The project Moving Borders is a cooperative effort by seven European production houses, festivals and public bodies in the sphere of the performing arts and is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. During the project duration of two years, seven editions of one artistic concept, ARK by the british artist group Quarantine and director Richard Gregory, will be run in Athens, Dresden, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Porto, Strasbourg, Utrecht and Warsaw – in collaboration with local artists, creatives and citizens and adapted to the individual local demographic, historic, cultural and social realities.
The participative joint project aims at examining the term “borders” and its manifestations in our contemporary European societies, with a special attention to various borders that are unceasingly reappearing in social, cultural and economic contexts. At a time of a dangerous resurgence of nationalist and xenophobic tendencies in Europe and of increasing economic inequalities, we would like to address the phenomenon of borders that are present on our everyday paths: as a divisive element that prevents people from reaching out to each other and that fosters inequality, but also as a constitutive basis for successful diverse communities in which mutual respect and recognition only become possible by drawing lines.
Partners in the Moving Borders project are: HELLERAU - European Centre for the Arts (Germany, leading partner), MAILLON, théâtre de Strasbourg - scène européenne (France), Ringlokschuppen Ruhr (Germany), SPRING Performing Arts Festival (Netherlands), Teatro Municipal Do Porto (Portugal), Onassis STEGI (Greece) and Performing Arts Institute (Poland).
"An ark is a place to imagine, argue and plan for a new and better world. It can transport you there. It’s a refuge."
In each of the seven cities, we will invite local people to build the ark that they want to make. We’ll construct it together and once complete the ark will become the site of a programme of events and encounters between neighbours.
Located on the site of a metaphorical or physical border, ARK will be a public meeting point. It may materialise as a physical space, perhaps constructed with found materials and objects provided by local people, or it may take a conceptual form. Either way, it will create space for encounters, creative inspiration and discourse, and it will be a symbol for a world that welcomes and supports diversity.
Through ARK, we hope to bring people together who would not usually meet and find a methodology for dissent. As we face deepening political divisions across Europe, heated debate around migration and rights of belonging, and the accelerating climate crisis, ARK will configure the circumstances for a progressive democratic space. The kind that Chantal Mouffe describes as agonistic pluralism.
Quarantine was established in 1998 by directors Richard Gregory and Renny O’Shea with designer Simon Banham in Manchester (GB). Quarantine is working worldwide in the field of theatre, performance and public events. Over the last 20 years they created original pieces of work of varying scale: family parties, karaoke booths, cookery lessons, radio broadcasts, reading rooms and journeys in the dark for one person at a time – as well as performances on stage for audiences in seats. In 2017, Richard Gregory directed the big cityproject What Is the City but the People? from BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Centraal Museum and SPRING at the Jaarbeurs square in Utrecht in which more than 150 citizens of Utrecht shared their story on a 60 meter long catwalk.
Quarantine collaborates with a shifting constellation of artists and people who are rarely seen on stage – with philosophers, soldiers, children, florists and others. Their focus is to create the circumstances for a conversation between strangers and their work is made out of lengthy and intimate research.