The 8th City of Women International Contemporary Arts Festival focuses on contemporary arts production in Europe. After last year’s edition, with its stress on non-Western artists, we decided this time to put together a programme that is strongly linked to the festival’s location: Europe.
Since the formation of the New, post-1989, Europe, the ‘old continent’, its transformation, its ‘transition’, its ‘identity crisis’, its shifting borders, etc., became artistically challenging subjects for many artists. In this respect, it is certainly no surprise that the very first feature film directed by a woman in Slovenia - Guardian of the Frontier, by Maja Weiss - deals explicitly with many of these burning issues.
In this context, it can hardly be surprising, too, that in the last decade we’ve witnessed the emergence of many cultural events that have placed the ‘Occident’ under the magnifying glass. For example, we could mention the Unpacking Europe exhibition at the Boymans-van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam or much of the work presented at the recent Manifesta and Dokumenta exhibitions. City of Women 2002 was conceived in that same spirit.
But, as a festival that celebrates women’s artistic expression, we have added the gender dimension to the debate. City of Women celebrates diversity. The festival is a platform for a variety of opinions and perspectives. We do not wish to speak for the artists. The more than forty artists and theoreticians from over twenty countries who will form this year’s two-week City of Women Festival offer a wealth of points of view, ideas, suggestions, comments, humour, excitement, thrills… and even food.
Now all that remains is to give the floor to our distinguished guests.
Oh, and yes, you might remember that the mythological figure Europa was a woman, originally from Asia Minor, who was lured to Europe…
(Bettina Knaup, Sabina Potocki, Koen Van Daele)