On March 18, 2016Dr. Ulrike Guérot, professor for European Policy and the Study of Democracy at Donau-University Krems and director of the European democracy lab published her book “Warum Europa eine Republik werden muss! eine politische Utopie” (english version is planned) and can be translated with “Why Europe has to become a republic, a political utopia”. Guérot is emphasizing on the European Republic and distancing herself from the idea of the United Nations of Europe. In her opinion, the concept of nations does not work out, neither economically nor politically or socially. There is a need of getting back to the organically grown regions; the Scottish, the Catalans, the Bavarians or the Tyroleans. It is a question of identity with ones surrounding more than with arbitrarily drawn boarders.
The book cover is an art work by Valeska Peschke; “Vulkan: Umstülpen/Inside Out”. It symbolizes the outbreak, starting from the inside and breaking through to the very outside, radically changing the whole structure. The eruption of a volcano is an analogy to today’s situation of Europe. People want a fundamental change, they want to break through, not leaving one stone unturned. By multiple projects over the years, Peschke formed the Idea of the volcano to artistically show and demonstrate what has been going on in society and has never been expressed properly. Sometimes emotions and moods cannot be articulated accurately. Artistic performances, e.g. of a volcano however, can show these tensions and emotions going on in society much better.
To make a change means to move things around, to move oneself and to take action. Art can express action and movement in a different way or even better than words can do. While words are very rational and top-heavy, art has the ability to make room for emotions and feelings. The heavy stones and the thick lava of the volcano are pressing down the lighter parts, however, the volcano’s diversity of minerals and biodiversity enables fertility, the possibility to create new life. Just like the lighter parts of the volcano that are pressed down and not being able to breathe, also the European inhabitants feel crushed, not getting any air to breathe and live anymore. Yet, Europe has the possibility to transform itself and to create new life as a whole, with combined forces of individual regions and not different nations fighting against each other. That’s the idea Ulrike Guérot wants to tell with her book and Valeska Peschke intends to artistically demonstrate.