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icdblogsphereteam

We are the Blogsphere Team of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. We are the interactive part of the web resources of ICD. We spread culture and mutual understanding among cultures through blogs.
icdblogsphereteam has written 139 posts for Arts as Cultural Diplomacy

Daniel Libeskind – Architecture is a Speech

By Vladislav Strnad, The Institute of Cultural Diplomacy 

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For those who are interested in modern architecture, the Gallery of Architecture in Brno is offering a remarkable exhibition on the work of the architect Daniel Libeskind from the 6th of August to the 3rd of September 2013. The department of Architecture SPOK in Ostrava, Gallery of Fine Art in Ostrava and the Museum of Architecture in Wroclaw collaborated on this project. The Gallery of Architecture, Brno has been a natural meeting place for architects, artists and lovers of architecture from the early nineties. The gallery offers the public a wide range of activities presenting high-quality architecture, design and art.(1)

Daniel Libeskind is an American Jewish architect, one of the leading figures of the world of architecture, celebrated author and he is best known for his role as master plan architect for the new World Trade Center project in New York. He belongs to a group of modern architects known as deconstructivists, therefore his work is characterized by a freedom of imagination, musical harmony, and at the same time, precise mathematical calculations. Thus, his work is not only architecture, but also philosophy and music. Libeskind is highly professional in all those areas; for him, music, geometry and the written word are considered as sources of inspiration.

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He was born in Lodz, Poland, on 12th of May, 1946. His parents were among the few Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust, while most of his extended family had been murdered: “I was born into a family of survivors, luckily I was born after the horrific events, but I was born in a milieu and went to school under a communist totalitarian regime, so I experienced kind of at first hand and in continuity the events that befell this part of the world, Europe, European Jewry and that’s part of my background.” says Daniel Libeskind.(2) Libeskind has a deep emotional connection with these tragedies which is significant as he is able to carry it through into his architecture better than others.

Throuhgout his childhood, Libeskind learned to play the accordion and swiftly became a virtuoso, moreover he even performed on Polish television in 1953. At the age of eleven his family immigrated to Israel and in 1959 the Libeskinds moved to New York City on one of the last immigrant boats to the United States, where he became a United States citizen in 1965.

When Daniel Libeskind was 19 years old, he won a prestigious America Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship to continue in musical education but he eventually turned to architecture and later received his professional architectural degree from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York. In addition, he received a postgraduate degree in History and Theory of Architecture at the School of Comparative Studies at the University of Essex, England.(3)

In 1989 he founded the Studio Daniel Libeskind and lived in Berlin until 2003. When he won the competition for the new building of the World Trade Center, he relocated and re-established his studio in New York.

Libeskind’s first major international success was the Jewish Museum in Berlin that was completed in 1999. Libeskind has also designed cultural and commercial institutions, museums, concert halls, convention centers, universities, residences, hotels, and shopping centers.(4)

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“Well architecture is a public art, it’s not something done in private for private reasons, it has to reach the public, and part of the art of architecture is also language.” says Libeskind “…and it’s not just some sort of container, some abstract piece of glass and concrete, it is part of a communicative system, and we understand old traditional buildings because they signal to us things about our culture. The same thing is true for new museums, they have to signal the connection between the past and the future.”(5)

Among his architectural achievements, we can mention the Jewish Museum Berlin (Berlin, Germany), Felix Nussbaum Haus (Osnabrück, Germany), Imperial War Museum North (Greater Manchester, England), Danish Jewish Museum (Copenhagen, Denmark), extension to Royal Ontario Museum and the renovation of ten of its existing galleries (Toronto, Canada), CityLife (Milan,Italy), Złota 44, Apartment Tower (Warsaw, Poland), the Bundeswehr Military History Museum (Dresden, Germany), Jewish Museum Berlin Academy in the Eric F. Ross Building (Berlin, Germany), West Side Shopping Center (Switzerland), Tangent (South Korea), Media Center (HongKong) and many more.

