Philoxenia : From March 3rd until May 31th,
at Apollonia, 23 Rue Boecklin, 67000 Strasbourg Wednesday – Friday : 11A.M – 6P.M Saturday – Sunday : 2P.M – 6P.M
Clinging on the back of Zeus transformed into a bull, the young Princess Europa crossed the Mediterranean and launched into the unknown. After her peregrinations she was welcomed by the Cretans and prospered on their island. Her voyage, to the other, to what is different, can be seen as allegory of Europe itself.
Mythology symbolizes and prefigures the foundation of this continent. Its roots are fed by the mobility of the peoples, by the encounters and cultural exchanges between various populations. Europe has been marked by permanent migrations but also by taking in people and ideas as well as cultural confrontations.
Even though it is a quite singular city, Berlin, like so many other European cities, has been built and develops by multiple migrations, by new populations moving in over the centuries.
Berlin is also the theatre of numerous sociological mutations whose evolution opens up enormous urban and citizen projects. The city has in recent times welcomed in several thousand refugees and migrants one of the greatest challenges facing the present-day building of Europe.
Philoxenia is the title of an event grouping artists who represent the plurality and cosmopolitan character of Berlin and illustrates the citys creative and dynamic ferment. Set out in two stages, the works of Stephen Wilks, Daniel Seiple, Stefanie Bürkle and the KUNSTrePUBLIK collective, illustrate the tensions and interrogations of a society undergoing an upheaval in the face of massive incoming migration and its integration. More than being a static and traditional exhibition, this event aims to open up the meaning of the work displayed through the participation and involvement of the public.
Stephen Wilks work about migrations and diversity can be found in his involvement and his artwork, focused on the refugees situation. Thus, he has created a huge installation, Bottle River, made of 1400 ceramics bottle, evoking the plastic left on the beach after a migrating flux. Invited to take part to e.city – Berlin by Apollonia in Strasbourg, Stephen Wilks has design a city-table, an installation made of ceramics pavement that reminds the shape of a megalopolis.
The artist has designed it as place to share, a friendly space for people to talk together. The symbolism, but also the shape of this table reveals the difficulty of urban and social spaces to adapt when they have to deal with the process of integration.
Stefanie Bürkle is an artist and professor of art at TU Berlin since 2009. Her artistic work is made of paintings and photos, as well as videos and installations.
For e.city – Berlin, Apollonia features her last major project: Migrating Spaces Architecture and identity in context of turkish remigration. When people travel, they broaden their cultural practices and lifestyles. Migrating Space studies the integration of common german architecture to the houses built by migrating workers when they go back to Turkey. Stefanie Bürkle, her team and student of the Architecture Institute of TU Berlin, have identified and documented 132 cases of houses and flats built or renovated by migrants when they went back to Turkey. They also interviewed the owners, defined typologies, etc…
Daniel Seiple is a pluridisciplinary american artist living and working in Berlin. He’s one of the funders of the artist collective team (New York, 2000-02), creator of the exhibition space Home (Berlin, 2005-09) and co-founder of KUNSTrePUBLIK (Berlin, 2006-2012), which initiated the Skulturenpark Berlin_Zentum as well as other public art initiatives.
For e.city – Berlin, Daniel Seiple has planned and run an international boat construction workshop dedicated to refugees called Making Waves. The workshop started in Berlin, is documented, and if everything goes well, the artist and the refugees will travel from Berlin to Strasbourg on the boat by the river. The artistic proposal will take the form of a workshop, a travel, a movie and an exhibition. The artworks will include the boat, the drawings, the models, the interview and many other artefacts.
KUNSTrePUBLIK is a collective of artists and a non-profit organization created in 2006. Initiated for the Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum project, in the old Berlin no man’s land, the collective has curated and designed many in situ exhibitions linked to the place history and its uncertain status.
In the framework of e.city – Berlin, Apollonia will introduce the last project of the collective, a massive installation : VVest Life. A few steps away from the european institutions, in contrast with their corporate side, they will build an alternative parliament, made of objects that remind the humanitary crisis that is currently shaking the European Union : life jackets. This mobile platform, which has the shape of a star, will be opened to citizens, refugees, politicians and activists, and will welcome debates and constructive commentaries about the current situation. The artists will ask essential questions : Is Europe going through a crisis of values ? How can we show some solidarity ? Who can take part ? How to deal with xenophobia, integration and mutual learning.