[spectre] where is deep europe?
Thu, 15 Nov 2001 13:57:29 +0200
here is an excerpt from a text that i wrote in 1997 for the third
ostranenie catalogue; i think it clarifies at least my understanding of the
notion 'deep europe':
For the Syndicate workshop at the Hybrid WorkSpace during the documenta X
in Kassel we chose the title "Deep Europe". We were looking for a term that
was neither East- nor West-specific, that carried some of the historical
baggage of the notion of Europe, and that was at the same time strange
enough to be easily understood as ironic. It was an experimental title that
turned out to be an interesting focus for thinking about the context of our
work. In the end, Luchezar Boyadijev's (Sofia) reading of 'Deep Europe' was
accepted by most participants: 'The notion is a metaphor which could be
problematic. In the logic of this metaphor, deepness or depth is where
there are a lot of overlapping identities of various people. Overlapping in
terms of claims over certain historical past, or certain events or certain
historical figures or even territories in some cases. It could also be
claims over language or alphabet, it could be anything. Europe is deepest,
where there are a lot of overlapping identities.'
This mapping of culture and of the depth of identities onto the mental and
physical geography stands not in contradiction to, but is a condition of
the work that is being done in electronically networked translocal
environments equipped with all sorts of telematic gear. After the workshop,
Branka Milicic Davic wrote: 'what is deep europe? is it real? is it safe?
my answer is - yes. deep europe is real. it exists. i do not need visa to
be there, i do not need an invitation letter to be there, i can simply sit
and think and i am there - in the land without borders, policemen,
elections, president, government.... where no radio or TV station will be
banned... whose citizens are speaking different languages without shame...
and lot more. deep europe is my homeland, my private mental space, which i
share with others. deep europe recognizes words like exchanging, sharing,
growing. and that's why i believe deep europe exists. because i went there,
and i can go there whenever i wish. to exchange, share, grow and
On the surface, the Syndicate is an informal network and an 'intercom'
system for people in the media art community in Europe and beyond. At the
same time, this inter-communication effects a re-mapping of cultural and
mental territories that transcends the political, religious and territorial
separations which we regard as a temporary nuisance, rather than as the
last word on this imagined continent/container. Lisa Haskel (London)
concludes her Deep European 'letter from home': 'So perhaps, this is what
Deep Europe is all about. Not a political position, a utopia or a
manifesto, but rather a digging, excavating, tunnelling process toward
greater understanding and connection, but which fully recognises different
starting points and possible directions: a collaborative process with a
shared desire for making connection. There may be hold-ups and some
frustrations, quite a bit of hard work is required, but we can perhaps be
aided by some machinery. The result is a channel for exchange for use by
both ourselves and others with common aims and interests.'