greater social injustice. Too many live near or at poverty line while those with work are haunted by fear due to workplaces and work relationships having become most precarious. The key motto has become 'the need to prove that more can be done with less money'. Squeezing the last labour reserves to achieve a higher level of productivity is like pressing the tube for toothpaste entirely flat till nothing is left. To remind what Günter Grass once said when President of the Academy of Arts in Berlin to criticize the cultural policy practiced by the city, namely to have one event follow the next, just to fill hotel beds, is that artists and others need time not to do anything, in order to renew their energies. In an age of renewable energies, this human factor is too much pushed aside with huge health costs as a result.
HF Athens 5.11.2013
Everyone is getting anxious as to what to expect of the next European elections in 2014 when the new European Parliament shall be elected. Will the Populist and anti European parties gain more than 25% of the seats? If so, Prime Minister Letta in Italy believes this will hinder any effective policy implementation. At the same time, the growing importance of the European Parliament at symbolic level - the next parliament will be able to elect the President of the European Commission - has seen a growing number of people being employed. This reflects a way European institutions become a most desired place of employment as it offers relatively high salaries which are income tax free along with many other privileges. It will be interesting to see if the campaign by MEP and President of the European Parliament, namely Schultz will succeed in making true his demand, namely that the strongest party elected in Parliament should also be able to make its leader automatically to be the President of the European Commission.
The elections on Sept. 22 left the FDP falling short of the 5% hurdle, while Merkel and the CDU nearly attained the majority threshold. She fell short by 5 seats and had to enter negotiations with the SPD for a possible coalition government. It will leave the Left Party and the Greens to form a weak opposition. The Greens themselves are in turmoils for many reasons, most of which are of their own doing.
Greece in November
The writing on the wall expresses a kind of perplexity: "why do I feel free only when doing this shit?" The exist from the crisis has yet to be found. At the same time, the Municipality of Athens wages a kind a war against all kinds of graffitis most of the time a simple tagging of walls. But it definitely says no exist from the crisis has been found as of yet.
On the media front and in terms of the public domain, eight private television stations in Greece have been granted digital frequency rights until the end of next year and it is said this free of any charge. Such a deal suggests a kind of exchange in kind: positive news about the government for being treated so kindly!
At the same time, the closure of ERT since June 11th 2013 remained an unresolved issue. Even though the government had launched an alternative public station but with very little reputation and legitimacy, and which started to broadcast by the end of August 2013, it has so far no real impact. Definitely it is not contributing to the quality of broadcasting while the over dominance of the private media has led to a cheapening of what is being offered and allows more commercials and advertisement to dominate. What Jürgen Habermas has called 'a pathology of communication', is here in full display. Instead of ensuring a public space for public truth is being upheld by independent journalism, there is no reliable news outlet to which people could refer to, in order to bring about a consensus what counts as public truth about current state of affairs. The old ERT employees continued to broadcast via Internet and thereby showed contrary to claims by the government ERT was merely corrupt and had no great reputation, that journalists once freed from political intervention and yet responsible to the general public can unfold their capabilities and are able to offer and to produce a rich and varied programme. All this ended on 7th of November, a date to be linked now with the 100th birthday of Albert Camus as it has been already to the Russian Revolution. Sadly enough the fact that riot police entered on this day the ERT building to evict the former ERT journalists and workers underlines how in the name of a fake efficiency something is being legitimized which breaks the continuity of memory work offered till now by ERT.
Greece remains thus to be a land of discontinuity. Its elite and followers seem unable to work through contradictions at a human level like Albert Camus always did when writing his novels. There is a lack of consistency. Consequently many more will feel now to be like strangers in their own country. Without a public voice backing up their stories, the continuity of narratives shall end here and therefore people shall disappear into the unknown. This is because the new media does not care so much at personal and cultural level about people who live in diverse local places whether now on islands, in remote regions, up steep mountains or in various pockets of cities growing cold.
One can only wonder why no exit strategy has worked until now? The graffiti seems to suggest one possible reason: people are chained to old communication technologies when in reality the world is changing so rapidly due to digital technology, that even travel by sea becomes an adventure since without compass. Kant would say this requires first of all coming to terms with one's means of understanding before setting out into an unknown world.
The University Network of European Capitals of Culture held The Seventh Interdisciplinary Conference on CULTURAL ENCOUNTERS: THE MOSAIC OF URBAN IDENTITIES 17-18th of October 2013 in Marseille. It was hosted by Aix-Marseille Université & EHESS Marseille, France and European Capital of Culture 2013
Participants in Charite Oct. 18, 2013
Some interesting points were made at that conference. For instance, Maria Elena Buslacchi from Genoa stressed the need for epistemological criticism of the very concept all ECoC cities refer to, but which they interpret very differently, namely 'culture'. She linked that to ECoC cities no longer referring to multiculturalism but to 'diversity'.
