About Europe Lost and Found
Europe Lost and Found, a project of Centrala - Foundation for Future Cities, is an interdisciplinary and multi-nationally based research project to articulate and imagine the current evolution of new and transforming borders and territories of Europe. The subject is the continent of immigration, and its depopulation and aging, and the need for redefinition of states, sovereignties and citizenships. Challenged is the established belief and practice of nation-state, including non-representative and technocratic construction of European Union yet to vision more open and alternative definitions for populous in movements. The rejection of constitutional referendum and the riots in France signal the contradiction between homogeneous and multiple identities, the fluidity of capital and containment of labor, the liberation of individuals and their restrictions under sovereignty. Clearly, Europe cannot subsist by itself, and is already being redefined by “the others” in its quest for a self-identity. In such contexts, ELF suggests the future of Europe is best seen in the very place where the nation-state concept first collapsed in Europe, the Western Balkan.
Programmed with processes and events, ELF is a temporarily and self-organized society in a stateless condition because it moves. For example, the event that begins first two years of ELF is mass oriented expeditions, possibly engaging thousands of people. The first, called Lost Highway Expedition, is made of linearly threaded events through nine cities in the Western Balkan, inaugurating Balkanization as the theme of its first year programs. Europeanization is the theme of its second year, and it will begin with a non-linear expedition called Found Europe, across equal numbers of cites and regions in the continent, including the eastern and southern edges of the Mediterranean. Their purpose is to observe the restructuring of society from modernist ideology and the blurring and pixelizing of Europe and Western Balkan into hybrid and parallel states.
ELF will then decentralize and act as a self-organizing platform in its final year. It will therefore invite a network of separate works and projects that are independent from ELF, who have set precedents to, or occurring at the same time as ELF. The hope is to form a network of broader and specific views on the movements of economic, political and cultural geographies, and offer theoretical and practical exchanges between different individuals and groups who are working in these issues. In the final year that is themed as “Eurovisions,” ELF will begin to model and present adaptable, innovative and bottom-up concepts that bounds the transnational communities in Western Balkan and Europe, while developing comparative studies between the two regions and the programs of its first two years.
These investigations together would yield the production of analysis, expressions and initiatives in wide forms of visual, textual and design works, and will be presented in exhibitions, publications, conferences, workshops, interactive web, dynamic mappings, participatory cultural contests and other events. The premise of these actions lies in the thought that the fate of contemporary cities lies between the uniformity of incorporated Europeanization and the Balkanizing capacity of self-organizations, and urban landscapes are the chosen spaces for cultural, ethnic and religious conflicts and resolutions. ELF thinks that this grim perspective of unstable and unpredictable future of Europe can also bring the change necessary for building the next free and civil society, a compelling quest that “Europe: Lost and Found” would like to imagine. And this all begins with the expeditions that behaves like a moving city, to permeate the inflexible lines of old borders and form destined networks of new territories. In ELF, the project and its subjects are indistinctive.