REC>ON

An international artistic project on citizenship and reconciliation

Project description

The focus of the project was to enable collaboration between artists, young people and representatives of civil society from Armenia, Germany, Turkey and France. The final aim was to create a common discussion around the creation of a multi-disciplinary performance with the participation of the audience’s members – a discussion that differs from the habitual political dialogues. 2011-2012 REC>ON project questioned the issue of an artistic dialog between peoples. Through an 18 months experience in these four countries, the project has offered an investigation, local and international workshops, a web documentary and the production of the play “The Descendants” in Yerevan, Paris and Berlin. The project was a partnership between arts organizations of the four countries and supported by the EU’s Culture Programme 2007-2013 and different national supports.

How was the project innovative?

REC>ON is the first cultural project on the topic of reconciliation involving these four countries. It is the first time that Turkish students and artists perform together with Armenian students and artists on one stage in Yerevan theatrical works dealing with genocide.

How is the project linked to the theme of 20th century European memory?

By questioning the idea of reconciliation, REC>ON confronted the ideas of collective memory, of individual memory and of cultural transmission. The first half of the 20th century witnessed Europe’s involvement in the most destructive wars in history, the genocide of the Jewish people, but also the genocide of the Armenian people. But the second half has shown us a new vision, with for the first time the creation of a community of countries capable of exchanging ideas, building new bonds and moving forward together. One of the key words of this process was reconciliation. This reconciliation involved countries barely recovering from the war, still torn as under by civil conflicts: it was about accepting the other and our differences to create a better future. The Franco-German reconciliation is often thought of as the basis of the European Union, and today’s generation of Europeans take it for granted.
Since its creation, every time the European Union integrates a new country, the question of how the different nations composing the Union interact becomes essential. In the case of the integration of Turkey in the Union, relations between France and Turkey, Germany and Turkey, are at the heart of a heated debate, since these countries share a rich political, cultural and migratory history. By extension, the question of the relationship of Turkey to its neighbours must be asked, and most notably with Armenia, since reconciliation between these two countries has just been launched. It is still an extremely complex situation, since the political and economic goals are very important, but it has never evolved as much as during these last few years.
Turkey, Armenia, Germany, and France: four countries with complex, special bonds; four points of view on the idea of reconciliation, on the means necessary to protect or provoke it; a common realization that without reconciliation, no shared future is possible.
REC>ON also questioned the actual state of the reconciliation and how it influences the actual debates in Europe (decolonization in France, the relationship between France and Algeria…).

Contact:

Compagnie La Transplanisphère, Paris, France
Bruno Freyssenet
www.recon-project.com