co-pro

A Colombian-German cultural bridge: Narratives & Radicalisation

bridgeworks e.V. and Circuito Liquen are planning on building a Colombian-German cultural bridge in 2022. The two organisations have been in a dynamic process of idea development and planning for a year.

The art laboratory Narratives & Radicalisation is a transcultural and artistic encounter project, a "crosso-ver" of cultures and art genres. With the art laboratory, bridgeworks initiates a cultural bridge between Germany, Colombia, Palestine, Uganda and Greece, invites international guests and thus connects artists, cultural managers and experts. The project is to be understood as a "creative hub", "place of artistic research" and "kick-off event" for further international cooperation projects in the arts. Detached from obligations, from everyday life and from their own culture, the participants investigate the social problem area. The examination of the topic, scientific expert knowledge, own identity, culture and origin is initiated by the foreign cultures as critical counterparts and moderated by bridgeworks. Our aim is to explore the complex subject area openly and broadly in order to gain a deep insight into the current state of knowledge. The cooperation is therefore based on a sensual and scientific approach, which aims to make the exchange of knowledge and artistic research, as well as the transcultural en-counter, as emotionally experiential and as tangible as possible. We embark on a historical and cultural search for traces and derive future models from them, which proactively pursue a central common goal: How do we want to live together in the future?

In order to enable the equal value of the cooperation partners and a low-hierarchical encounter of the participants, the project will be jointly conceived and implemented by the five representatives of the countries in terms of organization and art. 15 artists from all over Germany and 15 artists from the bridgeworks partner cultures will discuss, give workshops and take part in artistic research over a period of two weeks, inspired by experts from philosophy, sociology, psychology and political science - and thus develop project ideas. Together with all participants, we create an in-between space, a laboratory for innovative artistic formats in the performing arts and their interfaces to other art genres. We combine elements of research, workshops in dance, theater, music, installation and literature with scientific lectures and discussion panels.

The term "radicalization" has experienced global inflation in recent years, primarily as a result of religious terrorism. Nevertheless, the term applies to many current issues and developments across all social milieus. Radicalization processes are always based on a simplified and one-sided interpretation of world events - a narrative. Rationality and scientific facts are transfigured by emotions and pseudo-truths and reinterpreted in one's own interest; if necessary, facts are corrected by alternative facts, by fakes or simply lies. Countering these processes with arguments and supposed "common sense" continually fails.

It is therefore necessary to understand the narratives and their power in order to counteract the polarization of society(ies). Thus, an examination of these processes is always also an examination of a multi-perspective and consensus-oriented understanding of democracy and thereby legitimizes the relevance of a profound examination of the complex of issues.
- Where do the social roots of polarization and radicalization processes lie?
- Are there psychological connections detached from the respective cultural contexts?
- How to discuss with isolated extremists/fundamentalists?
- How can we avoid whole strata of society splitting off?
- How can we make democratic processes of consensus building tangible?

It would be presumptuous to claim that artistic research, discussion and action produce the answers to these questions. Nevertheless, they open up a "different" space for discussion and encounter that can strengthen a process of social reconciliation. The arts and an open dialogue could thus be efficient instruments, as they pick up audiences and actors on a personal and emotional level and open up a social space for experimentation. We can counter inhuman narratives only with a humanistic narrative, and we can counter the division of society only with participatory engagement.

Regardless of religious, national, right-wing/left-wing or conspiracy-theoretical motives, radicalization processes remain a global and societal problem area that must be examined again and again on the basis of current developments. With art-lab, we are confronting a highly political, currently relevant thematic field and doing so in an international dialogue and taking into account diverse artistic approaches. The project does not only work on supposedly big questions, but above all builds bridges to biographical and personal stories of the participants.

The art-lab will culminate in a public workshop presentation in which a total of 30 artists will show the results of the process in a performative presentation and make them open to discussion. The plan is to contextualize the results in public within two days in an interdisciplinary mash-up of performances, interventions, lectures and discussion formats, thus reaching even more people and making the results effective.

bridgeworks, in collaboration with an international consortium of organizations and artists, is breaking new ground. Approaches will be tested, how we work on the background of the topic within our artistic and organizational principles at eye level with the approach of fair cooperation, collaboratively and thus contribute to the improvement of political, social and cultural problems.

Narratives & Radicalisation establishes the connection between people, arts, discourses, understandings of democracy and contexts of interpretation and thereby creates a "safe space" of encounter. We contribute to cultural-political education, cultural-constructivist training and networking. Global. Fair. Interdisciplinary - with joy. bridgeworks …under construction!