"Culture is that undeniable and irresistible force, which is able to direct changes into a positive stream, turning fear into a challenge and a venturous joy, and uncertainty – into trust in the creative spirit." - key slogan of Riga for that decisive year.
For official information: http://riga2014.org/en/
Official website: http://www.umea2014.se/inenglish
Umea will also host the next conference of the University Network come October 2014.
Valletta held in May 2018 a conference titled "small city - big dreams" to mark the reception of the official title for 2018. Since then preparing for that decisive year has started by initiating first of all a cultural mapping exercise. Departure for that is a well thought through bid book.
In Holland has been selected Leeuwarden 2018
Italian city for 2019
In Italy there are 21 cities competing for the title for 2019. In the past, Florenz has been in 1986 and Bologna in 2000 European Capitals of Culture.
Greece –selection of the next ECoC for 2021
It will be the turn of Greece to select a city come 2021. What procedure the government shall adopt, is not known. Will it come at all to a competition between various cities, or shall the selection be handled once again as if Greece is like Malta or Luxembourg but a single and very centralized state? And will the European Commission resist and insist upon having a competition rather than one city being merely appointed due to some internal agreement at the highest level? Athens 1985, Thessaloniki 1997 and Patras 2006 have not managed to set a premise for a continuity of learning out of these past failures. Likewise the year 2021 would allow Greece to do a retrospective of its past 200 years, provided there is a willingness to learn out of all the mistakes. But no doubt there is always the claim of being the birthplace of democracy and thus this cultural heritage shall be used by the elite to establish a new interpretation of an old myth without ever so much learning out of this claim of having a heroic past, ergo likewise the status of things in the present.
5th edition of the European Capitals of Culture Reports
by Palmer, Greg Richards and Diane Dodd
ART-idea is organising a Conversation with the authors in the Convent Sant Agustí in Barcelona on Friday, 13th of December 2013.
For more information go to
ART-idea - Creative solutions for local development
Is doing a lot of research on legacies of ECoC, and this in conjunction with evaluation methods equally applicable to Olympic Games and their impact. One research strand focuses on digital culture.
Growing Concern about Nuclear engergy since Fukushima 11.March 2011
Reading / Indian Saga : Anjan Sen
The gaping flaming mouth of cosmic time
floats again and again
What will disappear into it?
The peace of the earth and the sky!
With the radiance of a thousand suns
Evolution flares up belief burns
Barriers mount upon the Vindhya vertically
Many kneeling Agasthyas stand halted
The inertia of the immobile one seeps into us
Apathy and unconcern harden into columns.
Anjan Sen states that his poem "Reading / Indian Saga" is related to our present time, when terrorism is linked to ,violence and fear of nuclear exploitation'. The poem is based on a "sloka of Bhagbat Gita" which was recited by the scientist Oppenheimer when he called the nuclear bomb as being "brighter than a thousand sun". "The gaping flaming mouth of cosmic time" was seen and experienced for the first time when an atomic bomb was dropped first over Hiroshima and then over Nagasaki.
Democracy, Solidarity and the European Crisis
When Jürgen Habermas gave his lectcure on 26 April 2013 in Leuven, he sub-divided it into three parts. The most interesting for him was the third one since conceptual analysis is something philosophy can do best. Significantly Habermas exemplified this onhand of the concept of 'solidarity' within the European context. He means by this a solidarity not only between people, but within the institutional context of the European Union, solidarity of Germany with, for example, Greece. Even though Habermas considers the European Union but a stepping stone towards world governance requiring that nation states give up a part of their sovereignty, still, it seems strange that this philosopher does not criticize so much the neo-liberal policy as if his reasoning is dictated by the fear what would happen if the Euro and with it the European Union would break up.
Jürgen Habermas attended the World Congress of Philosophy when held in Athens, August 4 - 10, 2013.
Ethics in politics and philosophy - a soft reminder
An important contribution to the topic 'ethic and politics' was made at the philosophical conference held in Iraklion 2006 with Noam Chomsky, Agnes Heller, Martin Jay etc. Many of the abstracts provide important insights into what position can be taken up with regards to the question whether politics has to be / can be equal to ethics or if the two have to be separated?
SELF STORAGE Dance performance
Christine Gouzelis and Paul Blackmanafter having shown Self Storage they will now prepare for their performance "Vicious Cycle" to be shown January/February 2014
Kids' Guernica - Guernica Youth
Kids' Guernica has matured into Guernica Youth.
Following the review by the DAVID Project Kids' Guernica has been awarded the "social literacy reviewed" reward. Initiated by Gertrude Spiteri and Paul Dalli in Malta, social literacy entails contributions to such socialization of children and youth that they are capable to protect themselves against all kinds and forms of violence, from child abuse to the invisible form of 'cyber bullying'.