Daniel Libeskind is the chief designer of the winning project Memory Foundations – the new World Trade Center in New York, part of which is the Freedom Tower which is 1,776 feet high, symbolizing the year of Interdependence of USA and also a memorial to victims of the terrorist attack on the WTC of 11th September, 2001. This project is probably the best known among the general public.

“I believe that design and architecture are the foremost communicators of all—they tell a story. Without them, there would be no history, no reference about where we are, where we’ve been and where we are going; not only as individuals but as a society“. The major examples are the Jewish Museum (Berlin, Germany) which depicts the suffering of the Jews during the Second World War, and the WTC site, reflecting the sentiments of thousands of people whose relatives suffered from 9/11.(6)

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Daniel Libeskind is not only the architect of many unique buildings in different countries, but also an architectural theorist. He has given lectures at many universities around the world – the University of Toronto, Yale, Pennsylvania, Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (Germany). He has an honorary doctorate from the Humboldt University of Berlin, the University of Essex, University of Edinburgh, DePaul University of Chicago and the University of Toronto (2004). He also led the Faculty of Architecture at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 1986-1989 he founded and led the Architectural School in Milan. Mr Libeskind is one of the seven architects who participated in the exhibition “Architecture Deconstruction” (1989).(7)

In addition to his architectural projects, Libeskind has worked with a number of international design firms to develop objects, furniture, and industrial fixtures for building interiors, and he established a design company in Milan called Libeskind Design.

Mr Libeskind has also designed opera sets for productions such as the Norwegian National Theatre’s ‘The Architect’ in 1998 and Saarländisches Staatstheater’s ‘Tristan und Isolde’ in 2001. He also designed the sets and costumes for ‘Intolleranza’ by Luigi Nono and for a production of Messiaen’s ‘Saint Francis of Assisi’ by Deutsche Oper Berlin. He has also written free verse prose, demonstrated in his book ‘Fishing from the Pavement’.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Hiroshima Art Prize, which is awarded to artists whose work promotes the understanding and peace among nations and had never before been granted to an architect. Two of Libeskind’s structures won the 2004 RIBA prize (London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre and Imperial War Museu
m North). Libeskind was appointed as the first Cultural Ambassador for Architecture by the U.S. Department of State (2004), Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, England, Gold Medal for Architecture at the National Arts Club, he was the first recipient of an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Fine Art (DFA) from University of Ulster in recognition of his outstanding services to global architecture and design.(8)

Daniel Libeskind’s work has been exhibited in many major museums and galleries around the world.

  1. http://www.denik.cz/ostatni_kultura/vystava-ve-znovuotevrene-galerii-architektury-brno-predstavi-daniela-libeskinda.html
  2. http://www.abc.net.au/rn/legacy/programs/atoday/stories/s229284.htm
  3. http://www.architoday.com/2011/daniel-libeskind/
  4. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2007/oct/11/architecture
  5. http://www.abc.net.au/rn/legacy/programs/atoday/stories/s229284.htm
  6. https://thearchiblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/daniel-libeskind-jewish-museum-berlin/
  7. http://www.evreyskaya.de/archive/artikel_549.html

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
http://www.ccds-berlin.de
http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org

The Summer Shakespeare Festival 2013

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By Vladislav Strnad, The Institute of Cultural Diplomacy 

The summer open-air theatre festival aims to put on the works of William Shakespeare and takes place at several stages in the Czech Republic and Slovakia from the 25th June to the 7th September, 2013

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“The Summer Shakespeare Festival is the oldest and the largest open air Shakespearean theatre festival in Europe,” says artistic director Libor Gross. For several years this Czechoslovakian project has been held at various venues across the region between Prague and Kosice. The festival takes place on open stages at the Prague Castle, courtyard of the Liechtenstein Palace in Prague, the castle Špilberk in Brno, the Slezkoostravský castle in Ostrava and the Bratislava Castle in Bratislava. This year performances were also shown in the Zvolen Castle in Zvolen.

