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Arts in Conflict


This blog was the outlet of the Arts in Conflict program of the Treaty of Utrecht foundation

This blog was inspired by the Arts in Conflict program of the Treaty of Utrecht foundation. This blog is no longer updated but remains online for yet another year. As a kind of archive, so to say. The website of the Treaty of Utrecht foundation serves the same purpose. Have a look at www.vredevanutrecht2013.nl

Treaty of Utrecht
The foundation Treaty of Utrecht was called into life to prepare and carry out the festive tercentennial of the historical peace treaty of the same name. The festivities took place from April 11th to September 21st in 2013.
The Treaty of Utrecht was concluded on 11 April 1713 and marked a critical moment in the history of Europe and Utrecht. The Treaty of Utrecht brought an end to a series of devastating wars that had claimed many millions of lives over a period of two centuries. The balance of power between major nations was re-established in Europe itself and in North and South America. Thus in 1713 Utrecht briefly served as a ‘UN headquarters’. The Treaty of Utrecht is regarded as an important event on the way to European cooperation and conflict management as these exist in the European Union and the United Nations today. During the negotiations, all manner of festivities and cultural events were held, contributing to a spirit of congeniality and to the success of the diplomatic process. According to historians, the peace accord represented “a brilliant, worldwide settlement”. In 1713, art and culture, encounter and dialogue between different cultures made a positive contribution to the realization of a European peace whose impact was felt the world over.

Arts in Conflict
Within that theme the program Arts-in-conflict paid special attention to those artists and cultural rebels who work in [post] conflict zones. This blog wanted to highlight their work, and the worlds in which they undertake their efforts. This blog, than, wanted to look around in the field of power of culture and arts in connecting people.

Arts never stopped a war. But arts gave and continue to give people hope. Hope to re-establish links with their past, with the outside world, with their future. Perhaps arts and cultural acts are no big fires burning up, but steadily burning flames, serving as eternal gatekeepers of that cherished emotion: hope.

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The end….

It is October 1st. That is ten days after the final concert of the Treaty of Utrecht foundation closing festival. See here for some images of the bigger events – and yes, you might be surprised; there was quite some collaboration with the Dutch military.

For those of you who want to check out what were the initial ideas and plans of the Treaty of Utrecht foundation, this website is available. As you might remember main collaborators of the Arts in Conflict program – a program within the bigger framework of the foundation were:

Making Peace. The international photo exhibition paying tribute to the people who — all over the planet — devote their time, energy and resources to the cause of peace.

Liberation Festival Utrecht. The yearly festival celebrating the end of nazi occupation of the Netherlands turned into a celebration of freedom. With their help and support the performances of Omar Offendum were made possible. Omar is a great performer and fantastic campaigner for just causes, such as Adopt a Revolution.

Fotodok. The Utrecht based space for documentary photography which undertook the multiyear project ‘the Rise of Populism in Europe’.

House of Eutopia 2013_c_Filip_Berte_grootdef

Filip Berte. The great Belgium artist whose work House of Eutopia was described as follows “Berte goes further and explores dystopia as the contemporary European condition. His dystopia is situated not in the past or future but the present” by John Gray. His show in Utrecht wouldn’t have been the same without the support of the European Cultural Foundation.

The photographers Ad van Denderen, Claudia Heinermann, Claire Felicie, Martin Roemers, the organisations IKV Pax Christi, MasterPeace, the Veterans Institute and the National Militairy Museum for the exposition “Greetings from the frontline”.

The foundation ceases to exist, and thus so does this blog. The facebook page however will continue to publish remarkable facts, links to events and articles worth reading. See you there! And for now: Thanks for your interest in this blog.


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Creative activism in Turkey

Within the context of Filip Berte’s installation “House of Eutopia”  DutchCulture  and the Treaty of Utrecht foundation organized a seminar on the character of “Creative activism in Turkey”. During the heyday of what has become known as the Gezi Park protests [which are still ongoing] old fashioned protest proved to have lost its effect. The battle fought by the “Chapullers” (th
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The Rise of Populism

For the readers who remember this blog's post on the exposition The Rise of Populism from one year ago it will be no surprise the collective of photographers grew. Dirk Jan Visser and Jan Joseph Stok had such a wonderful idea, it just had to be picked up internationally. And so it did. With only a few days remaining for this
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Rene Cuperus; Back to the European Community. A reply to John Gray

The European Union needs a strong dose of John Gray philosophy.  The European Project as it has developed over the years needs a strong antidote against hybris. An antidote against imperial overstretch. An antidote against Technocratic Materialism and the Brussels One Size Fits All-tyranny. And a Gray-ish antidote against naïf and dangerous anti-historical utopian thinking. John Gray’s thoughts (and work) stand for a realistic common sense-filter. For Modesty. Self- constraint. And Self-criticism. That’s what the European Project utter
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John Gray: Europe and dystopia

Filip Berte’s work on the condition of Europe today poses some challenging questions—not only about Europe but also regarding the nature of utopia. In its etymological root, utopia signifies “nowhere”—a place that does not exist. Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas was a country off the map; many utopias have been situated in the irrecoverable past (Plato) or an indefinite future. Dystopias, on t
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