The South Project: the traditional and modern worlds meet
do Argentina, South Africa, Madagascar, East Timor, New Zealand
and Samoa have in common? Which way is the 'South' going? The
South Project, a four-year art project, wants to answer these questions
by 'bringing together and celebrating the creative energies of the
Southern hemisphere'. A forum early in July 2004 will sound the
start of the project in Melbourne, Australia.
The South Project, financed by the Australian Council for the
Arts and the Melbourne city council, is divided into three parts.
South 1, 'the Gathering', is the forum that will be held in Melbourne
from 1 to 4 July 2004 and that will gather together some 260 artists.
'The South Project will start as a meeting between the traditional
and modern worlds', says director Kevin Murray. 'The official culture
of Melbourne is Aboriginal. Wurrundjeri elders will officially open
and close South 1; many of the participants are indigenous Australians.
The project strives to create a space that traditional and modern
cultures can cohabitate. This means that questions must be asked,
such as: what place do the whites hold in 'black' countries like
Australia and South African, and should we be worried about whether
traditional peoples are being 'ruined' by the consumption culture?'
After the forum, South 2 will start: 'the Journey', with workshops
and residencies all over the world, not only on the Southern hemisphere.
Kevin Murray: ‘We are not making a literal distinction between
the northern countries above the equator and the southern countries
below it. In a political sense, India is also part of the South.
Moreover, you can only refer to the South if you also review the
North; in a sense, the South is moving over the world as a kind
of shadow. Sicily could also be called a southern country, and countries
like Great Britain also house population groups from the south,
including south-Asians. The link between these countries is often
the presence of traditional cultures that have an uncertain relationship
with the modern world.'
The South Project will finish with a festival 'of events and ideas'
in 2008; South 3: 'the Arrival'. Then the question of what the 'South'
actually is must be answered.
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