Saudade de Europa is a poetic research about the economic transformation of the continent over the last 50 years. The project done by Various Artists travels currently from Brussels toward Helsinki collecting various items and stories about trade and commerce. In October the project will travel to Jyväskylä to a Pixelache satellite event done in collaboration with Live Herring, and in November to Rovaniemi to the last Pixelache Festival event of the year, done in collaboration with Magneetti and Polarized festival.
Please follow their journey on their wonderful Instagram account!
Where globalisation rendered it into an indifferent consumer driven society. During a road trip to Helsinki via Cologne, Görlitz, Warsaw, Riga and Tallinn, Various Artists will be acquiring, collecting and transforming objects and their stories that relate to Europe’s challenged economic transformation. These objects or artefacts are all part of a wide range of utilities - from hardware, kitchen tools, to aesthetic decorative objects, to garments , etc. The one element that all the artefacts have in common issaudade, the untranslatable word from Portuguese that refers to melancholia, nostalgia, a feeling of loss or missing.
The acquired artefacts and moreover the shops where they are to be found, take us back to ‘the good old times’, when there were no shopping malls or online shops. When storeowners had the time to connect to a client, and the items they sold were made by local people to be owned by responsive customers.
In ‘Saudade de Europa’ these 'good old times' also represent a possible future scenario, an alternative to our current neoliberal system, and an active support for an economic diversity where creative people get the support to start new small business that are able to survive through innovation.
The artefacts will be “processed" on the road in improvised studios like hotel rooms, pubs, ateliers, etc. Various Artists’ fictional members use various techniques to transform them into storytelling art-pieces. Apart from the acquisition and transformation of the artefacts, the life stories of the shop owners are of great importance.
Why, when, how, where did they start their business? And how do they cope with the current times? Various Artists records their stories, their trajectories, and local embedding, and communicate their view on a changing world and its socioeconomic development.
To disseminate all the encounters and stories Various Artists uses contemporary online interfaces/sale sites like eBay, ArtFinder, and Saatchi Art as a form of publishing to reach a specific public of online consumers. This ‘ONLINE Selling’ will be the advertising strategy to distribute the collected stories and to raise awareness of the threat to the economic and cultural well-being of local shop owners due to the shift towards online commerce, and the rise of large retailers.