East Coast Europe

2008

New York, US

East Coast Europe, which took place during Spring 2008, was a project about the perceptions of contemporary European identity and its relation to spatial practices and international politics. The title “East Coast Europe” was a word play. “Europe” in the title was the central topic for investigation, its contemporary culture, expansion, and its status as a continuing social project. “East Coast” refered to two distinct edges of Europe, both real and imaginary—the geographical East Coast of the United States of America and the political “East Coast” of the European Union. The project invited leading figures in culture and politics from the two east coasts—of the United States of America, and of the countries in the European Union and its vicinity to comment on their perception of Europe today. East Coast Europe dove into the urgent details of a dense network of contemporary experience of the European Union’s extensive exchange of knowledge, people, and goods with the East Coast of the United States and also with its own eastern border. What are its challenges and possibilities for social, political and spatial practices?

East Coast Europe was commissioned and produced by the Consulate General of Republic of Slovenia in New York City, during Slovenia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2008, with support of the EUNIC Network New York and Delegation of the European Commission, New York. The ECE project is conceived by Katherine Carl, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, Markus Miessen and Alenka Suhadolnik.

East Coast Europe Preface: Berlin

As a preface to the main project in New York (May 2008), a set of billboards facing Berlin's Karl Marx Allee inscribed an imagined borderline of 'East Coast Europe'. The first manifestation took place on December 21, 2007 in Berlin at KROME ART & ARCHITECTURE with a special installation by Markus Miessen and Zak Kyes, coinciding with their book launch of The Violence of Participation (Sternberg Press).

East Coast Europe: The Book

East Coast Europe dealt with perceptions of contemporary European identity and its relation to spatial practices and international politics. It was a program of public conversations, interviews, a design project, and a book. The project invited leading figures in culture and politics from the two east coasts – of the United States of America, and of countries in the vicinity of the present European Union such as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Lebanon, Macedonia, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine to comment on their perception of Europe today.

ECE dove into the urgent details of a dense network of contemporary experience of the European Union’s extensive exchange of knowledge, people, and goods with the East Coast of the United States and also with its own eastern border. These two crisp north-south borderlines belie many geographic spatial complexities including the islands of Switzerland and the Western Balkans that now reside within the landmass of Europe but outside of the European Union. ECE investigated the cultural and political confluence between these two north-south borderlines, one geographic and one political. What is this new transverse region through multiple time zones? What are its challenges and possibilities for social, political and spatial practices? What is the future of international cultural practices in light of the expansion of the European Union? What are the changing prospects for intercultural collaboration between the players within the single entity of the European Union? What are the new emerging roles for cultural practices beyond European boundaries, like the East Coast of the United States and the “East Coast” of Europe towards Russia, the Middle East and Asia? What is the future of the cultural representation of European boundaries? What are cultural practices currently learning from this geopolitical expansion?

East Coast Europe Roundtable at the Vera List Centre for Arts and Politics, New York

A one evening public debate (April 15, 2008) about the perceptions of contemporary European identity and its relation to spatial practices and international politics.

Participants

  • Carin Kuoni, Director of Vera List Center for International Politics
  • Alenka Suhadolnik, Consul General of the Republic of Slovenia
  • Reinier de Graaf, director of AMO and partner in Office for Metropolitan Architecture (AMO/OMA)
  • Aaron Levi, founding Executive Director and a Senior Curator at Slought Foundation in Philadelphia
  • Dan Perjovschi, artist, writer, cartoonist & curator from Bucharest, Romania
  • Marjetica Potrc, artist and Vera List Center Fellow
  • Markus Miessen, architect, researcher, and writer, Studio Miessen
  • Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, architect and founder of Normal Architecture Office

Book Published by Sternberg Press, Berlin & New York
Co-published by Zalozba ZRC, Ljubljana

Book launch: October 28, 2008, 6:30pm at the Swiss Institute, New York, 495 Broadway #3
Guest: Eda Cufer, curator, dramaturge and NSK collective member

Press Voices on East Coast Europe:

“In applying a spatial, geographical and cultural eye to the peripheries of a Europe suddenly profoundly unsure of its identity and its future, this book attempts to outline some of the issues and responses to the idea of Europe as an entity […] it presents an eastern border as defined as its correspondent coast on the other side of the Atlantic. To study its borders is to study its present, its future and its very existence.”
Edwin Heathcote, Architecture Critic
Financial Times, London

“This new encyclopedic endeavor is the necessary injection of optimism that Europe urgently needs. A brilliant toolbox for the 21st century.”
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Director of International Projects
Serpentine Gallery, London

“A timely and eminently readable book. This collection has a geographic rubric – in this case an ostensibly European one – but then encourages us, subtly and sneakily so, to rethink how we conceive of geography in the first place. With its pastiche of ideas drawn from the worlds of art, architecture, politics, its spirit and approach will have multiple echoes beyond this moment, beyond this space.”
Negar Azimi, Senior Editor
Bidoun, New York

 

Index

2008

New York, US

Publication, Exhibition and Conference commissioned and produced by the Consulate General of Republic of Slovenia in New York City.

In collaboration with School of Missing Studies, Alenka Suhadolnik, Zak Kyes, Krome Gallery, Vera List Center for Art and Politics (The New School)

Contributions by Can Altay, Marina Abramovic, Paddy Ashdown, Zdenka Badovinac, Katherine Carl, Eda Cufer, Reinier de Graaf, Mladen Dolar, Lisa Farjam, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, Carin Kuoni, Zak Kyes, Jacques Le Goff, Aaron Levy, Genevieve Maitland Hudson with Cyril Blanc, Markus Miessen, Viktor Misiano, Miran Mohar, Shamim Momin, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Orchard, Dan Perjovschi, Marjetica Potrc, Nebojsa Seric Shoba, Michael Shamiyeh, Erzen Shkololli, Taryn Simon, Nedko Solakov, Alenka Suhadolnik, Milica Tomic, Kazys Varnelis, Felix Vogel, Borut Vogelnik, Jordan Wolfson, and Sislej Xhafa

Credits:

Concept by and collaboration between Katherine Carl, Markus Miessen, and Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss

Editor: Markus Miessen
Graphic Design: Zak Kyes
Artwork by: Dan Perjovschi
Photography: Oliver Helbig