Thinking about Radicality in Postmigrant Europe

This symposium will explore the recent proliferation of concepts of radicality in discourses on contemporary art and culture, such as the concepts of ‘radical diversity’ (Max Czollek), ‘radical conviviality’ (Savyy Contemporary), 'radically democratic museum practices' (Nora Sternfeld) and 'radical museology' (Claire Bishop). These concepts all seem to resonate with the more established theory of ‘radical democracy’ developed by political theorist Chantal Mouffe, which has been central not only to political theory but also to the discourses on culture and the arts, and the stake they have in democratic societies and the formation of citizenship. Interestingly, in some of her essays Mouffe has considered ‘artivism’ as a radically politicised form of artistic practice. Furthermore, even while staying firmly within the domain of cultural institution and practices, cultural producers have appropriated the propagating practises of political movements for their own purposes, as seen, for instance, in the Maxim Gorki Theatre’s announcements of their Berliner Herbstsalons, or cultural festivals, under politically mobilising headlines such as DISINTEGRATE YOURSELVES! (2017) and DE-HEIMATISE IT! (2019).

The term ‘radicality’ refers to the state or fact of being radical. In other words, it signals change or action, usually a far-reaching change that goes to the root of something, touching upon or affecting what is essential and fundamental. The question remains, therefore, how the aforementioned conceptualisations of radicality relate to concurrent forms of nationalist and fascist radicality, and to the critical discourse on the troubling increase and spread of such right-wing forms of radicalisation. As a provisional answer, we suggest that these various articulations and manifestations of radicality can all be seen as, admittedly very different and sometimes even conflicting or contradictory, responses to the profound transformations that Europe is presently undergoing.


13:15-14:30 Welcome and introduction of speakers
Other Europes in Moments of Post-Otherness Regina Römhild (Institute of European Ethnology, Humboldt University of Berlin)
Short break
14:45-15:30 Radicalising participation: Notes on curating as a politically mobilizing practice Sabine Dahl Nielsen (Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen)
Radical Diversity as Political Intervention: Some remarks on the works of Max Czollek and Sasha Marianna Salzmann Moritz Schramm (Department for the Study of Culture, University of Southern Denmark)
Coffee break
16:00-18:00 DE-HEIMATIZE IT! Notes on a radical articulation and staging of ‘postmigration’ Anne Ring Petersen (Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen)
Panel with the four speakers & discussion with the audience

Everyone is welcome.

If you wish to attend, please email Sabine Dahl Nielsen before 10 September.

The research project Togetherness in Difference: Reimagining Identities, Histories and Communities through Art as well as the symposium is supported by Novo Nordisk Foundation grant NNF19OC0053992