Europe for Citizens - "Conversation Pieces"

I have an idea for a small-scale project that could be funded by the Europe for Citizens scheme

William Hogarth, A Midnight Modern Conversation (1732),

Civil society projects – supporting projects gathering citizens in activities directly linked to EU policies, providing an opportunity for direct participation in the policy making process. Funded activities may include: promotion of societal engagement and solidarity, gathering of opinions, volunteering

It combines a few elements: artistic and cultural production; discussion about political issues and opening for new perspectives; international research and storytelling.

The rough outline would be:

  • 2-3 partners, besides us, in various countries: I would like to maybe work with an art space Gouvernement in Ghent, where I have friends and they do relevant work; Timisoara Civicultura and possibly Art Burst in Berlin (female curatorial collective) (or Experimentelle Zukunftlabor)

  • 1-year duration

  • Part 1: call for art residencies in the partner cities. The idea is to create European conversation pieces that deal with some burning issues that have both local and European implications in these places (or maybe elsewhere?). Artists stay for a month and develop these works, possibly in as open and inclusive, participatory way as possible

  • Part 2: these works now travel the country, or internationally, and are hosted in homes as part of a Library (needs a good name), inspired by NBK’s artothek - citizens from aroun the country or continent can access these works and host them for a short period, and part of the idea is that once the work arrives, we host an event around it - workshop, discussion - with experts, neighbours. A conversation about issues at hand, and how do we address and deal with those.

  • Part 3: we create a map of where these works have traveled, combined with stories that they sparked. This is where edgeryders’ role kicks in mostly, and as a project manager.

I would like to make this into a project that:

  • opens new ways for people to communicate in their private spheres and creates opportunities for new types of dialogues, new topics

  • democratizes access to art, but also emphasizes the educational aspect and value of art and the need to open it maybe even more radically to the public

  • has some kind of empowering and practical value to it - how to turn these encounters into action/recommendation/involvement? This is to be answered

  • it has to do with positive visions for the future

  • Part 4: how do we end this? A bigger exhibition? A gathering? A festival?

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Ping @QuaiONE in case this would interest you.
Long shot because I don’t know exactly what you guys do, but this is the kind of opportunity building I was telling you about.

Also ping @Ionel.

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Hi @noemi
Thanks for showing me how this might work here on edgeryders as a newbie
And hi @natalia_skoczylas,

I would need to wrap my head around the idea a bit more, haven’t fully grasped it yet.
But if you need a cooperating partner in terms of a residence, then I could get you in touch with Basis Frankfurt (

CTTF works mostly with film, games, and sciences, blending those together. Complementary to that, we are creating so-called gamified futures workshops for rapid cultural prototyping, in order to scale adaptive capacities related to climate emergency. The participatory and engagement aspect is therefore quite important to us. Also positive visions are crucial. However, even if I myself work closely with a Media Artist from Berlin under the title of another project, CTTF’s goal is more focused to encourage a more multifaceted, intellectual and emotional environment around our understanding of human evolution, namely, ‘becoming’ in relation to the future. What I understand so far, your project idea sounds really fascinating. It’s just that I don’t know if a remotely traveling ‘artifact from the future’ would be the best choice here. Or put in another way, I would need to think about it, how to deliver a stand-alone installation that works like that. Just to give you an impression from my field, on the following homepage, you can see in the photo section some impressions from the Muhka in Antwerp

But let’s talk if you like. It could also help me to figure out what my role could be and how to best contribute to your idea. +49 1520 5153297


Hello from Timișoara,

Could small NGO’s also apply for hosting (and even intermediate exposure in local institutions), especially if they are working on issues present in the conversation piece?

