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Trespassing Europe: Towards the New International

Vasyl Cherepanyn is the head of the Visual Culture Research Centre in Kyiv, Ukraine. Cherepanyn based his keynote address on propositions which support his theory that Ukraine is a new centre of Europe with radical thinking based on recent history and experience that the EU needs to learn from. His initial proposition suggested that there is a new global status quo which is one of war. There is a specific need to move from this nightmare state and move to one more associated with day dreaming - from the now to future aims.


He furthered his proposition by declaring that now is a time of the transnational which is constructed on the breaking of borders. He countered that this time of mass migration is met with a closing of the European mind and the rise of technocratic rule. His proposal put forward that political discourse is needed as the rise of the neocolonial mind appears to have taken control. There is an urgent need to look at the political potential of what is outside of the borders and to engage with change through the eyes of the outside.


His continued return to the image of war sought to underline his key ideas that the EU and world politics are populated by bureaucrats, politicians, fake news, and academics, who are all united to defend the status quo in which they have a vested interest as they subscribe to an Orwellian ideal. He continued to describe how these influences, combined with the “border wars” currently in place around the EU, will lead to a collapse of the centre. His suggestion was forced further by his statement that if ISIS (ISIL) didn’t exist then it would have had to be invented. Anti-ISIS has created a unity which forms a type of contemporary Noah’s Ark with the many levels of alliance created.


His further demonstration of the need for the EU to adopt a different approach suggested that although the Berlin Wall has fallen and Schengen is under threat, the EU is a territory of new walls and borders.  How this is perceived is dependent on the viewer.  From the inside the EU is soft; from the outside it is hard.  Only second class citizens stand in lines outside Embassies. It is the refugees crossing the EU or into the EU that are bringing fresh air to a potentially new Europe.


Memory is the other side of this coin.  An obsession with past memories leads to war. This stems from a form of nostalgia for what never was.  Cherepanyn proffered that we must now think of a political alternative.We must suspend stereotypes and clichés and look to a new Universalism where we look to a future free from fear. This can be seen as the building block of the future and should be achieved by an invasion of education institutions forcing them to participate in looking into the future.  He went on to state that we should recognise that the future of Internationalism is Modernism.  He considered Modernism to be Utopian and Aesthetical countering that Post-Modernism should be considered cynical and the Pre-Modern as filled with optimism.


He brought the keynote to a conclusion by suggesting that we look to the future of a federalised Europe, paraphrasing Trotsky’s United States of Europe as Federal States of Europe. His final proposition is that Europe requires new institutions to plan and deliver this proposed new future.

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