Here As The Centre

In the recent past, the Dutch Art Institute has responded to its own, relatively isolated, position in Enschede in the far east of The Netherlands (the DAI's home base till 2010) by developing an international cultural network with organizations and artists that some will consider to be peripheral. The energetic, inquisitive and (despite their sometimes complicated conditions for art production) highly enterprising partners are the backbone of ‘Here as the Centre of the World’, which is the outcome of a shared vision of productive creative collaboration.

Here as the Centre of the World is a transnational artistic research project for young artists from Taipei (Taiwan), Damascus (Syria), Beirut (Lebanon), Khartoum (Sudan), Diyarbakir (Turkey) and Enschede (The Netherlands). It was launched in the spring of 2006 and consists of 6 workshops, a conference and the publication of a book. Finally around 70 artists will have been involved in the collaboration.

Rather than inviting artists to carry on their usual practices in a ‘novel’ environment, the project taps into the creative potential of intercultural exchange by creating workshops where artists carry out artistic research together. The workshops aim to empower upcoming generations of artists by opening up new spaces for critical thought, fresh and unexpected ways of seeing and interacting with and between cultures.

As a focal point for the workshops, one street has been chosen in each city as a locus for artistic research. Participants are encouraged to work together directly in the street, to talk to people whose daily life intersects with the street’s activities and to see how those site-specific interactions shed light on the wider socio-cultural context. The resulting artistic exchanges and collaborative projects are made visible through interventions in the public space of the cities, as well as in subsequent presentations and publications addressing the local communities- civil society as well as art communities.

ISTANBUL: booklaunch Here as the Centre of the World : On Sunday September 13, at 17 pm, you are most welcome to attend the public launch of the book Here as the Centre of the World, kindly hosted by SUMA, Contemporary Art Center, Yanikkapi Sokak No.3 Kat.2 Karaköy 35005, Istanbul.Here as the Centre of the World was a transnational artistic research project that took place in six cities worldwide. It was initiated by the DAI and was curated by Lucy Cotter, Gabriëlle Schleijpen and Alite Thijsen. The book takes the project as a departure point for further reflection by artists, writers, theorists and cultural producers.The book features a rich array of visual material arising from a series of collaborations between artists from Beirut, Damascus, Diyarbakir, Enschede, Khartoum and Taipei.  With texts by Lilet Breddels, Lucy Cotter, Tony Chakar, Pascale Feghali, Rana Hamadeh, Ozkan Gölpinar, John Heymans, Erwin Jans, Khaled Khalifa, Bechara Malkoun, Rania Mamoun, Susannah Mira, Kawa Nemir, Alite Thijsen, Jerlian Tsao, Emily Williams, and Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan. Here as the Centre of the World was published by Archis, designed by Marco Balesteros / Werkplaats Typografie and kindly supported by the Mondriaan Foundation and the Municipality of Enschede. Several artists and writers will be present at the launch.



Here as the Centre of the World was an initiative of the Dutch Art Institute and the COMMON PROJECT Foundation, at the time based in Enschede facilitated by the National Taipei University of Education, the NIASD in Damascus, Zico House in Beirut, and the ANADOLU KULTUR in Diyarbakir.

Curatorial team: Lucy Cotter, Gabrielle Schleijpen, Alite Thijsen
General coordinator: Alite Thijsen

The book Here as the Centre of the World was launched in Istanbul during a presentation at