What if on the map of the travels a repository of people who got involved in any way in the project will be build to facilitate some thematic online Conversation (Pieces) between them? At the end, if a gathering, it would be funny to “pose” for Conversation Pieces Photography .

hey @QuaiONE! Nice meeting you

Daniel, do you live in Berlin? If so, it’s even easier, as I do as well - maybe we can just have a coffee in Kreuzberg :))
I can also tell why you don’t seem convinced with my proposal - but I do see also other potential collaborations possible (I’m curating the Endlich festival in Steglitz this autumn and woah, how come we’re not talking yet?! :D) or more in vein of your gamified experiences: I’m co-managing a school for urban game designers at edgeryders and I would love to have a conversation about it as well, if you haven’t talked about that with Noemi before (and even if you did, I still think it would be a great opportunity - we also have a big international meeting with urban game designers from the US, Georgia, all over Europe and beyond in Athens in October if you have time to come).

At the moment I don’t think these objects from the future (or maybe just poetic versions of the present reality that hint into future developments) would be standalone installations - I think putting them in the context of private homes and creating scenarios in which “regular people” engage with them, in a slightly orchestrated or rather supported manner, which does not exclude having a more holistic situation created around them. I actually find THAT fascinating - and the idea of creating such scenarios in a participatory way would speak to me a lot.

I am now out of town, will be back form the 14th of August - let me know if you’re available.

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hey @Ionel - this is a very interesting addition to the idea and also a nice way for us as a platform to play a role in this. Would need to think about it a little bit more in terms of logistics and incentives, but it makes sense.

And yes, in fact I was thinking about you as I really hope for an extension of our collaboration so far and some more direct contact with Timisoara myself :)) And I know you do relevant work and have the capacity, so all is there :slight_smile:

I am now talking to two more potential partners and will be back to you soon to schedule a call, if that sounds good?

Haha… Unfortunately, I’m not in Berlin. I wish I would be. I’m in Frankfurt a.M. and earliest back in Berlin in September. It would be really great to meet in person!

Your idea sounds fantastic, really!! Please, don’t get me wrong. I’m not not convinced by your proposal. I’m just hesitant, since I don’t want to submit to something, before I really know I can also deliver what is needed. It’s more a question of getting a feeling for the whole project, and/or seeing my role in it, and/or finding the time to ponder and ideate something truly valuable that can actually contribute to the overall success of “your baby”. I want to know I can truly deliver, before I can promise you anything, you know. Taking all of this into account, usually what helps is indeed a personal conversation to get the details right and a feeling for the interpersonal resonance.

So, we definitely have to talk when you are back :wink:

There is a sentence, which comes to my mind thinking about your words, and which currently totally fascinates me: “It may have all started out as a game, but it ended up as a whole new world.”

The sentence itself is super speculative, very ambitious, somehow a re-enchantment, even hyper-surrealist, but it also offers the invitation to find and create new worlds. If we can weave together a new memetic and futuristic theme from the combinatory play, from what you described;

“[…] promotion of societal engagement and solidarity, gathering of opinions, volunteering […]
artistic and cultural production; discussion about political issues and opening for new perspectives; international research and storytelling.”

Then this would be indeed freaking exciting!

@natalia_skoczylas Wow, the description from Endlich festival is beautiful! Truly poetic! :heart_eyes: I just love it :star_struck:

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Hi Natalia and all others!

Here is Maja, art historian from Berlin/Warsaw, co-curating Endlich Festival in Berlin together with Natalia and Experimental FutureLab and the leader of curatorial collective - art burst berlin e.V.

I really love your idea, Natalia! We should invite the team of PlanB Festival - Leontien and Euard - to co-create this concept with us cause they have already a lot of experience in this kind of participatory art production in the private living spaces of people they don’t know. They can also tell how difficult it is. They are also on the way to develop methodology for this kind of practice and I think we could offer them to try them out in the different contexts outside of Belgium in the framework of this project.

