How did the network do this? Before the global pandemic, the young artists met in groups, discussed present problems and issues and created projects to solve those problematic situations. Due to Covid-19 restrictions they were forced to meet online – but that didn’t stop them doing great creative work.
Cultural associations from all over Europe forged trilateral partnership that remained in place over the course of three years and once every year there was an international encounter to support an exchange of ideas on a pan-European level, rather than a national one.
While I personally wasn’t a participant of the project but a visitor of the online meeting, I can only give a small insight of the presentations of all the projects that have been developed over the last three years. Starting at 10 o’clock in the morning and ending at 4 in the afternoon, I was really impressed about the energy and love that was put into these projects – every single one was its own statement, covering complex and engaging topics as racism, European citizenship, democracy and climate change.
Some projects even developed into something bigger and reached sizes the participants themselves wouldn’t believe that they would become such an explosion of artistic creation.
One of those projects which really stuck in my mind was the one from Partnership Number 8 (Denmark, Germany and Ukraine): The art project “Nature. Human. Trash.” It deals with the human handling of nature and the rising pollution, especially pollution– by reinterpreting famous paintings, giving them some plastic and trash so that even DaVinci would have started thinking about his handling towards his environment. The “new” pictures gave you a warm feeling as every single one of them had its own unique look, but when you take a second look, there is an overlapping feeling of sadness and guilt. From my point of view, this project has exceeded itself by showing the relationship between all living creatures and nature in a very touching way as the meaning behind the photos can be seen easily – the responsibility about changing something is sadly an individual choice.
This is only one example of how art can be a creative way to confront people with nowadays problems; you can try to concentrate on the art itself, let yourself float in a beautiful piece of music or sink in the colours a picture gives you - but you can’t unsee the issues thrown to you by a brilliant piece of art, if it’s made like these projects that Generation Europe has put forth.
In 2020 Synergy of Music Theater (SMouTh), from Larissa was involved in different activities with a special focus in the environment. A significant one is the action MAKE USE; an ecofriendly kit for public use that includes: a bag, gloves, a Make Use sticker and a lot of care. Basically, Make Use is a collective action for cleaning the garbage in public spaces .
For example in July 2020 during the project Mixed Reality 2020 the Greek’s team spent a day in the spectacular Rakopotamos Beach, cleaning in a collective and fun attitude the beach, it is a way to enjoy even more the use of this space. Or during the 5th of June, the World Environment day, the MAKE USE team was near Pinios river and after cleaning it they enjoyed a Tai-chi workshop.
The goal of MAKE USE is to lead a positive empowerment in the society and an idea of active citizenship, that anybody can contribute to a smoothly and eco friendly society!
One of the workshops that took place was the “STEP IN LIFE” held by the “Be International” group from Czech Republic. The instructions were simple: in the beginning they handed you a folder with your situation -for example I was a 15 year-old-girl with autism. Then the presenter asked us some questions, so we could build a character based on our situation. In a virtual environment, all the characters were in line one next to the other. The presenter once more made statements, and if those applied to your character then you move a box forward, if not you stay in the same place. At the end we discussed our characters, how far they went, how they felt and how they could cope with their lives. It was pretty difficult to get in someone other’s shoes, but pretty exciting and challenging.
The link to all the Generation Europe partnerships
Partnership 8 Exhibition Page
Partnership 6 Exhibition Page
A text by the RRED Team