The Uses of Art - The Legacy of 1848 and 1989

L'Internationale aims to build a sustainable constellation of European museums, these civic institutes where art is used for public benefit, for inspiration, reflection and debate. The first collaboration addressed these issues through the EU-funded project 1957-1986. Art from the Decline of Modernism to the Rise of Globalisation (2010-2012), which analysed the relationship between art and society on both sides of the traditional East-West divide.

Based on the experience and aspirations drawn from this project, the current five-year programme The Uses of Art – The Legacy of 1848 and 1989 (UoA) proposes new readings of European art history for the broader public. This new perspective on the past is anchored in the long history of civil society, tracing it back to the civic revolutions of 1848 through wars and social changes up to the revolutions of 1989, and then on to the economic crises of today. The projects planned by the members of L'Internationale can be divided into those that reflect on the formation of civil society in the mid-19th century from today's perspective and explore the role of art in democratic emergence; those that revisit the 1980s and focus on the relation between artistic experiment and the beginnings of a trans-European civil society; and finally, those that think through the future possibilities of European society based on common cultural references and transnational identities.

The organisation of exhibitions, symposia, publications, education programmes and staff exchanges, will culminate with simultaneous exhibitions across Europe. This will generate a content-driven, sustainable form of collaboration in the museum field that will ensure new forms of transnational access – both physical and digital – as well as intercultural dialogue on society and visual art, and the sharing of professional skills and knowledge about collections and artistic projects.

One of the main sites where research and debate related to the current project of L'Internationale takes place is on the newly developed platform: L'Internationale Online. This platform is a space where commissioned texts, research and artistic projects, online curatorial projects and exhibitions drawing from the confederative work on the collections and archives of the members' institutions, will be published. The research fields of "Politics of Life and Death", "Decolonising Practices", "Real Democracy" and "Alter Institutionality" intersect these contributions. A lively discussion is instigated through the Opinion section, to which a selected group of bloggers contribute. L'Internationale Online has the specific function to present the topics addressed in the various activities of L'Internationale, and in UoA projects. It is a place where both differences and commonalities can appear and be debated.

Editorial Board: Nick Aikens, Tanya Barson, Başak Çaka, Diana Franssen, Nav Haq, Pablo Martínez, November Paynter, Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, Carlos Prieto del Campo, Steven ten Thije, Adela Železnik

Managing Editor: Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez

Copy Editor of the English Texts in the Research Section: Caroline Hancock

Copy Editors of the Texts in the Opinion Section: authors


Graphic Design: Project Projects

Website development: Systemantics

General Coordinator: KASK / School of Arts of University College Ghent

Project Support: SALT

Project Leader: L'Internationale

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

The contents of this journal are published according to the terms of the Creative Commons License unless otherwise mentioned.

With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union
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