Andreja Kulunčić: We learn to make room for everyone

A multi-year artistic research project

The We learn to make room for everyone venture of Andreja Kulunčić is an artistic research project that explores the processes of ageing, focusing on the ageing of a society. The artist considers the processes of change and the possibility or impossibility of sustaining established social and geographical-geopolitical concepts – of communities, cities, continents.

Migrations of populations, technological speed-ups and climate changes have all indicated the changes of the paradigms with which we have shaped the world and the necessity for the formation of new concepts. In conversations with migrants and asylum seekers, with migrant workers employed on the renovation of the Pavilion, the artist has investigated the reception of the geopolitical configurations and the directions of possible and necessary new concepts.

Texts composed of utterances of the people we spoke to – migrant workers from Indonesia employed on the renovation of the Pavilion – are printed, in Croatian and English and the migrants’ own language, on the tarpaulin that will be placed on the scaffolding. The work is aimed at drawing attention to the need for sharing the existing (European) space (culture and way of thinking) with the migrants as a possible path for the creation of a common future.

The project is unfolding in several segments. Posters with the statements of the workers are being placed in City light boxes and on billboards around the city in the context of the sequence Signs of the City, a programme of 12.5 sequences for the 125 years of the Art Pavilion in Zagreb, until the final performance of the work linked with the erection of scaffolding around the Pavilion. Situating the work in this way is a powerful gesture that makes use of the central position of the Pavilion and its cultural capital capacity as well as the current situation of transformation to talk of the necessity of adjustment by transformations of the identities and cultural images of the world that we maintain.

What the Indonesian workmen said:

We couldn’t live here with our families. First of all, it’s too expensive. Secondly, we are social, we can’t live alone, we have to know our neighbours, get together.

It seems to me that people here don’t visit each other. You could die, and nobody would know.

Sometimes when I smile here at unknown people, it seems they ask me: What are you smiling for, what’s funny? I do it out of respect.

Europe and Asia are different cultures, which makes life together difficult. And then there is the historical trauma with Europeans. There is still a certain amount of distrust and fear.

Poster design: Dejan Dragosavac Ruta
Translation from Indonesian during contacts with the workmen: Marina Pretković
The Indonesian workmen wish to remain anonymous.
Production: Art Pavilion in Zagreb

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