Europeans podcasting their European culture at each other

Saturday 19th June, 2021 - Bruce Sterling

*There’s something very European indeed about this.  Out in an official pavilion, podcasting about culture, with your 70-year-old cultural foundation, “creating spaces for negotiation and imagination.”



June 16, 2021

European Cultural Foundation (ECF)

The European Pavilion Podcast

European Cultural Foundation (ECF)
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The European Cultural Foundation is pleased to present the European Pavilion Podcast: an audio documentary series from the European Pavilion programme. The Podcast was launched in 2020 as a contribution to the debate on the future of Europe.

You can listen to the Podcast on the European Cultural Foundation’s website or via the following channels: Spotify, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast, Soundcloud.

Silvia Bencivelli, Rodrigo Bueno Lacy, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Rana Dasgupta, Lena Dobrowolska & Teo Ormond-Skeaping, Tim Flannery, Tristan Garcia, Lara García Díaz, Tobias Holle, Zamzam Ibrahim, Jóci Marton, Eglė Rindzevičiūtė, Timothy Snyder and Benedikt Stoll.

Conceived by Lore Gablier in collaboration with Alejandro Ramírez
Sound design: Alejandro Ramírez
Original music: Gagi Petrovic

To imagine the Europe of tomorrow is not an easy task. It is neither a question of beginning from a blank page nor following a preconceived narrative. Rather, it is about adding footnotes and creating spaces for negotiation and imagination.

The European Cultural Foundation is launching a new programme, the European Pavilion, in order to confront some of the urgent challenges currently facing us, and to begin to imagine, debate and build new models of being together. With this programme, we aim to bring together a European network of arts and cultural organisations that, through artistic and educational projects, offers the opportunity to explore ideas for a future Europe.

In this context, the European Pavilion Podcast has been a research tool to explore some key issues—not only in relation to the European territory and its borders, but also looking at the multiple identities that inhabit its spaces of connectivity.

The audio documentary series is set in different spaces: in an airport terminal to discuss post-national imaginaries and citizenship; in a park to address the tension between being present and being represented; in the European forest to explore the relationship between public space and nature; in the often invisible world of infrastructure to reflect on Europe’s image. Throughout the series, montages of news snippets weave in the political tensions and phenomena shaping these topics. In the final episode of the podcast, media excerpts accompany a discussion on the history of the European project 71 years after the Schuman Declaration, which cemented the European Coal and Steel Community—the origin of today’s European Union.

Reflecting the diverse artistic and cultural fields that we would like to contribute to the European Pavilion, guests include essayists, historians, researchers, philosophers, activists, artists, curators and architects. The arts run through the Podcast as a red thread holding these multiple strands together. From the poetry of writer and civil rights activist Zsófi Kemény to an excerpt from novelist Rana Dasgupta’s best-selling Tokyo Cancelled, the series brings together current topics of European debate with a taste for critique and re-imagination.

As one of the guests, climate activist Zamzam Ibrahim, argues: “You can’t reimagine Europe without calling out some ugly truths.” Zamzam’s statement reminds us that the European Pavilion should be a meeting place, both physical and aural, in which we can present and challenge our perceptions of the world and of each other.

The European Pavilion programme will be launched in the autumn of 2021, with the announcement of the first network of Pavilions, involving arts and cultural organisations from across the continent.

At the European Cultural Foundation, we believe that a decentralised platform that allows us to reflect on, and continuously question, what Europe means today—and what it can become tomorrow—can strengthen European culture(s). And what better place than a Pavilion for such a venture? The Pavilion, which has taken on many functions and forms throughout history, has the capacity to remain open to new definitions and meanings—much like Europe itself.

The European Cultural Foundation was established in 1954 to promote a European sentiment through culture and education.