Throughout its existence, the event has annual premieres to introduce newly staged Shakespeare plays. It has established itself as an unmissable event that attracts an audience from all over the region. It is not only because of the interesting productions, quality drama and exceptional cast, but also due to the charm of the historic locations where the theatre festival takes place that so many people are drawn to spectate. The organizers are always trying to surprise audiences and offer them new, innovative perspectives on the works of Shakespeare. The Summer Shakespeare Festival is remarkable not only for its thematic focus, but also for its Czech-Slovak dimension. Open air theatres within the castle courtyards have their own characteristic features and therefore a unique charm.

The Summer Shakespeare Festival productions are prepared by internationally acclaimed directors from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and from abroad. Performances are put on by excellent Czech and Slovak actors.

The locations for the Summer Theatre festivals are selected very carefully and they are usually places of cultural interest which can facilitate open air performances. The Brno Castle has the largest capacity with 1000 seats. In Prague, the Prague Castle and the Liechtenstein Palace can accommodate 600 spectators, in Ostrava the capacity is around 700 and it is even slightly less in Bratislava. Performances begin in the evening and artificial lighting enhances the atmosphere of the surroundings. Celebrations are accompanied by a mass audience interest. Last year there were up to 87,000 visitors and the cast successfully performed over 140 shows.(1)

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This year’s season started at the Prague Castle with the comedy ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ an emotive play about a magical summer night, mischievous fairies and an entertaining love triangle. In addition to excellent performances and the romantic setting of the castle, the audience enjoys the unusual scenery which brilliantly alternates night and day, the extravagant costumes and especially the directors’ interesting individual style.(2) The Prague festival has staged successful reprises of ‘Richard III’, ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ and ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor.’ Ostrava offers the play ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost.’ The Prague premiere will have the Slovak-Czech version of ‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona’, and is performed in a multilingual version. The Bratislava production this year has prepared another multilingual comedy ‘Twelfth Night: Or What You Will’ for audiences in Bratislava and Brno. They were not afraid to experiment with staging and decided to put on the stage an entire rock band. So much emphasis was put on creating the perfect sound-score that the play was nominated “the most musical performance” of the year.(3)

The emergence of the festival was initiated by President Václav Havel. He opened the Prague Castle to artists which attracted the public to the Castle. The first Shakespeare performances took place in 1990. Since 1998, the festivities have been held regularly. Between 1999 and 2000 the festival took place under the auspices of Václav Havel. The event was supported in 2004 by the then President Václav Klaus.
In its early years, there were only two productions over the summer but the festival has gradually grown stronger to its present form. The existence of the Shakespeare Festival once even caught the attention of Buckingham Palace when Prince Charles expressed in a personal letter his interest for the continuation of the festival.(4)

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The British Shakespeare Company, the second largest and best known Shakespeare Company in the UK, has also been affiliated with the festival giving it even more accreditation.(5)

Although William Shakespeare did not write for children, special children’s days focussed on the interaction of children and their parents were organized. At the Prague Castle there was a medieval market, where children had the opportunity to try a variety of activities from fencing to making puppets for the production of costumes or to play theatre.

As an accompanying program of this year’s festival in Ostrava, from the 2nd to the 10th of August there will be a lot of interesting theatre, music and performer achievements. For the second year in Ostrava, there is a “ShakespeareOFF”, which gives space to domestic and foreign young artists.(6)

In Brno “Gallery Vaňkova” there was an autographing opportunity with the main actors of “The Taming of the Shrew” and a photo and costume exhibition from the show.(7)

It should be noted that without quality translations of the Shakespeare plays, the festival would not be such a success. Anglophone and Shakespearolog Martin Hilský took care of Czech translations. His translations of the complete work of William Shakespeare were published in one volume in 2011. “Sometimes I wonder how current Shakespeare is….. It is a déjà vu, “says Hilský, who was appointed as honorary member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 2001 for contributions to the spread of English literature in the Czech Republic and for Shakespeare translations.(8)

Sources:

