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Cultural Exchange via Internet - Opportunities and Strategies
Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, 12 October - 4 December, 1998

[as of December 1st 1998 the forum has been prolonged - ... open-ended]

Subject:Cultural Exchange via Internet
Date:Fri, 27 Nov 1998 16:07
Author:Birgit Haehnel  []

I really have to confirm all the statements saying that time is a problem when one uses the internet. Not only that takes a lot of time to find, read and answer informations, often I don't know where to start and where to end while time is passing by with only a few interesting results. So I think it is a very good idea to concentrate the dialogue in a project like this, where one can exchange ideas and links.

The interdisciplinary research project "The Subject and the Other" ( - until now only german version available) at the University of Trier (Germany) examines how gender and societies are represented in art and literature and how these pictures and metaphers constitute power and control. The main question we have in mind is how the european (or western) "Subject" constitutes itself by differing from the "Other". This means to analyse cultural discourses in view of their racist and sexist connotations. To deconstruct ethnocentrism and to understand how cultural and sexual identities are produced is a starting-point for changes.

As an art historian I am interested in contemporary art. While I am looking for artists / women-artists which are involved in the debate of postcolonialism I find statements all over the world but I am missing statements from Germany. Maybe the art-scene isn't interested in this or it is because I don't get the right link until now.

I am specially looking for contemporary art concerning the subjects of 'identity', 'hybridity', and 'migration'. What does it mean and who is meant in our "global world" when art-critics characterise artists as 'nomadic'? Do these artists identify themselves with this concept?

One great utopia of internet-users is that one can change the identity like clothes. I ask myself if this - José Tlatelpas uses the term "Cybernetic Age Imperialism" - leads us to a 'new' universalism and propagates the idea of one family of man, when any differences between cultures, sexes and other groups become artificial and pure fictions via internet so they do not matter any more? It's like to dream away the real problems, but outside the net they still exist. I think, in relation to other cultures we don't have to look only for similarities to talk with each other. There are dissimilarities too, which never will come together and continue to be strange and not understandable. So we have to learn to stand these irreconcilable conflicts within human relations in a peaceful way.

Birgit Haehnel

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Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, on the use of Internet in the cultural exchange with and between Africa, Asia/Pacific and Latin America.

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