Esch-sur-Alzette and the neighbouring bi-national region has been designated as the European Capital of Culture in 2022. The notion of "Europe" indicates that this cultural project goes far beyond the geographical limits of a city or region to forge transnational connections. In fact, the concept is also political, economic and - of course - cultural, creating interactive spaces and new opportunities beyond the borders. In this spirit, let us introduce you to the international partners and projects of Esch2022!
The European Capital of Culture represents the largest cultural project of the year at national level and it helps to foster the international reputation of the country. It is therefore not surprising that one of the categories of the main REMIX theme is REMIX EUROPE: an initiative to stimulate the European vision and its development as well as to focus on international projects and partnerships. The diversity of European cultures is showcased throughout the year by artists, projects and institutions from across the continent.
European partner cities
The dual cooperation with the cities of Kaunas in Lithuania and Novi Sad in Serbia is particularly important, as both cities have also been designated as European Capitals of Culture in 2022. A close exchange has therefore been established and parts of the programme are produced together in order to bring people, cities and countries closer together.
The slogan of Kaunas is from temporary to contemporary; it harks back to the city's role as the provisional capital of Lithuania in 1919. The creative energy of yesteryear still exists - more than ever - in the projects of the European Capital of Culture: in collaboration with renowned international artists, the different communities create street art, organise exhibitions, dance together and explore the cultural diversity of their environment. Spectacular events will further supplement the international programme. Keep your eyes peeled for the mythical beast of Kaunas, the initiator of a contract of friendship between the town, its neighbours and the beast itself!
Novi Sad "builds new bridges with a new cultural image". It is one of the first cities outside the European Union to be designated European Capital of Culture. The main idea behind the programme is to leave Novi Sad with a solid legacy in place that further develops the cultural life of the city, through participatory and innovative projects in new cultural venues. The programme is divided into four bridges, named after the four viaducts of Novi Sad, which represent the idea of forging new bonds of cooperation and exchange between artists, local project holders and the European cultural scene. At the same time these arches symbolise the values of the city (freedom, rainbow, hope and love) while the artistic concept is based on the fundamental values of the EU (human rights, diversity, dialogue, environmental protection and peace).
When industrial heritage becomes an international artistic platform
Belval is an industrial site that has been transformed into an urban district. It comprises a university campus and a centre of science and culture. Here, past and present meet and we bear witness to the transformation of a former industrial heartland into a knowledge-based society.
Two venues in Esch-Belval have been earmarked to host the artistic programme, created in collaboration with international partners.
The Möllerei was built in 1910 and underwent major renovations between 1965 and 1970. It has not been used since the last blast furnace was shut down in 1997. In the past, it was employed to store iron-ore and coke. Today, it is used as an exhibition hall for digital and interactive works. The "Digital Spaces" showcases multimedia creations in this key venue of Esch2022. Four projects are presented under the curatorship of international partner institutions:
- "Hacking Identity – Dancing Diversity", the inaugural exhibition is organised by The Karlsruhe Centre for Art and Media (Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe – ZKM), an institution devoted exclusively to the digital arts, with an extensive collection of photographs, sound recordings and other artworks. It addresses the question of identity, explores the issue of diversity and multiple viewpoints: specific and universal, aesthetic and intellectual, history and future, etc.
- The House of electronic arts (Haus der elektronischen Künste - HeK) in Basel is a young institution dedicated to the meeting point between art and technology. The "Earthbound – In dialogue with nature" exhibition invites the audience to reflect on the impact of human activities on the Earth's ecosystems. Works of art offer alternative means of understanding and interaction with the world.
- Ars Electronica Linz is a platform and festival for electronic arts, technology and society. "In Transfer: on to new shores" is an exhibition that focuses on the potential of using an artistic approach to create innovative solutions in scientific research and industrial production. The creativity of the arts confronts the problems faced by contemporary society.
- "Pure Europe" is a project by Historical Consulting, a company based in Luxembourg and providing academic expertise in the field of history, and Tinker Imagineers, "designers of experiences and worlds of wonder for curious people" in the Netherlands. The project explores Europe from different angles, focuses on clichés, and offers a vision of what constitutes Europe and its citizens.
The Massenoire was used as an exhibition space and information point for visitors to the area. The building has been renovated in a multi-functional way for the European Capital of Culture and provides a journey through time...starting in the past and stepping into the future!
The Rotterdam School of Management, Amaze Design and the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development invite you to participate in the "Escape Room SDG 12". The School has a reputation as one of the most international and innovative business schools in Europe. Its main objective is to develop business leaders capable of creating positive change for a sustainable future through a spirit of innovation. The training is founded on the values of critical thinking, creativity, caring, collaboration, and respect for the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The game is educational and interactive. It is based on Sustainable Development Goal number 12: ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Players must make choices and solve puzzles to win the game and create a better future.
Socle C is one of the venues that will showcase the diversity of a European Capital of Culture. This space is in fact the foundations of the Belval Blast Furnace C, which was dismantled and sold to China in 1996. It is an industrial relic built from concrete, whose central space of 14 metres in diameter offers the perfect platform for concerts, performances and a wide range of cultural events.
Come and enjoy the international collaborations and immerse yourself in a series of performances, installations and video works by the artist, dancer and choreographer Cecilia Bengolea from Argentina, who has presented her work all over the world, from Mexico to Paris to Bangladesh. For Esch2022, as part of the Luxembourg Museum Days, she is showcasing a brand new production in collaboration with the Mudam Luxembourg.
In July, the stage of the Socle C will welcome a multitude of European and international artists for the "No Borders" festival in cooperation with the Rockhal. Musicians from Portugal, Italy, Cape Verde and Serbia will soon have you dancing to the sounds of hip-hop and rap.