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04 Oct 2016

Transnational Dialogues Journal 2016

'Cantando na chuva (Singin' in the Rain)' by Berna Reale (2014). Courtesy of the artist

Transnational Dialogues
European Alternatives


The TD Journal 2016 is now out Transnational Dialogues is a project by European Alternatives

Ms Stella Tang

Transnational Dialogues

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Extract from the Journal's introduction 'Fragments of a Journey' by Luigi Galimberti

Transnational Dialogues started in 2011, embarking on a fascinating journey from Europe to China, then to Brazil, and eventually back to Europe. The first moves of the journey were with the relaxed but unpredictable pace of a flâneur. Translating flâneur into Chinese required a collective and disproportionate amount of effort, with unexpected findings; the Chinese translation of the word suggests the gentleman stroller of city streets is a 'thug' when exercising his investigative power in the hutongs of Beijing.

A curious, and each time larger audience gathered for those first ephemeral discussions. Competences and perspectives were mixed and matched. The leisurely stroll became the relentless procession of a series of Caravans, which for more than two years followed both old and new routes, attempting crossings that had been largely unexplored. The step from China to Brazil was ambitious, but unavoidable. It was pushed by the desire to go beyond the limits of the nation-states that dictate the rules of politics and economics, to gain a more comprehensive vision of this globalised world, and to create and strengthen independent networks of individuals and organisations in these areas.

The Caravans involved about a hundred young researchers, practitioners and political activists from the fields of architecture, urbanism, design, visual arts, philosophy, poetry, as well as other fields of work and life. They exchanged and co-created against a backdrop of what was rightly perceived as the first cracks of three fragile utopias: that of Brazil, China and Europe. The Brazilian economic miracle of sunny beaches and irresistible sambas quickly came into question with the protests of June 2013, which dared to ask whose utopia the politicians and the media were talking about when a significant proportion of the country's people could not afford a twenty-cents raise of the bus fare. The Chinese Dream of a harmonious society, based on economic liberalism and political authoritarianism, was also taking its toll on the lives of those who were cut out from the benefits of the country's growth, suffering physically and psychologically for the lack of their civil and political rights, as the citizens of Hong Kong – soon to become the stage of the Umbrella Movement – had experienced.

Finally, in the European Union, short-sightedness and inadequate bureaucrats and politicians failed to address the widespread discontent and social suffering that had been accumulating for years, leading to what will probably be considered the most severe political crisis since the end of the Second World War: Britain refreshed its imperial nostalgia, Crimea once more became a war stage, and far right politicians continue to carve their positions of power by promoting religious and racial hatred. Returning from our journey, the Europe we expected to come back to, was changed irretrievably. In fact, we could no longer find that Europe. We were left in between spaces, reduced to fragments dispersed along the global flux of ideas, ideas that we had opened up, but were quickly overwhelmed by.

As a last recourse, we shifted our discourse from utopic political visions, to the reality of the margins, from the solitary investigation of the flâneur, to the collective re-organisation of labour. While in advanced economies today's younger generation risks ending up poorer than their parents, in less-developed economies new forms of (extreme) poverty and exclusion are on the rise. Despite being largely invisible, deprived of financial means and, in several instances, denied their legal rights, individuals and organisations throughout Brazil, China, Europe (as indeed all over the world), are battling for a fairer redistribution of resources and for the creation of a social environment based on cooperation and sharing, rather than on aggressiveness and extortion.

This Journal mirrors the two principal thematic approaches of the project. The first section, 'Between Crowds and Empires', examines the polarities of collaborative and sharing economies, taking into account the different cultural perspectives from Europe, China and Brazil. The second section, 'Marginalia', deals with the inequalities and racialisation of geopolitics, as well as with the practices of those groups and individuals that are seeking niches beyond traditional social structures.

Texts by Robin Resch, Pedro Victor Brandão, Felipe Duarte, Sun Siwei, Erik Rodrigues, Chen Yiming, Margherita D'Andrea and Corrado Gemini, Indy Johar, Julijana Nicha, Iva Čukić, Noel Hatch, Man Yu, Ge Fei and Ge Lei, Jota Mombaça and Luigi Galimberti.

Visual contributions by Berna Reale, Dai Hua and Tobias Zielony.

Edited by Luigi Galimberti.

The Journal is freely available for consultation and download at Hard copies of the Journal are available for pick-up in Belém (Casulo Cultural), Beijing (Goethe-Institut China, I: project space), Berlin (European Alternatives), Belgrade (Remont Gallery), Chongqing (Organhaus), Manchester (CFCCA), Rio de Janeiro (Universidade Nomade), Rome (Alternative Europee), São Paulo (Goethe-Institut, Casa Tomada, Casa do Povo) and Venice (SaLE Docks).


TRANSNATIONAL DIALOGUES is a project run by the non-profit NGO European Alternatives and a consortium of grassroots NGOs, mid-level institutions, informal groups, and public authorities active in the youth, cultural and creative fields, which researched and developed innovative models to challenge the precariousness and marginalisation of younger generations. It developed around the model of a temporary transnational community called a 'Nomadic Residency', which took place in several locations across Europe (September-October 2015), Brazil (March 2016) and China (June 2016).

With the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and the Goethe-Institut.