When I’m thinking about this idea and when i’m reading the principles of the open call, i’m quite sure that we should include the topic of migration into it. I know some people from migration office in Berlin and maybe we can get them on the board. The way of exhibiting you are writing about reflects obviously migration processes. And this kind of participatory art creation itself is based on movement and displacement. We will be placing “alien bodies” in the most private spaces of humans, their living spaces. We could consider in this step to think about what kind of artists we want to invite and what could be the topic of art works they will be creating with their hosts. I can imagine the idea of migration and integration as a subject that could be very interesting for both sides. In such scenario it could be great to invite artists with migration backgrounds - who have anyway difficulties in finding work space and collaborators in a new environment. It would make the whole project sustainable for more people.
At the end of every “residency” we could organize an event to celebrate - like a family celebration in the local environment organized together with hosts and artists.

All “residencies” in different cities should be brought together in the form of documentation and interaction online, like this one here :slightly_smiling_face:

And the end we should organize an exposition with all works and testimonials.

This is my first reaction. I will write more later.
All best from the train to Warsaw

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Okay, this really sparked a few sleepless nights, pondering half awake in depth, imagining galaxies far far away. No, seriously, I think I had my Eureka! moment. @natalia_skoczylas So, I would now know what to deliver, and in case you wanna have a big finisher with a festival/gathering, I might have a few humble suggestions. And thank you for the inspiration, and again thank you to @noemi really great to learn what you are doing here! :raised_hands::pray::vulcan_salute:

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This is what I was waiting for! Shall we have a skype, ideally next week? Let me know and thanks for the energy, I feel it emanate from the screen! :smiley:

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As suggested by @natalia_skoczylas (and I was super happy to do so since the idea is really interesting), I reached out to my colleague @Jasmina working with me on the projects in Croatia (she just joined the platform). As I mentioned she is currently also the art curator in one independent gallery in Zagreb. We are always ready to embrace these kinds of opportunities and engage local artists so would love to continue discussing the ways we could contribute and collaborate on this. :wink:

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I’m back to my normal schedule - can we have a call @marina @jasmina and @cttf @majasmoszna and @Ionel this week to clarify the next steps and start writing the application? I’m available flexibly from Wednesday on :slight_smile:

Also, please all make sure you have PIC nrs (to be eligible to apply for european funds) ready :slight_smile:

I’m up for it and I can make it for the call this week when necessary, maybe best on Friday.

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Hi, I’m available Wednesday afternoon, Thursday, and Friday afternoon.

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Hi! Thanks Marina for the invite, sounds really interesting! I am available on Thursday and Friday until 17, Wednesday anytime.

Lets make it 3pm on Friday if its good to everyone - waiting for @Ionel to give his preference, Maja will have to get an update as she is working full time. I will take care of it :slight_smile:

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Friday afternoon is perfect!

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My skype id is notwistgirl, if each one of you adds me, I will create a group for us

see you at 3pm CET :slight_smile:

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I’m doing my research and here are some inspirations:

Context and historical use of the genre:

The way it is used in contemporary art situations:

A few notes from our call today:

  • idea: several residencies, independent of themselves in every partner country
  • different works will be produced and “borrowed” by citizens, around these works conversations will be generated
  • at the same time: training for moderators, small school in each country so that people can learn the art of conversation, human social skills that are lacking
  • targeting people living outside of the big cities, aim is to think of how to bring the artworks outside of the usual places, generate change of attitudes
  • strong element of documentation
  • international open call for artists, choose them based on how they fit in each countries’ realities and major social issues
  • final event - artworks are put together in the city where they can be the most visible, showing how they evolved through conversations
  • explore the idea of having the final event in Timisoara (ECoC 2021) or maybe connections with Rijeka (ECoC 2020)
  • each partner would be responsible for running the residency, co-organizing the trainings and arranging transportation of the works
  • the project would start between March and August 2020.

Next step: Natalia will send a document so that we can work collaboratively on the application during the next week and arrange a call end of the week for the final check.

@natalia_skoczylas please complete these points if I missed anything. And thank you all, let’s write this! :slight_smile: