Aug 11–14, 2005


Cultural transfer between India and Germany/Austria


German tourists view India as the perfect setting for spiritual trance music, following in the footsteps of parents and grandparents who, in the 1930s and 70s, went there searching for religious inspiration. Meanwhile, Indian tourists are visiting sights in the Alps used as ideal backdrops in Indian films. At the same time, in India, a German car brand's glittering star evokes just those 'German virtues' most likely viewed as historical atavism in Germany itself.

Although, as cultural projections, reciprocal perceptions of foreign cultures need not necessarily bear any relation to reality, they can still coin attitudes and shape policy strategies. The reciprocal images each country creates of another can fuel reactions to cultural conflicts, as was so apparently the case after 9/11. And these images also affect economic decisions - for example, how cars are marketed on the Indian subcontinent.

The "Import/Export" festival in the House of World Cultures in August 2005 is dedicated to examining the paths and patterns of cultural transfer between India, Austria and Germany. The project is realised in three venues - Berlin, Bombay/Mumbai (25-27.03.2005) and Vienna (20-22.05.2005) - with each venue hosting the common elements of a symposium, a film series, and an exhibition. Producing three documentary film essays forms an integral part of the project, together with a publication, due to be shown in August 2005 in the House of World Cultures.

"Import/Export" provides both a practical and conceptual platform, with the three symposia allowing an exchange of ideas between scholars, artists and curators, and the interested general public. The key themes revolve around three topics, "moving people - moving concepts - moving goods", examining the social, intellectual and economic elements in trans-cultural relations between these three countries - an approach turning the project itself into a living example of just such cultural transfers.

"Import/Export" is jointly organised by the House of World Cultures, the Werkleitz Gesellschaft e.V., Halle, majlis, a legal and cultural resource centre in Bombay/Mumbai, and the art and theory network DeEgo, Vienna. The symposia, film productions and book publication are supported by funds from the European Union - India Economic Cross Cultural Programme and the Hauptstadtkulturfonds, with artistic direction by Merle Kröger and Dorothee Wenner.

The scholars, artists and curators involved in this project include Flavia Agnes (Bombay/Mumbai), Nancy Adajania (Delhi), Sun-ju Choi (Cologne), Helmut Dietrich (Berlin), Julia Eckert (Berlin), Madhusree Dutta (Bombay/Mumbai), Angelika Fitz (Vienna), Ranjit Hoskote (Delhi), Anke Illing (Berlin), Merle Kröger (Berlin), Shantanu Lodh (New Delhi), Mamta Murthy (Bombay/Mumbai), Navina Sundaram (Hamburg), Alexandra Schneider (Berlin), Dorothee Wenner (Berlin), and Michael Wörgötter (Vienna).