The inimitable Mediterranean cultural sphere –with its long history and its present marked by opposites– stands in the center of the discussions and readings of this new event series. Since the beginning of recorded history, the coasts of the Mediterranean have been forever and inextricably bound together. Cultural exchange followed trade routes, and stimulated a region of similar climate, geography, and ways of life. The most important civilizations to shape the historical inheritance of the Occident, the Islamic-Arabic cultural area, and the byzantine-influenced east of Europe shared much more with each other than present-day political conflict and economic inequalities would lead one to believe. Authors of differing generations and from around the Mediterranean are invited to come together in discussion under the title “The White Sea”, and to reflect together on that which binds and which divides their shared transnational inheritance.
With: Rasha Abbas (Syria), Amanda Michalopoulou (Greece), Vladimir Arsenijević (Serbia), Zsófia Bán (Hungary), Aleš Šteger (Slowenia), Ingo Schulze (Germany) and Assaf Alassaf (Syria)
facilitated by Anne-Dore Krohn (RBB), Dieter Heß (Bayrischer Rundfunk)
During the year 2015 hundred thousands of refugees came to Germany by using the route through the Western Balkans states. Many of them are Syrians who had to leave their home country because of the devastating conditions there. Refugees who used the West-Balkan route often started in Turkey, then crossed the Mediterranean Sea to reach Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, then fled further to Croatia and Slovenia to finally reach Austria and Germany. This movement of refugees caused the implementation of fences to “protect” the country boarders. This stands in a strong contrast to an “open-minded” Europe. It seems as if the fences that are supposed to protect the geographical boarders of Europe also existed in the European interior.
Wednesday, February 10th of 2016
With: Thanassis Valtinos (Greece), Nikol Ljubic (Germany), Vassilis Amanatidis (Greece), Yiannis Skaragas (Greece), Phoebe Giannisi (Greece), Matthias Énard (France), Sherko Fatah (Germany), Najet Adouani (Tunesia), Aris Fioretos (Sweden), Christos Chrisopoulos (Greece)
facilitated by Vassilis Terzopoulos (Greece), Georgos Kordomenidis (Greece), Ulrich Ladurner (Greece)
An event by the city of Salonika and the literary magazine Entevktirio/ Georgos Kordomenidis in cooperation with the Allianz Cultural Foundation, the Literary Colloquium Berlin and the Goethe Institute Thessaloniki.
The coasts of the Mediterranean region encompass a plethora of cultural diversity which has been coined by centuries of intensive trading and cultural exchange. Salonika in particular looks back at a long history of multi-ethnic coexistence. Over centuries, the urban structure of the city has been shaped by the presence of immigrants and their interaction with the local community. Gradually, the "foreign" became an organic element of the host society, and Salonika acquired a high international reputation as a cosmopolitan metropolis.
However, over the past hundred years, wars and ethnic cleansing have destabilized the basis of this peaceful coexistence and transformed what once was a mare nostrum into a site marked by deadly borderlines. How can Salonika develop a vision for the future from its multicultural heritage and, along with other urban centers of the region, overcome boundaries and face the major challenges of the 21st century? How can immigrants nowadays contribute to a new cultural and economic blossoming of the region and of Europe?
We as citizens play an active role in providing answers to these questions. During the three-day literary event "The White Sea", the municipality of Salonika opens its gates to the public for a lively program of readings, discussions, music and film from artists and authors from both Greece and its neighboring countries, inviting to look at, redefine and re-invent cultural diversity in today’s context.
Wednesday, June 3
Project Sea Change is about documenting the lives of young Europeans, to show how they are affected by the current uncertainties. Some of the best documentary photographers in Europe will create a unique tapestry of stories to present a vibrant, thought-provoking and novel perspective on Europe’s current challenges.
It will document both the problems and the possibilities that the challenges have created. The strategies that young Europeans adopt to cope with the new situation, how this impacts their daily lives, and their dreams and ambitions for the future.
Many issues are common to all or most European countries, for instance migration, political extremism, the role of European Islam, and unemployment, to name but a few.
Project Sea Change collaborates with the VII photo agency, and has received generous funding from Norwegian government sources, private foundations and media companies.
With: Rasha Abbas (Syria), Mathias Énard (France), Nihad Sirees (Syria), Amer Mater (Syria), Rosa Yassin Hassan(Syria)
After being hosted in Trieste, Tirana, and Alexandria, we took the international event series “The White Sea” back to Berlin-Wannsee for a day, and invited authors and filmmakers to discuss the theme “Syria in Exile”. How do Syrian writers incorporate the dramatic situation in their homeland into their work? How free can an author truly be in exile, when the immeasurable suffering in ones’ homeland suffocates every emotion, seizes every memory and will not let go, and leaves one stuck in a “life divided” (Amer Mater)? We heard not only of the horrors of war, but of an unprecedented and –in this country– unacknowledged artistic breakout in and around Syria, that is seeking to sound out new areas of freedom and to show forms of resistance beyond the sites of war. The event could be followed live on Facebook and Twitter (#syrwhitesea), as well as on the website www.dasweissemeer.eu.
