Europa sunt eu
The art piece “Europa sunt eu” (translated as Europe is me) was born in the context of the rise of aggressive nationalism within the post-communist European space. The artwork reconstructs a discourse of collective, personal and national-regional identities within the greater discourse of common, European identities.
The project is made out of modules – 34 pieces of transparent plexiglass (0,5x1,20m) – on which the brief formula “Europa sunt eu” stands written in all European languages and dialects. By installing these transparent pieces one behind the other, a “fragmentary multiplicity” is obtained, an image that cannot easily be read linearily. Every message has its own language, resulting in a Lettrism-like structure similar to mirrors reflecting one another. A mirroring of the statement as self-quoting but in different European languages. A plural, multiplied subjectivity in which a text is literally read through another.
The stress lies on the process of identifying oneself through the other, a process in which “The self is the other”. “Eul este un celălalt”. “Le moi c’est l’autre de nous-même” (Lacan).
We highlight a message that speaks about the self, a message that, among other things, speaks about specificity within globalization.
The project was presented in Belgium, as part of an exhibition on “The Rape of Europa”. “The voices who rape Europe are also the ones who restore it, bearing in mind the idea of overcoming the nationalism of every nation”, we wrote back then. This chorus is not uniform but heterogeneous, allowing everyone to find their place and role in this “one and diverse” civilization, as Guizot and Jacob Burckhardt defined Europe. That is exactly why we have approached the absence of specific points of view, of connotation and localization, all sentences being written in a neuter, equally represented fashion.
There is thus no center and no outskirts, and what is more
important for us, neither are any dominant nor peripheral cultural representations.
The statement standing for multiple meanings (“Europe is me”) may, on the one hand, invite to consensus (everyone says the same thing), made out of a sum of subjectivities, a recomposition, a unique chorus of associated voices – but, on the other hand, does not exclude the other side of consensus, dissociating, and the stress on individualities that exclude one another. As a double reading perspective, the language game, created by a statement identical in meaning, multiplied this way, eventually acquires different connotations, even some that are opposed to one another.
A counter-paradigm, a complementary phenomenon is re-dimensioned; a double movement as playing within a polar concept containing complex relationships between the two extremes opposed in meaning.
Intertextuality, as a set of identical statements, becomes the “manner in which a text reads history and is inserted in it” (Julia Kristeva).
The metalinguistic code is given precisely by the sequences borrowed from other textual spaces and brought into context.
Irony, paradox, textual manipulation, the passing of one metaphor from one context to another, from one reference to another, the multiplication of messages as a multiple image of reality, complementarity, simultaneity, harmonization, but also the race of paradigms, fragmentation, dissociation, all these are a part of the META stance, the META experience.
We could paraphrase G. Agamben by saying that which is at stake is not only applicable to conceptual art, linguistics or language idioms, but that first and foremost it is an indicator of social, political and
2META, Bucharest, 2001