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"relations" pulls into the docks with an overseas container at three important cultural locations in Germany, for three days respectively. "Images of the East" will be presented and discussed in Hanover (schauspielhannover), Hamburg (Deutsches Schauspielhaus), and Frankfurt am Main (schauspielfrankfurt). Outsider and insider perspectives are to be set against one another; media surfaces will be entwined with experiences rooted in everyday life and cultural production. Art, theory, music, and literature from eastern Europe will tell stories of far-reaching social changes and of encounters with German realities. Complexities will be experienced concretely, opening up a space for discussion that we warmly welcome you to join in.

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The Focus
The "relations" docking tour focuses on seven cities where "relations" has engaged in intensive ex-change with cultural actors over the past four years: Chişinău, Sofia, Pristina, Sarajevo, Warsaw, Zagreb, and Ljubljana. "relations" shows what only very few have managed to imagine, albeit 17 years have gone by since the fall of the Berlin Wall, both in the everyday and the intellectual and artistic life in cities of eastern Europe as well. These cities are the places our western thinking considers the "East" and, hence, intuitively as distant and strange. But since 1989, setting a breathtaking tempo, these urban centers have been catching up to western European standards. Rents are going up, public spaces are increasingly privatized, the gap between rich and poor continues to widen. At the same time, niches of freedom have opened up, and these are not only restricted to careers in business: artistic production is blossoming and critical voices are making themselves heard. Contradictions are part and parcel of development everywhere. But, as is often claimed, are these processes in eastern Europe merely emulations which the "West" has already gone through? Are the so-called transitional societies really the stragglers and poor imitators, dragging behind the West? And furthermore, what does the "West" mean – when "you’re the West"? We, on the western side of the European "divide," are still inclined to classify the above mentioned cities simply and trivially as the "East"– despite current and historical differences alike. And what’s more, there are circumstances where Hanover is closer to Sofia than Bucharest or Hamburg has more in common with Budapest than Berlin. So let us take a differentiated look at things, one that takes leave of notions of the East and Communism and, hence, closes the file on those of the West and Capitalism as well. Let us fashion a position strong and flexible enough to deal with common features, differences, and parallel worlds, without rashly searching for orientation in the safety of clichés.

The Tour
The "relations" docking tour will enable you to change your perspective and trigger a shift your sense of place. A container welcomes you, fitted with 15 monitors upon which television images from the participating cities flicker. News bulletins, talk shows, series, and ratings hits – ordinary programs from state and private broadcasters will be shown. Produced by the "relations" projects, video streams and uncut material showing characteristic locations from the same cities will unexpectedly intervene; people shopping, passer-bys strolling along boulevards, the goings-on in popular cafés. Documentary real-time images and media fantasies coexist, only to vanish again, one after the other. Whoever wants to plunge deeper into the everyday life and cultural scene in Chişinău, Sofia, Pristina, Sarajevo, Warsaw, Zagreb, and Ljubljana only need follow the cables leading from the container to the respective theaters. There the relations lounge will open daily at 2 p.m. Audio stations and video portraits featuring the international "relations" cast convey not only an impression of the individual artists, their thinking, and their work, but also, as a kind of synopsis, a portrait of the different art and culture scenes in these countries. The evening events are the core of the docking tour. Visual artists, musicians, theater directors, writers, journalists, and theorists from Germany and eastern Europe will discuss and negotiate their own and foreign positions live. Analytically or sensuously, playfully or controversially – and most certainly always open for your intervention. The spectrum ranges from a film series, organized in collaboration with the Sarajevo Film Festival, to discussion panels featuring renowned contributors, to young Moldovan "hip-hop-folk-grunge." As was the case for all of the activities undertaken by "relations," the sometimes very sobering descriptions of prevailing conditions is only the first step – thinking further and going beyond such descriptions is our real concern.