Begin: 7:00 pm
Welcome: Florian Höllerer, head of the Berlin Literary Colloquium
Greeting: Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Federal Foreign Minister), read by Beate Grzeski, Representative from the Directorate-General for Culture and Communication
Christina Weiss, former State Minister for Culture, and Advisory Board member of the Allianz Cultural Foundation
And Josef Halsinger, Author and President of the PEN-Zentrum Germany
Panel discussion: Rasha Abbas, Mathias Énard, Amer Mater, Nihad Sirees, and Rosa Yassin, moderated by Larissa Bender
Documentary film: “Return to Homs” and discussion with director Talal Derki
With: Sahar Elmougy (Egypt), Fatma Kandil (Egypt), Alaa Khaled (Egypt), Khaled Al Khamissi (Egypt), Ahmad Abou Khnegar (Egypt), Ivana Sakko (Croatia), Joachim Sartorius (Germany), Julia Schoch (Germany)
After appearances in Trieste (2012) and Tirana (2013), our literary event series took place in Alexandria. Under the working title “Identities in Motion”, eight international authors met a young audience of writers in workshops. The focus of the event and its discussions was the multiple cultural identities that have developed around the Mediterranean, and which characterize the mutual perception of Arabs and Europeans today. The conference could be followed live on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on dasweissemeer.eu
9.00 am (CET) Welcome: Sahar Hamouda (Bibliotheca Alexandrina) & Christina Weiss (Minister of Culture, ret.)
10.00 am – 5.00 pm (CET)
Workshops: Identity or Identities? – How can being part of several global peer groups overpower our local identity?
Mythes and literature in the Mediterranean region– The common heritage of Mediterranean cultures despite the different Identities and cultures.
How conscious is the shape of identities connected to the process of writing literature?
The relation between visual arts and Identity.
5.00 pm – 8.00 pm (CET)
Welcome: Khlaled Al-Khamissi Panel Discussion between the authors and the Organisators
8.00 pm (CET) Public presentation and dicussion
Under the title ‘Europe: a space of remembrance’ we have invited eight authors of different generations from Albania, Egypt, Germany and Switzerland to enter into literary dialogue on October 4 and 5, 2013 with the aim of discussing that which connects and that which divides in their shared Mediterranean heritage.
For many Albanians, and for a long time, the Mediterranean meant a connection to Europe and the promise of freedom. Especially during the 40-year dictatorship of Enver Hoxhas, the coasts of western Europe were a place of escape and longing. In the present-day, “the White Sea” is at once the link –as well as the intensely supervised border– between Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
After stops in Berlin and Trieste, the travels of “The White Sea” literary festival bring it to Tirana. Here, authors considered the question of what collective memory the Mediterranean world –with its long history of shared cultural traditions as well as its present marked by opposites– has developed. In addition, strategies of remembrance were discussed, which help allow totalitarian experiences to be literarily rehabilitated.
* A project of the Allianz Kulturstiftung with the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin and the Ministry of Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Young People and Sport in Albania.
With: Lindita Arapi (Albania/ Germany), Khaled Al-Khamissi (Egypt), Arian Leka (Albania), Luljeta Lleshanaku (Albania), Fatos Lubonja (Albania), Ilma Rakusa (Switzerland), Hans-Ulrich Treichel (Germany), Agron Tufa (Albania)
Moderators: Dhurata Shehri, Mimoza Hysa, Parid Teferiçi
We invited six internationally-renown Authors to our third Mediterranean conference from May 10th to the 11th, 2013 in the LCB. For two days, the poets, novelists, and publicists were occupied with the question of what role the inheritance of antique Mediterranean cultures plays in our present-day. The Mediterranean is the cradle of the three monotheistic religions, and the birth-place of rational philosophy and secularism; but is also an inexhaustible treasury of mythical and literary images whose symbolic power remains unbroken even today. This time, we brought Italian-Croatian, German, and Albanian authors to the LCB.
We began on Friday evening with a podium-discussion in the Berlin Literary Colloquium with all of our authors. The Keynote on the theme “The Academy of the Sea” was given by Durs Grünbein.
On Saturday, we invited the public along with the authors to brunch at the Berlin Literary Colloquium in Wannsee. Afterwards, moderated reading began that would continue into the evening. The day was rounded out by a presentation and discussion of the prize-winning film “The Albanian”. We were pleased to greet director Johannes Naber in the LCB.
On the 23rd and 24th of November in Trieste, eleven authors of different generations from Slovenia, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany – Mauro Covacich, Viet Heinichen, Stanka Hrastelj, Drago Jančar, Kenka Lekovich, Davide Longo, Cees Nooteboom, Boris Pahor, Ilma Rakusa, Joachim Sartorius, and Aleš Šteger – came together in the Teatro Miela and in the Museo Revoltella to hold readings and discussions in front of the public. Under the title “Between the Mediterranean Sea and Central-Europe: The Two Souls of Mediterranean Literature”, we occupied ourselves with the question of what role the sea plays in the literature of Italy and Slovenia.
The Kick-off Event for the literary event series “The White Sea” took place on July 7th 2012 in the Berlin Literary Colloquium. It concerned the theme “The Shared Inheritance of Antique Mediterranean Cultures”. Six prominent authors from the Mediterranean and Germany gathered together to reflect upon the theme, and to address its challenging questions. What roles in uniting or dividing does the Mediterranean cultural inheritance play in the world today? What great myths and stories have shaped these cultures through to the present-day?
The event series was continued in November 2012 in Trieste, Italy.
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