E-Glo 2 Earth Charter Interview With Delphine Mei

Delphine Mei and I have been working on several projects since 2005. In this youtube video: you will find ones that we have both been involved in and ones that we have done separately, however, we have always been influencing each other. I chose Delphine Mei, community artist/facilitator, migrant, social net-worker, to interview as she is an unlikely candidate to interview in this Viennese community.

Austria has generally not made it very easy for foreigners work and reside here, even though at the turn of the century, Vienna was one of the most culturally vibrant and diverse places in Central Europe with artists, scientists, politicians coming from eastern countries, freely being able to cross borders. You would think that times are changing, especially with last year being the 20th anniversary of the end of the Cold War and the cutting of the Iron curtain (June 1989 on the border between Austria and Hungary) and we are presented with the artistic creative diversity of today's Central Europe (cf Young Jewish life in Vienna, new influx of artists from the Balkans, Vienna life of migrants from former communist countries) in its parallel to Vienna 1900. Culturally today's Central Europe echos the creative ambivalences around 1900. However, what we find is that still, it is very difficult to enter and reside in Vienna, even artists are contributing to the society in positive and valuable ways. In each of her roles, she has been able to initiate something a project that promotes action and generates others to be more responsible for their actions living life more holistically.

What do you think to the current trend towards climate change?

There are many valuable insights and actions taking place, however, there is also somewhat of a conspiracy theory, to turn people away from the economic crisis. Almost like a marketing trick to wash over the underlying problems that are actually to do with the inequality of economics. There are of course sincere people, but there is also a big show for some politicians to get more money and more support from the masses. One of the best ways to get more people by your side is to mobilise the masses and feed into their fear.

What is your vision, your future Utopia if you like?
To have a renaissance society. Every individual has different roles that they play. They are not fixed and static in one role. It`s much healthier and it`s more holistic. For example a daytime farmer and a night time woodcutter. For this to happen people have to be more open. There is not one way or one road or one solution. In the Renaissance period, exploration started to happen, the mind opened on the inside first and then on the outside to exploration. During the medieval period, previous to the Renaissance period, missionaries paved the road for what came later, that were the early explorers. It may not have happened without these missionaries, so they managed to pave the way for them in a peaceful way. Otherwise there would have been war. The missionaries wrote a lot of books and were good archivists. From an anthropological perspective they were very useful. Unfortunately because of the cultural revolution in China, many of these books from the missionaries had been burnt. It`s a shame because perhaps if some of that information could have been preserved then, there would be less cultural amnesia. Well, if you are on a mission then you have to archive.

So yes, this renaissance period was and I would hope it can be still inspiring in spirit because it celebrates human connectivity. In this renaissance, that literally means that we are re-born, we have to find old methods such as trade and recycling. So we have to innovate with contemporary methods to bring it forward to the present and and future. It is important to come together in collectivity and to bring forward historical details through storytelling, by recycling old stories and to step away from this cultural amnesia in the present.

Delphine Mei and Jessica White Dec `09


Minuit said…
She is not (really) answering your questions though...