  1. http://www.rozhlas.cz/strednicechy/tandem/_zprava/libor-gross-umelecky-reditel-letnich-shakespearovskych-slavnosti–1228224
  2. http://art.ihned.cz/divadlo/c1-60243860-sen-noci-svatojanske-skutr-shakespearovske-slavnosti-recenze#fotogalerie-gf552112-14-2351680
  3. http://www.wshakespeare.sk/
  4. http://www.shakespeare.cz/2013/
  5. http://www.lidovky.cz/na-letni-shakespearovske-slavnosti-zavita-herec-ben-kingsley-pu5-/kultura.aspx?c=A090817_145612_ln_kultura_jk#utm_source=clanek.lidovky&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=a-souvisejici.clanky.clicks
  6. http://www.5plus2.cz/18354/shakespeareoff-je-v-plne-parade-zpatky
  7. http://www.galerie-vankovka.cz/cz/akce/objevte_s_nami_kouzlo_doby_williama_shakespeara
  8. http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/zpravodajstvi-ostrava/kultura/224902-shakespeare-by-mel-z-ostravy-velkou-radost-rika-martin-hilsky/

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
http://www.ccds-berlin.de
http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org

The Culture Trip

the-culture-trip-body“Passionate about global art and culture, Dr Kris Naudts founded The Culture Trip in 2011. As an academic, Kris used to travel a great deal and always prepared for his trips by trying to find books and films that were set in or about his destination. He was struck by how much time and effort went into finding a country’s icons of literature and cinema, not to mention obtaining their work in translation. Apart from talking about psychiatry with his local colleagues, he loved to hear about their favourite local writers and directors, and return with a travel bag full of books and films to devour back home.

This way of life brought him hugely enjoyable travel experiences and a truly global library, but also a sense of bewilderment about how some countries’ finest writers and directors are virtually unknown across cultures and continents. Add to this an entrepreneurial spirit and constitutional insomnia and you have the main ingredients necessary to start up something like The Culture Trip: a one-stop, easy-to-navigate global website that showcases the best of art and culture for every country in the world.

In the past year, the site acquired a loyal following in more than 200 countries and feedback has been fantastic. For that reason the concept is currently being expanded beyond art, literature and film into music, apps, galleries, events, accommodation, restaurants and tours – for every single country in the world.”

For more information click HERE

Festival of Brotherhood 2013

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By Vladislav Strnad, The Institute of Cultural Diplomacy

On the 28th of July 2013 on the top of Velká Javořina, in the border region of the Czech and Slovak Republic, hundreds of citizens from both sides of the border met during the traditional festival of brotherhood and unity. This annual event reminds each nation of their common history where two increasingly interconnected nations gradually established a peaceful path to full independence over the last century. However, there still remains a certain bond and sense of togetherness between them which can be seen in similarities in culture and lifestyle.

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Velká Javořina (970 m) is not only the highest point of the Bílé Karpaty, but also the oldest protected area of this mountain range. The mountain, which is steeped in legends traditionally chanted about in Slovak and Moravian songs, became a landmark meeting place for the Moravians and Slovaks in the 19th century. Then, it was a meeting place for not only for Slovak and Moravian students, teachers, priests and artists but also for ordinary people. Javořina was a gathering place for the building of friendships between Moravians and Slovaks, a space for manifestations, a place of joint excursions and a place for cheerful socials. This tradition was revived in 1990. Now, a new meeting, entitled “Celebration of Czechs and Slovaks Brotherhood, Javořina”, has been created. The Czech – Moravian – Slovak memorial, a work of sculptor Otmar Oliva, symbolizes that despite the current and future transformations of Europe, people in the Moravian-Slovak border remain close. The Javořina festivities are the culmination of a project of “Czech and Slovak reciprocity”. Throughtout the year there are numerous cultural and tourist events. Festival organizers have one common goal; to maintain the special relationship between the people and to increase the quality of life of people from both sides of the border.(1)

This year’s celebrations were attended by many folk ensembles, brass bands and choirs from the border region. There was a varied program of authentic fair stalls and traditional activities taking place in the natural amphitheater for the hundreds of visitors and well-known personalities from the media and politics who attended the aevent. Soloists and groups of different genres performed. Their art is an example of the rich folk traditions and extraordinary cultural and social affinities of the two nations. There were also competitions for children. The day before, a meeting of cyclists from the Czech and Slovak Republic, called the ‘Javorina Tour 2013’, was held on the top of the Velká Javořina.(2)

