Gottfried Wagner, former Director of the European Cultural Foundation, has written a new publication looking at Europe as a cultural project and the development of EU policies for culture.
The Art of Difference is, in many senses, both a personal and a political book. It seeks to show how an individual can get very close to European matters emotionally, not least in terms of feeling some responsibility for the common good (which transcends national boundaries).
The book is also partly a record of the author’s personal journey within a world of people, projects and artistic practice, arriving at a deep concern for cultural policies that could underpin a truly transnational Europe. The book is based on affection for this extraordinary and (so far) successful ‘project Europe’: a political project for which contemporary and future narratives need to be developed, especially given the deep crisis of capitalism. As the author says: ‘In that search, there is a role for culture, not for culturalisation of difference, though; and there is a place to be occupied by public cultural policies – European and global.’
Though firmly believing in ‘word‑culture’ and discourse, the author underlines the power of imaginaires to link critical intelligence with some kind of shared democratic utopia. The author’s own photographs included here form part of his political documentary.
Published by the European Cultural Foundation, Frit Ord and Alliance Publishing Trust
ISBN 978 1 907376 12 2