ARK Dresden – Ark for underrated knowledge, #1 – 2021

A project by Quarantine (GB), Katja Heiser (DE) and Mustafa Hasan (SY/DE) In the framework of the cooperation Moving Borders of seven European partners 

For the European project “Moving Borders” seven European production houses, festivals and public institutions in Porto, Athens, Strasbourg, Dresden, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Warsaw and Utrecht are working together over two years. Moving Borders is a model project of international cooperation: the content and concept of the project was developed by the partners, while the British performance group Quarantine was invited to develop a concept for all the cities, which will be implemented locally and in exchange with each other. In the seven partner cities, seven different editions of a community art project will be created – adapted to the very different cultural, demographic and historical circumstances on site and together with local artists, civil society actors and citizens. The project explores the theme of “borders” and their social, political, cultural, economic and ecological manifestations in our contemporary European societies. At a time when nationalist, xenophobic and other discriminatory currents are again experiencing a dangerous upswing in Europe and economic inequality is growing, “Moving Borders” examines the phenomenon of borders that we encounter in everyday life: as social and cultural divisions, but also as moving borders of a progressive society that is constantly reforming itself.

An Ark for Every City

The British performance group Quarantine, founded in 1998, created the artistic concept ARK. Local artists invite citizens and social communities to create an ark in public space in a joint creative process lasting several months. This can take on very different creative or conceptual forms. In any case, during and after its completion, the ark will be a place for encounters, participation, discourse and performance, and thus a symbol for a world that endures, promotes and welcomes diversity. For local elaboration, each partner city is addressing questions such as: Where are borders in our city? What are the nature of these boundaries – geographic, architectural, social, cultural, etc.? Which communities do we want to involve and bring together? In what place can the Ark be located? Which themes play a role on the Ark? The partners in the various European cities have developed very different project ideas: In Porto, a temporary school is being built; in Athens, a circus for nomadic life is being developed in a working-class neighborhood with clubs and a queer scene; in Utrecht, a mobile ark is moving through all parts of the city, and much more.

ARK Dresden: Ark for underrated knowledge

The Ark in Dresden will be located on the banks of the Elbe, a place shared and used by all Dresden:ers. We want to involve different Dresden communities, e.g. talk to people who still grew up, learned, worked and started families in the GDR and whose knowledge and experience was to a large extent no longer in demand after the Wende. This experience is also shared by people who have only arrived in Dresden in recent years, who had to leave their homeland due to war, terror, poverty or other existential threats, and who left behind not only many people and things, but also knowledge and experience that often do not count here. We want to collect this knowledge and these experiences and make them visible so that they do not get lost. And perhaps a new and common vision for the future can emerge precisely from this? What do we want to bring to safety, to take with us from the old life and to keep? What is to be newly created on the ark? The ark for underestimated knowledge will be filled with the help of interested citizens and will be presented at the festival “Stadt.Raum.Fluss. Contemporary Perspectives on the City” festival from June 4-6, 2021. On the banks of the Elbe between Johannstadt and Neustadt, around the Johanna” ferry dock, a public place for encounters and exchange of experiences, for workshops and conversations will be created. Performative interventions will take place on the ferryboat Johanna for an interested audience and random passengers. For this we are looking for people who want to share their experiences and knowledge with us, who want to fill the ark with knowledge or who are interested in helping to build the ark. Feel free to contact us at:

The inventors of the ARK project: Quarantine about Quarantine.

Our process is dialogue-based. We talk to people and discover who they are and what their story is, what their beliefs are, how they see the world … We try to work where there is room for different experiences, abilities, intelligences and expressions to coexist. We believe that in order to make real social progress, we need to find new ways to reframe our ideas of democracy, of who gets to speak and make decisions, and of how to bring together people with opposing experiences and beliefs. From the beginning, Quarantine’s work has sought to bring together people who don’t normally meet, to acknowledge differences and connections, to engage with them, and to imagine how we might live together, how we might move forward. The artists:group Quarantine was founded in 1998 by directors Richard Gregory and Renny O’Shea and designer Simon Banham in Manchester, UK. They work worldwide in theater, performance and public intervention.

Richard Gregory, artistic director of Quarantine*

For us, the Ark is the image of a space where we can gather to discuss the question of what to save. But it is also, of course, a concept that provokes. Who decides what boundaries should be drawn? Who decides who is let through, who can stay? Who decides who or what we should save? Who is this “we?” I like being in situations where different kinds of intelligence are brought to bear and are equal. I am very uncomfortable when a particular language that expresses so-called knowledge dominates – a very Western power play where access to a particular vocabulary, buys power. It is a massive problem that supposedly politically progressive art usually only appeals to people who look and sound like the people who created it. For us and other British artists, it is absolutely essential to create and maintain relationships with Europe. I don’t want to be trapped on an island with rigid borders, living in an imaginary version of its own past. I want to welcome people and continue to be able to be part of a big conversation that allows me to work as an artist across Europe and around the world. I want to help find ways for a generation younger than me to also enjoy this experience, this privilege. * Excerpts from an interview with Paula Oevermann, Project Coordination Moving Borders in HELLERAU

04.– 07.06.2021 
ARK Dresden Ark for Underestimated Knowledge 
In the framework of the cooperation Moving Borders of seven European partners A project by Quarantine (GB), Katja Heiser (DE) and Mustafa Hasan (SY/DE) 

In cooperation with Konglomerat Dresden, Kulturtreff Johannstadt, missingdots Dresden and Montagscafé am Staatsschauspiel Dresden. Project management: Paula Oevermann Moving Borders project partners are Maillon, Théâtre de Strasbourg – Scène européenne (FR), Ringlokschuppen Ruhr (DE), SPRING Performing Arts Festival (NL), Teatro Municipal Do Porto (P), Onassis STEGI (GR) and Fundacja Instytut Sztuk Performatywnych (PL). Moving Borders is co-financed by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
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