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Czechs and Slovaks actually lived in one state from the times of the Hapsburg monarchy. The first independent state of Czechs and Slovaks was created in 1918. After seventy years of the existence of one united state, the Czechoslovak Republic broke into two on January 1st 1993 and became the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic. Both nations had a chance to start building their own sovereign states. Mutual relations remained, and always have been, fair and good. Regular meetings between Heads of States are conducted and there is constant communication between both cultural, educational and scientific spheres. The Czech Republic and Slovakia joined the European Union and NATO. Slovakia has ceased to be a “younger brother” and relations between the two nations”were given the standard level of relations between two neighboring countries, which between them have no problems and, by contrast, have much in common in the past.” (3)
Even after 20 years, the dissolution of Czechoslovakia is considered by Slovak former Prime Minister Vladimir Mečiar and by a former president of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus as a necessary step which helped everyone.
Mečiar said that the decision of the dissolution of Czechoslovakia was the right move, and if the republic did not divide in 1993, Slovakia would now be considered as insignificant European region. (4)
Václav Klaus justified the political decisions that “… our priority was to preserve the friendship and good relations between Czechs and Slovaks and preserve our future cooperation. We have stood the test because we approached each other with respect and a desire to understand one another. We have stood the test because we wanted success not just for us, but for the other side as well.”
Today the President for Czech-Slovak Relations has heralded the relationship between the two nations as great; unburdened by historical burdens and feelings of injustice or negative sentiments. “I believe that the Czechs and Slovaks remain true brothers to each other,” he said.(5)

Former Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas said that “the Slovaks are for Czechs the closest, truly fraternal nation; the nation on which we always rely, even at an international level, we know that we can rely on him.” It is difficult to find in Europe two nations with such friendly relations.(6)

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Sources:

(1) http://moravak.pise.cz/47-na-javorine-se-odedavna-stretavaji-slovaci-s-bratr.html
(2) http://velkajavorina.com/?p=214#more-214
(3) http://www.radio.cz/cz/rubrika/otazniky/cesko-slovenske-vztahy-jsou-nejlepsi-jake-kdy-byly
(4) http://zpravy.idnes.cz/prezident-klaus-blahopreje-vladimiru-meciarovi-k-narozeninam-p6h-/domaci.aspx?c=A120719_113850_domaci_jpl
(5) http://www.klaus.cz/clanky/3253
(6) http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/ct24/domaci/188055-cesi-a-slovaci-si-na-javorine-pripomneli-vzajemne-vazby/

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
http://www.ccds-berlin.de
http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org

Blog Update: New Speakers List

UK speakersWe added a new feature to the ICD News Blog which enables you to find out more information about the speakers that attend our conferences.

Hover over the link below where you can find out more about the speakers that you are interested in; each link contains video footage of your chosen speaker, and background information on the topic being discussed.

For more information, please click HERE

Thank you for your support
The ICD Team

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
http://www.ccds-berlin.de
http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org

Słubfurt. Turning a concept into a reality

by Vendula Marešová, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy

frankfurt-bridge-summer“To reorder space one needs to redefine space. For this kind of artistic intervention I use the term “applied art”, which means art applied in public context and space. This is to describe an artistic strategy focusing problems in society to then intervene, interact and transcend into another construction of reality. I create tools to create this new reality in other people’s minds.”   Michael Kurzwelly

Located on the border between Poland and Germany, only 80 km away from Berlin, there is a virtual town called Słubfurt. Słubfurt is a city which ignores state boundaries – it consists of two parts Słub (Polish town Słubice) and Furt (German Frankfurt an der Oder) which used to be one urban unity connected by a bridge 70 years ago until the Polish border moved westwards to the Oder-Neisse line.

