Twenty Twelve.

When Manifesta, the European Biennial par excellence, was officially and bureaucratically founded in the Summer of 1994, the advisory board produced a document that described the Europe they were referring to as a 'New Europe' where "existing regional, social, linguistic and economic barriers" were to be transgressed. Manifesta has, since then, made its journey as a nomadic biennial, and in every edition it has rearticulated its discourse in different ways, always keeping some of its premises alive through the years. In the same time span Europe grew as a physical and economical space, but was probably failing to become that new Europe the advisory board was envisioning.

In 2012, a few weeks before Manifesta 9 will open, I have been asked to be a blogger for its journal, and I can’t help thinking that the European space towards which Manifesta started to address its cultural efforts, is now refolding itself onto new forms of nationalism, letting anti-European feelings grow and borders become stronger. Let me recall that some time ago, a letter was circulated in the media,1 signed by the French and German Foreign Affairs ministers that asked to the current Danish European Parliament President for the liberty to suspend free movement within the European States. This is just a small example, out of many, of how European democracies are reconsidering their beliefs towards the political subject that we’ve learnt to call European community.

During my time as a blogger for Manifesta journal, I’d like to put together those analyses that consider the ongoing transformations, actual and media ones, currently occurring in that complex and unifying imagery that has been constructed around the continent since the end of the East-West dichotomy. Them being direct comments or interesting visual roundabouts on the socio-political life of Europe, I will try to embed in the storytelling of my blogging, unexpected perspectives and future scenarios from the “anno 2012” of the political project that started off, after the second world war, just to avoid the return of those extreme forms of nationalism which had brought death and misery to the populations of the continent.

In this time span I will spend most of my time out of Europe, in the position of looking at it from distance, currently on a research trip in South Africa, where I've lived for the last two months. My posting activity will be unavoidably influenced by, and will also regard, the place where “national mood changes as the seasons change”, as Mandela said in 1994 in his inaugural speech to the new country. 

  • 1. An original scan of the letter can be found here