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A conversation between Ben Frost and Vasilis Tsartsanis at Elevate Festival 2018
We shot the first chapter of the “New Activists of European Culture” series in Graz, Austria, during Elevate Festival in 2018. Thanks to the partnership between Canal180 and We Are Europe we focused on conversations between activists. We didn't know exactly what to expect from it. Having the idea of more than just an interview we put two people in front of each other. People who are shaping the European culture debating the role of it in our current political climate.
Each episode is like an open stage where invited artists and activists can express their ideas, thoughts and comments on role of culture and art in today's Europe. Our first journey into the intersection of art and activism pushed our guests to share their life experiences in a snowy environment.
A conversation between Vasilis Tsarstanis and Ben Frost
We were lucky enough to start off with Vasilis Tsartsanis, an activist, and Ben Frost, an artist. Tsartsanis is a greek hairdresser and occasional filmmaker, who was spurred into action in the wake of the refugee flood in his hometown – he says that helping the dislocated Syrian people was him being true to his values and humanity. Ben Frost is a musician, but with such a broad range of action that he transcends the label – Australian born Frost has lived mainly in Reykjavik for the past decade, but his interests have drawn him to places like the Democratic Republic of Congo or an American aircraft carrier engaged in the fight against ISIS. This kind of field work is no publicity stunt, rather an integral part of the work, as Frost once put it, “the result of absorption via osmosis.”
I didn’t want to film them, I didn’t want to make photos of them, I didn’t want to expose them, but as I was seeing epic scenes in front of me, I didn’t have any other chance, I had to do it. (...) Because no one was there.
- Vasilis Tsartsanis
is a hairdresser and part-time filmmaker from Thessaloniki, is a Greek activist who helped thousands of refugees. He voluntarily organized humanitarian aid to the refugees whose stories he knows better than everyone and was soon invited to address the European Parliament informing also the international media upon the subject. He was not supported by any large organization, only by his fellow citizens.
collaborated with Richard Mosse on an installation about the refugee crisis. He provided the score for the multi-channel sound and video installation, titled Incoming, which subverts surveillance technology to comment on the unfolding refugee crisis in Europe.
Ben Frost has already worked with Richard Mosse in the past, in a project called Enclave.
Seeing what I have seen in the crisis has definitely made me realize on a very personal level that this is not something that anybody chooses to do. You don’t do this if you have another choice. You don’t put a kid in one of this boats if you have any other choice.
- Ben Frost
“New Activists of European Culture” is a series by Canal180 that focuses on conversations between activists from Europe. Born from partnership with We are Europe, which promotes, creates and produces 8 major European events. Their goal is to develop a prospective vision of electronic culture, technology and entrepreneurship, while contributing to new social and political developments through an interdisciplinary approach.
IS THE POLITICAL SOCIETY ABLE TO CHANGE THE POLITICS?
Resistance, the second episode of New Activists of European Culture, takes place in Lyon, France during Nuits Sonores. A conversation between Máret Ánne Sara and Angnieszka Wisniewska.
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HOW IMPORTANT IS ART IN TIMES OF CONFLICT?
The third episode of New Activists of European Culture, Invisible Borders, focuses on a conversation between Mohamed Jabaly and Alistair Alexander. Recorded in Barcelona, Spain during Sónar.
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CAN DANCING LEAD TO CHANGE?
The fourth episode of New Activists of European Culture, Politics of Dancing, takes place in Cologne, Germany during co/pop. A conversation about clubbing and activism between Matthew Collin and Katarina Serulus.
HOW CAN COMMON CITIZENS TAKE BACK PUBLIC SPACE?
Beyond the Walls, the fifth episode of New Activists of European Culture, takes place in Thessaloniki, Greece during Reworks. A conversation about cultural activism between John Patelias and Nikos Kalligas.
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE NIGHT CULTURE FOR THE CITIES?
The sixth episode of New Activists of European Culture, Notes from the Underground, takes place in The Hague, Netherlands during TodaysArt Festival. A conversation about night life and its possibilities between Ella Overkleeft and Sama Abdulhadi.
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WHAT MAKES A CULTURE?
The seventh episode of New Activists of European Culture, Northern Light, takes place in Tromsø, Norway during Insomnia Festival. A conversation about modern nomadism and identity between Aslak Holmberg and Srećko Horvat.