2006-2009 Here As The Centre Of The World

In recent years, the Dutch Art Institute has responded to its own, relatively isolated, position in Enschede in the east of The Netherlands by developing an international cultural network with organizations and artists at the very beginning of their careers. These 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 consisted of 6 workshops, a conference and the publication of a book. Around 70 artists in total have been involved in the roving 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.

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

Director: Gabriëlle Schleijpen for DAI
Curatorial team: Lucy Cotter, Gabriëlle Schleijpen, Alite Thijsen
General coordinator: Alite Thijsen