Alexandra Zanne in Gezoncourt worked with a Platform created by parents with children having special needs. She uses her camera to capture the traces these children leave behind and who have no own means to give their memory work an own critical base.
in memory of JFKennedy but also it has still another meaning for an Irish poet living in Santa Fe: FYI -Saint Celilia is the Patron Saint of Poetry and Music, and therefore Nov. 22 is a feast day. May poetry recall the pain which went through the world once the news struck home.
J.F. Kennedy on a piece of the Berlin Wall put up in front of the European Parliament in Brussels
NOVEMBER 22 1963
Saint Cecilia shares the spread of lilies
Black Lincoln enamel luster
cobalt sky winter sun
Railyard road picket fencing
accord to foursquare red sandstone
for astute organized patient predators
Contracted rifle skill sets to burst asunder
the ready for reaping seed filled watermelon
Casted aside manhole cover for the planned triangle of efficiency
hurling exact searing spikes of compressed cleaving messages
Spritzed roses bloody boucle claw hammer
ruptured aerosol in the frames of the wasteland
Limp drained head in the wake
undigested bacon breakfast in the belly
intentions for a continental lustre in a vermicelli and clots
spewing out congealing slick on leather seats
seeking contrition for small sins now
Nash Rambler trunk of cash
scooting to the ticking over private planes gassed up
Flight following plans to best Manhattan room service flambé
to umbrella drinks in a consummate coral sand place
Last rites copious besmearing oil
Whole thumb push prints
forehead eyes nose and lips
hands and feet and loins
that might have immoderate appetites
Imprinting on all of this fruit
Black horse a dandy luster coat perfect
contained skittish on the wide hard bridleway
to the engineering corps’ propane flame
and the lighted basilica of yesterday’s dream
Two conferences shall be dealt with as they can give shape to future developments in Europe.
17 - 18 Oct. 2013 "Cultural Encounters: the Mosaic of Urban Identities" organized by the University Network of European Capitals of Culture in Marseille
24 - 25 Oct. 2013 „Kulturelles Erbe digital – Bedingungen und Perspektiven“ (cultural heritage going digital – conditions and perspectives) Conference in Cologne, Germany organized by Prof. Holger Simon <www.prometheus-bildarchiv.de/tagung2013>
Conferences in 2014
"Little Data and the Big Picture: What Everday Literature Can Do for Comparison. A Seminar to be held at the Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association New York University, 20 - 23 March 2014. See http://www.acla.org/acla2014
To Foreign Shores. Canadian Theater Makers abroad and at home. Canadian Association for Theatre Research. Conference organized at Brock University, May 24 - 27, 2014. For inquiries contact email@example.com
ICELW 2014 June 11- 13th, Seventh International Conference on E-Learning at the Workplace. www.icelw.org
The European Association of Social Anthropologists will hold its biennial conference in Tallinn, Estonia, from July 31 to August 3, 2014. The conference theme will be "Collaboration, Intimacy & Revolution - innovation and continuity in an interconnected world." Please visit http://www.easaonline.org/conferences/easa2014/index.shtml for more information, including deadlines for submitting different types of proposals.
India The criticism of Nationalism by Tagore – a review of Tagore's thoughts on an important issue especially these days when the European crisis strokes once again the xenophobic and extreme Nationalist forces.
The doctor and poet Dileep Jhaveri adds to this his own Interpretation of Nationalism
while Rati Saxena believes the role of women in India has to change.
Poiein kai Prattein - Publications
Catalogue "Imperishable Water", 2012 with Haroula Hadjinicilou, Anna Arvanitaki, Hatto Fischer (ed.), Athens ISBN 978-618-80160-0-2
Hatto Fischer: The poem 'Destiny still flows' by Katerina Anghelaki Rooke - this concerns a discussion of the poem which inspired the action on Rhodes last year
"Nation and Identity" by Kreisau-Initiative, with introduction by Hatto Fischer is crucial for answering the question whether or not Patriotism is an alternative to Nationalism. Youth met first in Kreisau, Poland and were inspired by this example set by the Kreisau Circle which went into resistance against Hitler on the basis of a non discriminatory approach for the day after Hitler fell.
Article by Anna Arvanitaki and Haroula Hadjinicolaou, "Action on Rhodes" in Journal "Nissides" (small islands). Rhodos, Vol. 9, 2012
On the website materials of the Interreg III B CADSES Project HERMES (2003 - 2007)
European Structural Fund - Studies on Funding of Culture - Cultural policy of Local and Regional Authorities
The research studies on how culture is funded through the Structural Fund (2007-2013), includes the study about Greece by Hatto Fischer. They are available online on DG EAC’s website:
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