Presse_KurzwellyThe aim of artist Michael Kurzwelly, who initiated this cultural project, was to create a new incentive for this space with a playful and fantastical outcome. It’s a reaction to the prejudices of Poles towards Germans and of Germans towards Poles, and deals with the identity crisis that exists there. It opens both of the shores of the river Oder to each other in order to improve neighbor relations, and tries to ease communication between the municipality of Frankfurt (Oder) and Słubice.

Due to the border movement and the development of the Second World War, both on the Polish and German side of the River Oder, the majority of original inhabitants fled and the residents who live there now lack a historical connection to the place and therefore do not have such an intense relationship with it. The Poles have had to deal with what happened to them during the Second World War and some of them still have difficulties communicating with Germans. On the second shore, Frankfurt (Oder) used to be part of the German Democratic Republic with its controversial history and the secret police Stasi who used to have many conspiratorial flats there. Since the unification of Germany, Germans have been accused of looking down on Poles. There are still some historical grievances among the older generations living in Frankfurt and Słubice; the reasons for them are related to Nazism and the expulsion of Germans etc., and this causes mutual mistrust. Despite this, many students and new foreigners are coming to Słubfurt and are slowly starting to change this, with thanks also to the European University of Viadrina and Collegium Polonicum which are located there.

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Although Słubfurt city doesn’t exist on maps, it has its own city emblem, a half-real Słubfurt citizenship, and since 2009 elections to the Parliament of Słubfurt have even been taking place there. Occasionally some of the inhabitants speak the Słubfurt language (a mixture of German and Polish with a few special words), and various events are organized, for example, football matches between Słubfurt and other towns, and the Słubfurter Oderfest.

The ingenuity of the Słubfurt project is sometimes surprising. Michael Kurzwelly has invited his artist friends to cooperate with him and realize their own artistic projects there. An example of such public intervention is ‘Trial-Living in Słubfurt’ from 2004 by Christian Hasucha – a loggia placed on the Square of Heroes in Słubice, directed westward with a view of the Monument against Fascism. Every inhabitant of Furt was invited to decorate it according to their own taste and spend a few hours at the loggia, reading newspapers or grilling there with friends, gaining a sense of the lifestyle in the second part of Słubfurt.

Additionally, the Słubfurt city doesn’t exist only on its own, but it is a part of another virtual place – a country Nowa Amerika, which is situated along the river Oder and Neisse on the German-Polish border. Nowa Amerika connects both Polish and German area, although in this state the German-Polish border doesn’t exist anymore.

The phenomenon of Słubfurt became partly a tourist attraction and there is now a tourist information center in Słubfurt and a city guide of Słubfurt has been published. In addition, Michael Kurzwelly regularly organizes guided tours around both Słubfurt and Nowa Amerika.

The Citizens’ Association Słubfurt was established in 1999 and has developed itself significantly since then, coinciding with Poland joining the EU in 2004 and being admitted to the Schengen area in 2007. Three years later, the Słubfurt media library was established to serve as a cultural exchange for the region, where the citizens can share their life stories relating to essential themes of identity, to which the Słubfurt city is bound.
Although there are also opponents of the Słubfurt project, it is undeniable that the richness of cultural life in the region has increased immensely over the past years thanks to this project.

Recommended: Michael Kurzwelly’s promo video to the ‘new’ city of Slubfurt ‘Visiting Slubfurt’

Sources:
http://www.arttrans.arttrans.de/
http://othereuropes.hu-berlin.de/Materialien/Slubfurt/Interview
http://www.hasucha.de/en/intervention_47/dokumentationl.html
http://othereuropes.hu-berlin.de/Materialien/Slubfurt/Interview2
http://www.slubfurt.net
http://nowa-amerika.net/

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
http://www.ccds-berlin.de
http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org

Colours of Ostrava 2013

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By Vladislav Strnad, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy

