International Biennial of Contemporary Art Ljubljana,
23 June - 24 September 2000
News Archive
Micro Talks
Cankarjev Dom
M1 & M2

Interview with Massimo Cacciari
Hans Ulrich Obrist

Hans Ulrich Obrist: Concerning the future of Europe, Jacques Delors always used to stress the importance of two movements at once: elargir et approfondir. How would you see this statement now?
Massimo Cacciari: The expansion (elargir) continues to develop – but for irreversible economic and commercial reasons. The deepening (approfondir) implicates a reflection (Zurück-kehren) of Europe on itself, a Gegen-schlag, as Nietzsche said, with respect to the ideology of "progressives" that characterised it for at least the past centuries. Of this reflection I do not see a trace.
Hans Ulrich Obrist: In your new book Gewalt und Harmonie – Geophilosophie Europas, you elaborate a model of both unity and differences. How do you see the possible role of Europe in the world? Homi K. Bhabha sees the future of Europe in terms of a third space. He sees European history dominated by the aggression caused by projections to the other, the colonial history being one of the outcomes of this projection. Would Europe as a third space help us to go beyond oppositions?
Massimo Cacciari: Unity can only be a unity of different elements, and the "different" can call themselves that only if they recognise their "deeper" unity. If this relationship is forgotten, the unity will be nothing more than universal homogenisation, violence and an end to the "reductio ad unum", or the distinction will be pure animosity, aggression. Can Europe still reflect upon itself as a unity which bears opposition and opposition that bears unity? This is the question we do not know how to answer today.
Hans Ulrich Obrist: How do you see the importance of art and artistic projects for the construction of the European house? Isn't the European Community in danger of being driven purely by economic forces without any cultural vision? The scenario of multinational companies colonising the world and driving ever increasing wedges between the rich and the poor.
Massimo Cacciari: There is not a single problem concerning the European spirit that has not been also expressed in its artistic manifestations.
Hans Ulrich Obrist: European society is about to transform itself into an information society. The communication and the new forms of networking like the Internet lead to an ever increasing globalisation. At the same time there are strong forces of decentralisation.
Massimo Cacciari: The current process of globalisation inevitably evokes "earthly" feelings of nostalgia. These feelings alone will remain quite harmless. The problem does not lie in reacting to the globalisation, but in living the process whatever our differences, bringing to it our own identities and characters... and our own gods.
Hans Ulrich Obrist: Paul Virilio told me in a recent discussion that he sees the city as the last territory (la dernierre territoire). He talks about tele-ports, airports... How do you see the importance of cities as dynamic centres of exchange for the future?
Massimo Cacciari: Yes. Today I believe in fact the city to be the "territory" that can "give roots" and be in relation with the other, to host and be hosted at the same time. European history has mostly been a history of cities, of big cities "on the move", always mobile, always in danger, but always capable of taking care of themselves.
Hans Ulrich Obrist: The year 1989 plays a very central role in your new book. The fall of the wall in Berlin has given birth to a much more fluid Europe. How do you see the notion of migration in Europe in 1996?
Massimo Cacciari: Freedom to cross borders has always been a part of the European spirit. Today, how can we speak of freedom? Surely not for the great streams of migrants. I doubt if we can even speak of freedom in terms of the great tourist floods drawn by the picturesque images of the tour-operators. Once borders were crossed also by hospites, now, it seems, only by enemies or esuli (ex-solum: uprooted people). This interview was made 1996 for the catalogue of Manifesta 1 in Rotterdam; for the lack of space, it could not be published there.


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