Migration Project

In September 2005 the "Project Migration" reaches a climax and a continuation with an extensive exhibition and publication presentation. The exhibition, which the Kölnischer Kunstverein will realize in three different locations in Cologne in the fall, visualizes scholarly and artistic methods for depicting migration movements and their social impact(Exhibition from 1 October 2005 - 15 January 2006).
These activities are intended to present the issues arising from over two years of ongoing research, networking and development work, in which the Documentation Center and Museum for Migration in Germany (SOMiT), the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology of the University of Frankfurt, the Institute of the Theory of Design and Art at the College of Design and Art in Zurich have taken part. The responsible carrier of the project is the Kölnischer Kunstverein. Teams of scholars with a total of 30 members, most of whom have a migrant background themselves, have worked continuously on this theme since the project was initiated by the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal Government, seeking to fill crucial gaps in the history and representation of migration in Germany.
Migration - a publicly discussed topic, the complexity of which is often too little realized, even though it comes up so often in multicultural and globalization debates. The year 2005 marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the German-Italian recruitment agreement and thus the beginning of new migration movements relating to work and unemployment between Germany and the various Mediterranean countries. Starting from the mass migration organized by the state between 1955 and 1973, which has previously hardly been noted in the historiography of post-war Germany, the project reflects on the theme of migration from various aspects and seeks to take up the positive challenges of our immigration society today. Here migration is not viewed as a double-sided dynamic between country of origin and country of immigration, but rather as a polyvocal and transnational process. In its forms of representation as well as in its content, the project thus takes new paths, setting new impulses for public discussion in the comparative approach, in comparing different migration policies and processes, and in the historical-critical analysis of migration.
Under which geopolitical conditions has migration taken place in the last 50 years? What consequences has migration had for the German past as well as for the future? Under which conditions have migrants entered into the industrial working world, how have they set up their everyday lives - between orientation to home and settling in? Were the migrants seduced by and hence victims of a new, economically influenced German hegemonic ambition, or were they instead actors in search of a better life? What has ultimately been the effect of their crossing of borders?
The explosiveness of these questions is not mitigated by the altered national situations of a new Europe. On the contrary: What impact will the new borders of Europe have in the future - and what impact will the movements of the people who cross these borders every day have? Which role does the question of citizenship play today in the formation of individual identity? And - not least of all - which responsibilities on the part of politics and society can be derived from the different explanations? It is evident here that a serious confrontation with migration has both a destabilizing and a productive character for socio-political reality. The insecurities that are triggered by the dynamics of migration thus have a central significance for cultural and artistic processes. Extensive lectures series at the Kölnischer Kunstverein, such as "Vorbei mit alles klar [ich finde den engl. Titel nicht mehr - ad]" (conceived by Christian Kravagna), "Architecture in Migration (Ilka & Andreas Ruby) and "Heterotopias" (Mark Terkessides) along with film programs, selected by Renée Green, Georg Seeßlen, Olaf Möller, Harun Farocki, Diedrich Diederichsen, Slavoj Žižek, Jutta Koether and Thomas Arslan, the theater project "X Wohnungen" (in cooperation with the Hebbel Theater, Berlin) and an academic symposium in Rethymnon on Crete, a location of new migration movements across the external border of the EU, have already inaugurated the activities of the "Project Migration" and reflectively accompanied the process. Throughout the summer until September a series of further events in Hamburg, Berlin, Istanbul and Cologne will lead up to the major presentation in the fall(see the enclosed program overview).
For the exhibition in the Kunstverein and two other locations an innovative format will be developed conjoining art, social history and science using artistic methods. From the beginning, the "Project Migration" has been one of the focal points in the program of the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal Government, which was established in 2002. In its transdisciplinary approach the "Project Migration" corresponds to the guidelines of the Foundation, to investigate the cultural dimension of social developments from various perspectives and to find forms of representation to do justice to the complexity of the theme.


Kölnischer Kunstverein
Projekt Migration

Hahnenstraße 6

50667 Köln