‘Colours of Ostrava is a multi-genre music festival held annually in the city of Ostrava. As of last year, the event is being held in the beautiful surroundings of Dolní Vítkovice – the site of former blast furnaces, mines and ironworks. The first festival took place in 2002.
The festival has brought a number of notable headliners to Ostrava over the years including Grinderman, Robert Plant, ZAZ, Alanis Morissette, Cranberries, Sinéad O´Connor, Bobby McFerrin, Mariza, Salif Keita, Jamie Cullum, Janelle Monáe, The Flaming Lips, Antony and the Johnsons, Jan Garbarek, Gipsy Kings, Kronos Quartet, Michael Nyman as well as Animal Collective; top names in jazz, world music, rock, pop as well as the alternative scene. The festival also offers a diverse accompanying programme including theatre, workshops, discussions, films etc.’(1)

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Colours of Ostrava is an international multi-genre music festival held annually in Ostrava. It is one of the biggest summer festivals in the Czech Republic. Colours of Ostrava, during a twelve-year run in Europe, has built a reputation as a major festival in modern design with wide range of music. Over the years the festival has adapted its lineups to include new undiscovered talent in an effort to ‘move with the times’, much like the Roskilde festival. This provides a platform for upcoming artists showcased at the festival to perform in front of audiences that are interested in their respective styles.

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The biggest stars included: Sigur Rís, Jamie Cullum, The xx, The Knife, Tomahawk with Mike Patton, Damien Rice, and Asaf Avidan. Furthermore, a great impression was made by singers, Sara Tavares, Savina Yannatou, and Amparo Sanchez. Also, Transglobal Underground feat Albanian brass band Fanfara Tirana, Mama Rosin, Berlin band 17 Hippies, and more. For the first time in Czech Republic several African artists were present at the festival: Mali’s singer Roki Traoré, reggae star Tiken Jah Fakoly from Côte d’Ivoire, Acoustic Africa from Ivory Coast and Cameroon, Moroccan singer and lute player guimbri Aziz Sahmaoui, Tunisian lute player Dhafer Youssef, and more. The Czech artists included Tata Boys, Zrní, Radúza, Markéta Irglová, Vojta Dyk, Umakart, Psí Vojáci, Aneta Langerová, The Prostitues, Wanastowi Vjecy, Luno, Pražský výběr, and Xindl X.

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Perhaps no other festival in the world can offer a more unique musical and social environment. As of last year, the festival now takes place in Dolní Vítkovice, an abandoned industrial area; surrounded by old, but renovated, mines and smelters. The area, founded in 1830, is now declared as a national cultural monument. In 2008, Dolní Vítkovice was amongst one of four Czech sites of interest that made its way on to a list of places that are regarded as important in European cultural heritage. Festival goers and Czech natives now hope that Dolní Vítkovice can make its way on to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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The 12th festival took place from 18th – 21st of August, 2013. It was visited by more than 33,000 spectators. Musical performances and complimentary events in the streets of Ostrava were attended by more than 60,000 people. The festival itinerary was made up of 106 bands, coming from an impressive 29 countries; 46 of the artists were from Czech Republic. Besides music, the festival offered a chance for people to taste other types of performances at the theater, as well as different venues for films, discussions, workshops, and DJs. Adding to the already comprehensive list of music offered at the festival, new genres at the Drive stage were added that offered alternative country, folk, blues and rockabilly performances for festival goers to enjoy. Seventeen domestic and international bands participated there. To accommodate all attendants, parents could take their children on rollercoaster rides and/or leave them in a supervised play area whilst they enjoyed the full experience of the festival. External companies also took part; the famous gallery owner, Zdenek Sklenar as well as various other artists, displayed contemporary Czech art.

UNICEF was also present at the festival, offering different merchandise and interesting workshops for children and adults. Proceeds that came from UNICEF’s activites went towards funding various vaccination programs, which annually save the lives of more than 3,000,000 children.

