Aiming at a world where many worlds fit*

(c) Joanne Pouzenc

- Update of project brief 1. April 2020 -

The virus fits into all the worlds.
Mainly being transmitted by worlds of privilege. 

Within the Creative Europe Platform Magic Carpets supporting artists in residence - we are part of this world. #brusselssowhite
Of free movement of certain people, who affect all people at home everywhere.
Effects of free movements of goods and capital on local markets, communities and ecosystems we have experienced and studied for decades now. 

A world in which some many try to think global and practice local. 
While others refer to anger and dissociation, leading to violence against groups who are being othered. #Hanau
Countries are closing borders, bringing back citizens or leaving stateless people stranded and dying elsewhere. #LeaveNoOneBehind
Enclosing the we 'in safety' into the political body of nationhood. States of emergency become the practice of power. Resisting without public spaces for gathering have to be reimagined. 

It is a time where all the structural downfalls of this white supremacist, patriarchal capitalist world become more visible and existential. The notions around systemic relevance point out the precariousness of sales persons, care workers, or cleaners, in relation to the sectors’ relevance for the survival of society as well as in relation to inequalities of a person’s health and protection. The racialisation of bodies in relation to precarity is quite prevalent. How does it affect people today? Are data being gathered on who suffers most and how? #notallinthesameboat
We don't just want to shine a light onto these inequalities but desire to imagine other futures of the worlds. We are three women, cultural practitioners, stranded in a family home in South Korea, a couples home in Portugal and a shared flat in Berlin, who wanted to work together on a project exploring structural racism within Berlin, Europe, and in particular within the cultural sector. We planned on engaging with cultural and political scenes and meeting new communities, experiencing diversity, and questioning the organizational structures of ZK/U - Center for Art and Urbanistics, and how they are contributing or contesting structural forms of discrimination. 

Cultural spaces and community centers are empty, and artistic practices and political organizing like other forms of public life have moved to the digital realm. 
So have we. Our residencies now live of solitude, reading, thinking, writing, researching, and speaking to our collaborators through screens. Just like our lives, our projects are changing and adapting to the new circumstances. #flattenthecurve
Everything is constantly evolving, contesting structural discrimination and practicing anti-racism are projects of life-long learning and reflection too. 
Our projects and its communication become representations of these learning and unlearning processes, and will be regularly updated throughout its duration. #notetaking 

If you have questions on the project or concerns around our statements, please write to [email protected]

Emerging Artist: Melissa Rodrigues
Local Artist: Ki Hyun Park 
Emerging Curator: Lotta Schäfer
Project Platform: Magic Carpets
Funding: Co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union 


*inspired by the Zapatistas

Working title: 3 steps back, 1 step forward - Working against our complicity in structural racism

- Initial Project Brief 27. November 2019 -

In times where racist parties, politicians are gaining more and more momentum, we need to shift our focus form looking at the racists and finding ourselves as part of racist structures and institutions. Cultural practices are more and more under thread by national and racist discourses and policies, since right-wing populism stands in hostile opposition to the art of the many and is working on the re-nationalisation of culture. But within all these debates around identity we seem to forget the oppressor is a racist, patriarchal and capitalist structure from which many white European individuals and groups profit while others suffer. 

Working as a predominantly white institution on anti-racism we are bound to make a blunder but the reality is so serious (racists are shooting and killing) that paying lip services is not enough anymore and actions are required. This artistic research project aims to develop anti-racist activities and more inclusive structures in the programming of ZK/U. The dimension of class (discrimination) needs to permeate these discourses throughout  because it is still one of the strongest mechanisms of exclusion within the cultural and residency context in particular. 

A group of people and cultural practitioners for anti-racism ready to fight the domination of white supremacy in particular within the project Europe. We aim at „a world where many worlds fit“ similar to the Zapatistas. LISTEN to people who experience structural forms of oppression, especially in the cultural sector, collect ideas how to improve the accessibility to ZK/U and its programming. Let’s check our privileges, our language, recognize when and how we contribute to conditions, institutions and mechanisms which stabilize racism and allow certain individuals to profit from it. It’s a communal struggle against the oppression of racism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, capitalism/classism, ableism rather than a debate about identities alone. 

