photographer Wolfgang Tillmans on European culture

Renowned photographer Wolfgang Tillmans on European culture and Brexit

Article in The Guardian

…”You are a German who lives between Berlin and London, and attended college in the UK. Do you consider yourself a citizen of Europe?
Yes. I honestly do. My identity is European. City-wise, I’m a Londoner. Nationally, I’m German. But, really, I see myself as a product of European reconciliation and cultural exchange…”

6862  Wolfgang Tillmans. Photograph: Michael Danner/Observer


I feel like that too!! My grandmother was an Italian refugee from Istria (nowadays Croatia) born in Switzerland who then lived in Italy, Germany, then back in Italy. My cousins are Venezuelans. My sister has lived in Spain for 20 years. I have lived in the UK for 20 years. My bother travels all over the place for work. City-wise I am a Londoner. Nationally my passport says Italian. I feel European.

new borders

today I was reading this article on an Italian newspaper in which it defines portaerei Cavour, an Italian military vessel, as the “last border of Europe”. this boat rescue migrants in the mediterranean sea

read the article here in Italian only, sorry!

aside from the debate on migration, this interests me as I am collaborating with the European University Institute, whose research in anthropology focuses on the borders of Europe. In particular my work is part of the “EU Border Care” an anthropological project that studies migration in relation to maternity. The project is funded by an ERC Starting Grant.

link here

At the end of June 2016 as part of this project I will exhibit some of my work at the Closet Gallery in Villa Fiesole

“The decline and fall of Europe”.

after all the walking of the last 2 days, i am at ArtBox resting, reading and researching today.

I am reading a copy of the “Time” magazine ( from 2 years ago, I found it in my parents’ house just before coming here in Serbia and I took  it with me as it has the interesting title “The decline and fall of Europe (and maybe the west)”.

It is an old magazine  (my parents tend to heard stuff) and wha makes it even more interesting is comparing what was published 2 years ago to the situation today.  It is dated August 22, 2011 and it has on the front page an image of the London’s riots.

Here some extracts:

“The European Union and the euro zone were supposed to bring about economic stability and remove traditional barriers to growth…it’s become a selfish union in which flailing economies feed raising nationalism…”

and also:

“Why should prudent Germans…have to rescue a bunch of spendthrift, book cooking Greeks and Italians?…”

Doom & Gloom.

It is a long article on the financial situation, markets, nationalism, instability and anger., and the potential collapse of the EU.

2 years on, however, the EU is still standing.

In England, where i live, sometimes I read about this or that politician threatening to get the UK out of Europe, which makes me wonder what would i do, would i stay? or go back to italy? I would not want to live in a country where i need to ask “permission” to be in.

In the meanwhile, Croatia has joined in, the Uk is still in, Greece has  thankfully not been booted out, while in Turkey, an aspiring member, there are violent riots.

I am not an economist, but I read with interest as it always surprises me how the belonging or not belonging to “Europe” in its political configuration seems to be determined by the economy and politics rather than a common cultural ground.