Through an open call, Syrian artists are beeing invited to produce a digital artwork (in the form of a poster) based on a dialogue. More specifically, the artist should reach out to a person from their surroundings (a neighbor, relative, friend, or other) to develop and produce a visual artwork with a thematic focus on shared experiences, thoughts, concerns or feelings, as such translating their dialogue into an artwork that serves as a visual document. Vice versa, anyone can get in contact with a Syrian artist to invite him/her to participate in this initiative together. This process focuses on building bridges within communities at the current time of physical distancing and isolation, while highlighting the impact of the current epidemic on all aspects of our daily life. This is done to highlight the major role that creativity, imagination, and storytelling play during times of uncertainty and upheaval.
coculture will work with the successful applicants to use public spaces (e.g. windows, balconies, billboards, walls, etc.) as open galleries to exhibit the submitted artwork as part of a public campaign in Berlin. When the lockdown period is over, coculture will also exhibit the selected artworks in its gallery space in Berlin upon an agreement with the participating artists.
To further promote the approved artworks and increase the community’s participation, a social media campaign will be established where everyone can vote for their favourite artwork. The work with most votes will subsequently be used as the main PR image for everything related to the campaign.
The rapid and unexpected spread of COVID-19 has affected every detail of our contemporary life, challenging everything that we thought of as being stable, continuous, and unchangeable. While humanity has managed to unite in the face of a hidden common enemy, the viral emergency has also strengthened a sense of profound crisis in our social and political systems. In the long run, the social, cultural, economic, and political challenges that will arise from the physical distancing, will have a more evident impact on society than the temporary presence of the virus. Even if we manage to beat the invisible “enemy”, nothing in our lives will go back to what and how it was. If this crisis has revealed essential flaws in our systems, what is happening today is more than just a test of our defense readiness - it is an opportunity to fundamentally question who we are and where are we going.
It is neither about what we need to remain alive, nor about how we can think of reorganizing this life following the emerging situation. Instead the crucial question is about our collective cultural and moral values and our ability to express them. All of this reflects the central interrelationship between art/culture and all existing systems. Culture is the essence of who we are as human beings: it establishes our collective social lives, binds us together, and nurtures our sense of belonging. Without a blatant recognition of the urgent need for the cultural dimension, it is difficult to envision the future as a joint endeavor of human civilisation. Therefore, we believe that artists and cultural producers play a critical role in providing “alternative spaces,” which will be a cornerstone in navigating the ongoing transformations in the coming months.
In parallel to the open call, the initiative Through Solidarity, We Survive has launched this crowdfunding campaign to support the participating artists. The total amount raised from this campaign will be divided equally between all the artists participating in the initiative, because it is literally through solidarity that we survive, coculture is contributing additional 5.000 euros as initial support for the campaign.
coculture is a Berlin-based, non-profit cultural organization created as a response to the challenges faced by displaced cultural producers and works at the intersection of art, activism, and community building.
For more information about coculture and the initiative Through Solidarity, We Survive please visit www.coculture.de and join the campaign on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.