It will be a group (and process) of contradictions and charged relationships to practice politics and unlearn policies of exclusion. 

Anti-racist cultural practices, let’s start right here. Support practices of people of color. Support artists with less access to education and funding structures. Professional development of emerging curator as multiplier for the organization. 

Start by listening, reflecting one's own privileges, unlearning and learning. 

Context of the project: 
Magic Carpet Platform financed by Creative Europe Programme of the European Commission

"Creative Europe is the European Commission's framework programme for support to the European cultural and creative sectors*. The general objectives of the programme are to safeguard, develop and promote cultural and linguistic diversity and to strengthen the competitiveness of the European cultural and creative sectors."


10% of EU population are racialised and ethnic minorities but only around 4% are represented in the EU parliament. enar (european network against racism) states there are zero data on racial diversity in EU institutions, zero specific measures to ensure racial diversity and zero people of color in senior management positions.**


The cultural sectors often claim to be inclusive and respectful, but  experiences of BPOCs and people with disabilities contest this image of ourselves. 

Who has access to this type of funding (individuals/institutions)? 
Which artists have been funded? 
How white is it? 
How does that look like in the Magic Carpets platform? 
Where are the diverse voices?
Why do we rather look at disenfranchised communities rather than artists? 


#helper_syndrome #whitesaviourcomplex 


"In economic terms, the cultural and creative sector contributes some EUR 509 billion in added value to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which represents 5.3% of total EU GDP; the sector also provides more than 12 million full-time jobs, equivalent to 7.5% of the European workforce. The cultural and creative sector is the third largest employer in the EU after the construction sector and the food and drink sector." 

Both are official statements published by the European Union





Initial Idea of the project

- conceived on 9. October 2019*

An airport bus into the center of Rome, about to start the yearly emerging curators meeting of the Magic Carpets platform with a wonderful group of women. 

Following the news on the racist attack in Halle, Germany - the same day, for some Jom Kippur. A racist terrorist live-streaming his attempt to massmurder members of the Jewish synagogue in strong reference to the terrorist of Christchurch. When fortunately failing, he kills a bypasser and a guest of a Döner-Imbiss and injuring two others. The police needs one hour and 44 minutes to arrest the terrorist. The synagogue had previously requested police protection at least on important holidays but has been denied the request. 

I am not surprised just fucking angry. Knowing how much the shift in public discourses and racist language and policies legitimize violence for racist perpetrators and networks. 

Reactions are always surprised, outraged, and full of words rarely policy suggestions. Perpetrators are over and over again described as lonely and sick instead of recognized to be socialized by others and contextualized in the networks of radicalization, ideology and violence. 

My initial hinge on that bus ride is, enough with words, start with actions. Start within this project for Magic Carpets, examine how we as cultural producers are either contributing or not fighting strongly enough against structures of discrimination. In this moment it feels liberating to be able to conceive an idea of a project around anti-racist cultural practices. 

But the anger will only increase over the next weeks, the fear of a white person and institution speaking about racism creeps in, and it will take a lot of reading by incredibly strong Black women of color on the topic to really grasp my personal contributions to structural and institutional racism. Tupoka Ogette describes it as leaving 'Happyland'**, in which I as a white person can happily live since I am not discriminated against in my daily life.

Grada Kilomba describes five phases of ego-defense of the white subject until they are able to listen and become aware of its own whiteness: denial, guilt, shame, recognition, reparation.  

After going through these phases myself, this project aims to contribute to reparation, "the act of repairing the harm caused by racism by changing structures, agendas, spaces, positions, dynamics, subjective relations, vocabulary, that is, giving up privileges".*** 


Part of the project's agenda is to not perform anti-racism but to address issues and initiate changes around the structures, languages and positions of people in ZK/U. Additionally opening up the process of learning and reflection to others and represent our learnings and mistakes on this page. 


Idea was conceived on 9. October 2019, this text was written on 2. April 2020


Tupoka Ogette is the writer of "Exit Racism" and trainer against racism. 


Grada Kilomba is the writer of "Plantation Memories" (p.20-23) and artist.