Our Many Europes

Europe's critical 90s and the Constituent Museum

Our Many Europes (OME) is a four-year programme focusing on the 1990s: the decade contemporary Europe was born. Europe expanded and diversified when technology and post-Cold War politics turned the world into a 'global village'. Understanding who we are today – the challenges we face, the possibilities we have – begins post 1989, when a divided Europe ended and the plurality of the many Europes we inhabit today began. Art and culture are driving forces behind this as they show us who and how we are in the world. The art of the 1990s profoundly reflects a fundamental shift in society: through internet and open borders, Europeans got active and connected. To reflect this change, we need a different museum strategy, which understands audiences not as passive consumers, but as constituent members of a plural community in permanent becoming. Developing a new Constituent Museum strategy is therefore a major and long-term goal of OME. This is done from the premise that museums innovate by doing, and learn in practice. So by exploring the 90s, through a rich programme of conferences, exhibitions and experimental mediation, OME partners will develop a new, effective museum strategy tailored to the desires of Europeans today!

OME is organised by a consortium lead by the museum confederation L'Internationale. The confederation has successfully realised two EU-funded programmes and has now been active for seven years, dedicated to innovation in the museum field. OME partners and associate partners connect eleven countries – Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ireland, Poland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Italy and the United Kingdom. OME partners are primarily museums, collaborating with universities and smaller art organisations.

OME focuses on audience development and transnational mobility. OME will promote transnational mobility of cultural professionals, especially museum staff and artists, who will improve their professional skills and career opportunities through effective peer learning. The programme includes exchange of cultural heritage, of professional expertise and will also disseminate its best practices internationally via free e-pubs.

In the domain of audience development the programme foregrounds inclusivity, working for, but also with communities. Different types of audiences namely by habit, by choice and by surprise are placed at the heart of the Constituent Museum strategy. Classic modern and contemporary art museums are defined, with a typical 90s term, as constructivist. They use a 'broadcasting' model that understands (art) history as a static reservoir of material studied by experts and shown to a broad, yet passive audience. OME, however, implements an innovative strategy that takes the visitor as an active and constituent member of the cultural institution. OME partners collaborate with this constituent audiences by organising many workshops, encounters, guided tours which brings curators, educators and other museum and education professionals in a horizontal relationships with the audience. This is done with the principles of diversity, openness and mutual respect. Thus, OME provides the public with knowledge about our current immediate pre-history in the 90s, which will help us to find comprehensive, rapid, effective, and long-term responses to global challenges such as Europe's changing society, relations with foreign countries and territorial cohesion.

1 of 4
working session at the kick off meeting of Our Many Europes
Exhibition view Anarxiu sida. CED, MACBA, Barcelona, 2018. Collection MACBA. Centro de Estudios y Documentación. Fondo Histórico MACBA. © Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). Picture by: Eva Carasol
Exhibition view Anarxiu sida. CED, MACBA, Barcelona, 2018. Collection MACBA. Centro de Estudios y Documentación. Fondo Histórico MACBA. © Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). Picture by: Eva Carasol
Marko Peljhan, Makrolab, MAKROLAB mark IIex CAMPALTO ISLAND OPERATIONS, part of the Individual Systems, curated by Igor Zabel at the Venice Biennale 2003
Moderna galerija (MG+MSUM)
Glossary of Common Knowledge. Geopolitics II
29–30 May 2019

The Geopolitics referential field is repeating from the previous edition because we feel such wide referential fields can never be fully exhausted. The first edition of the Geopolitics referential field took place in 2015.

A new group of international narrators will address their current research or artistic projects and propose terms signified by specific local environments to go beyond the dominant epistemological models in contemporary art. They will produce a multitude of voices that will explore alternative ways of making global alliances, either by drawing from historical case studies or addressing urgent sociopolitical issues.

Valand Academy
Who Writes the Future?
21 May 2019

Who writes the future? forms the re-launch of the online platform L'Internationale Online with an inquiry into a new reading of the 90s, performed in a series of textual and multimedia commissions, research and encounters.

It is an evening featuring presentations and discussions focussing on history writing and decolonizing and intersectional practices.

Participants: Nkule Mabaso, Curator, Editor and Artist Pablo Martinez, Curator (Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art) Aleksander Motturi, Writer and cultural producer The White Pube (Gabrielle de la Puente + Zarina Muhammad), Art critics

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS)
Wide Audiences and the Visual Arts from 1950 to the Present: Agencies, Politics and Discourses
29–30 Nov 2018

This international conference examines the media, narratives and practices which have sought to make contemporary visual arts accessible to wide audiences from 1950 to the present.

MACBA. Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona
21 Personae- Encounters
06 Nov 2018 – 27 Mar 2019

The staging of 21 Personae in Barcelona extends the curatorial pulse of the exhibition In the Open or in Stealth by activating modes of sensing – shifting grounds, dispositional sediments and the potent scenarios of life out into the city. A group of curatorial practitioners associated with MACBA's educational programme have crafted a specific Barcelona, to be expressed on the streets, in the squares, in public spaces and among public secrets.21 Personae includes the same number of encounters with people, places and collectives in Barcelona. Together, they will attempt to transform the meaning and intensity of our experience of the city. It is also an investigation into 'ways of meeting', ways of being and interacting in the city.

MACBA. Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona
In the Open or in Stealth. The Unruly Presence of an Intimate Future
31 Oct 2018 – 17 Mar 2019

This exhibition, curated by Raqs Media Collective, will be a multi-layered site of discovery that explores the concept of a future in which multiple histories and geographies are placed in dialogue, giving way to a plurality of possibilities and queries by following paths that interlace, entwine and expose relations between objects, feelings and concepts, while simultaneously tracing indeterminate spaces between them.

Moderna galerija (MG+MSUM)
SUMMER SCHOOL -Constructing Utopia / Eastern European Avant-Gardes and Their Legacy
24–31 Aug 2018

The focus of the courses will be on artists, art collectives and the social and political contexts of the post-war avant-gardes, as well as their meaning for both contemporary art and for institutional work. Crucially central to the summer school topic is the Arteast 2000+ Collection, consisting as it does of works by such artists as Marina Abramović, Ilya Kabakov, Komar & Melamid, together with other artists from Eastern Europe. In the more than 18 years since the inception of the collection, Moderna galerija has staged some very noteworthy exhibitions in the frame of a series entitled Arteast 2000+ Exhibitions. Speakers will include Zdenka Badovinac, Boris Buden, Keti Chukhrov, Eda Čufer, Branislav Dimitrijević, Mladen Dolar, Vít Havránek, Marko Jenko, Lev Kreft, Bojana Piškur, Igor Španjol and Arseny Zhilyaev.