Sources:

(1)http://www.colours.cz/en/ Colours of Ostrava 2013
(2)http://www.lidovky.cz/colous-of-ostrava-jsou-rekordni-hlasi-33-000-navstevniku-ppq-/kultura.aspx?c=A130721_191741_ln_kultura_hm
(3)http://doklubu.tiscali.cz/clanek/festival-colours-of-ostrava-zacina-ve-ctvrtek-zahrat-si-budou-moci-i-navstevnici-215618
(4)http://www.colours.cz/ Colours of Ostrava 2013
(5)http://www.unicef.cz/aktualne/55452-unicef-na-colours-of-ostravabr-18—21-cervence-2013 UNICEF na COLOURS OF OSTRAVA

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
http://www.ccds-berlin.de
http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org

Holi One Festival – We Are One

By Saniya Giniatullina, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.

The origin of the Holi One Festival goes back to Hindu culture in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan where thousands of people gather together to embrace the colour, music and community. The original purpose of this festival was to celebrate the end of winter, as it is usually held in springtime, to thank the Gods for the rich harvests and fertile lands. Although it is the least religious holiday, within the region, it is a moment of togetherness and fun for peoples of all ages who are able throw coloured powder at each other, dance and laugh.

This event is currently taking place all over the world, including countries such as Brazil, the Czech Republic, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Poland, UK, USA and Spain. It is a great opportunity to promote Hindu culture as a tool of cultural diplomacy to educate the world about this unique event and tradition. By experiencing the Holi One Festival of Colours people from many nations will be able to become closer to cultures and countries which may otherwise be distant.

The city of Berlin will hold the event on August 10th 2013 in Festplatz Ringstraße 24, where several famous DJs will play sets and other performance artists will entertain the crowd. The participants of the event are invited to wear white clothes and purchase the coloured powder to throw at one another. The result is a colourful dance-like performance alongside the sound of live music and shows. The powder is environmentally friendly, non-toxic, allergy free and water-soluble. However, those who suffer from asthma or other sort of allergies are invited to wear mouth and/or eye protection.

The globalization of this event not only brings people different countries together, but also brings them closer to the Hindu culture. This enables the intercultural bridge between nations to strengthen. Even the motto of the event “We Are One” suggests a message of union and equality, which are the fundamental basics for cultural diplomacy.

Source: YouTube

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
http://www.ccds-berlin.de
http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org

Colombia Comes Closer to Berlin.

An Evening of Colombian Art & Culture, Chaired by Santiago Gomez Rojas, Director of the Spanisches Film Fest Berlin

An Evening of Colombian Art & Culture, Chaired by Santiago Gomez Rojas, Director of the Spanisches Film Fest Berlin

On Thursday, May 16 th, 2013, the “Spanisches Filmfest Berlin”, in collaboration with the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy and The Colombia Carnival association, organized a Colombian event at the ICD House.

The event, chaired by Santiago Gomez Rojas, director of the Spanisches Film Fest Berlin, aimed to promote a deeper understanding of Spanish and Latin American culture through the mediums of dance, music, art and food. Participants included members of the Spanish and Latin American communities in Berlin, the ICD interns and students, as well as attendees interested in discovering more about Colombian culture.

For more information please visit  ICD House page. 

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
http://www.ccds-berlin.de
http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org

Interview with Ian Gillan and Marcia Barrett, The Power of the Arts & Culture to Promote Democracy & Global Peace

By Vladislav Strnad, The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.

Between 13th-16th December, 2012, the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin held an Annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy “The Power of the Arts & Culture to Promote Democracy & Global Peace”.

The conference brought together current and former heads of state and ministers, as well as celebrities and dignitaries including an interdisciplinary group of participants from all over the world to discuss Cultural Diplomacy in our interdependent world.

‘…obviously, it starts probably with also enjoying that kind of fun yourself, then it comes a point when you must feel really the responsibility that you are not only giving fun to the people, but you are influencing them, strongly and deeply, because that’s the strength of art. At first you do it for yourself, but actually you are influencing people…’

For more information please watch the Interview with ICD Advisory Board Member Ian Gillan, Singer & Song writer of Deep Purple and Marcia Barrett, ICD Advisory Board Member; Lead Singer of Boney M

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
http://www.ccds-berlin.de
http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org

The London Art as Cultural Diplomacy ConferenceAugust 21st, 2013

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