We are living in a time of opening, of broadening horizons. Hundreds of thousands of Europeans have been able to uproot themselves from the familiar, in order to go live, work, and study elsewhere. Pushed by necessity, but also driven by curiosity, they become acquainted with other ways of living and thinking. They renegotiate their given identities. They form and transform themselves. Nearly twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and four years after the enlargement of May 2004, these transformations have acquired dimensions the full extent of which we haven't yet been able to measure.
It is by traipsing across six emblematic cities - Belgrade, Dublin, Łódź, Malmö, Timişoara et Turin - that we have sought to capture what is at stake in these upheavals.
In October 2008, Notre Europe published European Works, a book realized in collaboration with six Agence VU' photographers. The photographs and words gathered in this book bring home to us how Europe is being made, day by day, at the scale of people's hopes and everyday lives.
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Foreword by Jacques Delors and Christian Caujolle
Introduction by Aziliz Gouez
The "European Works" exhibition is currently being shown at the Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine, Paris, from October 17th to November 20th 2008.
It will be presented at the Committee of the Regions, Brussels, from November 25th and then in the six cities in the project (2009).
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The book European Works contains short extracts of long interviews with personalities from the six countries where we conducted our fieldwork research: Ireland, Italy, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Sweden. From one story to another, from East to West, North to South, come together fragments of a new European discourse: one made of analogies, contrasts, unexpected affinities - but also from discordances.
The full text of several of these interviews is available hereafter:
- Interview with Elizabeta ZEMLJIĆ, film-maker and theatre director: "The most beautiful moment was when it was coming together, just before the two parts met. That was really poetical. Now it's "only" a bridge. Fifty years from now, people will think it has always existed"
- Interview with Hugo HAMILTON, Irish writer: "The Irish are bored with their own stories. We need the new stories that the immigrants can bring"
- Interview of Bronislaw GEREMEK, Polish historian and a member of the European Parliament: "It is far easier to integrate economies and administrations than to unite memories. The new Member States have a different view of the past"
- Interview of Bogdan BOGDANOVIC, architect, former mayor of Belgrade: "Urbanity is one of the highest abstractions of the human spirit. To me, to be an urban man means to be neither a Serb nor a Croat, and instead to behave as though these distinctions no longer matter, as if they stopped at the gates of the city"
- Interview with Andrei PLESU, philosopher, former Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs: "We are going to bring you a certain historical lassitude. But this weariness can also become a virtue, for Europe has forgotten how to look tired: she is forever talking of the future, making plans. And yet, Europe is also a past - and the East might be able to bring her some perspective distance, a measure of calm, of analytical silence"