Wiesbaden Biennale
Greece, Germany

Margarita Tsomou – The Parliament: The Agora


Photo: Raumlaborberlin
The “Agora” is a participatory outdoor parliament. Loosely based on the ancient Greek model, Greek activist and writer Margarita Tsomou has developed a market place of critical dialogue that questions the mechanisms of representation in our everyday political life. With international guests and local activists, she will create a forum for the non-represented in our society and brings discussions that would otherwise take place behind closed doors or in the vastness of the internet back into public space. On the 27th August there will be an international conference day that will create a space for political groups to meet that rarely have a chance to do so. The speaker’s corner will also make the “Agora” a platform for the citizens of Wiesbaden to passionately express conflicts, test out debating culture and argue productively.


Friday 26/08 15:00
Towards a Constituent Assembly

Every revolution leads to the new social order being rethought by aconstituent assembly. Constitutions are the products of historical moments in which law-making powers are given back to the many. Inspired by this primal democratic practice, we will gather in the Agora to lay the foundations for setting up a new order. What principles and values do we want to define for the future? According to what basic principles do we want to organise the way we live together? In2018, seventy years after the Hessian Constitution was drawn up, we will be called to vote on whether to renew it. What would we like to change? Taking the most recent debates on this topic as their starting point, Haus Bartleby, a non-profit lobby group made up of academics, writers anddramaturges, and the democratic activists Diem 25 will launch apublic dialogue about basic economic rights, democratic practices and the question of a European Constitution.

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Saturday 27/08 11:00
THAT IS NOT DEMOCRACY - A Conference on Democracy in Late Capitalism.

“The marriage between democracy and capitalism is over” – such were the words of philosopher Slavoj Zizek in 2011, at the Occupy Wall Street assembly. In the face of deepening economic and financial crises, ever more commentators are talking about the limitation ofthe power of representative parliaments to the benefit of a“para-democratic special power” (Joseph Vogl), a network of intergovernmental, supranational market institutions. At the same time, citizens increasingly feel that they are not being represented,and are therefore turning away from centrist parties and voting against the democratic establishment or demanding more participation. How possible does it seem today to reconcile democracy with capitalism? Was there ever a time when the two were compatible, or have they always contradicted each other? Can capitalism still afford democracy? And what might new forms of democracy look like? During this day-long conference involving experts from all over Europe, we will discuss the current condition of capitalist democracy, non-state-based sovereignty, concrete participatory alternatives and new democratic movements.

11:00– 12:00 Democracy in Downwardly Mobile Societies
Oliver Nachtwey (DE)

12:00– 12:15 Break

12:15– 14:00 SovereigntyBeyond the State – Democracy as Practice
GalKirn (HRV), Ewa Majewska (PL), Daniel Loick (DE)

14:00– 15:00 Break

15:00– 16:00 Constituent Assemblies and Participation? The Example of Iceland and the Question of a European Constitution
LibiaCastro & Ólafur Ólafsson (ISL/SP) and representatives of Diem25, the “Democracy in Europe Movement”

16:00– 17:30 Democratic Movements: Anti-TTIP, Nuit Debout and Left-Wing Projects of Government
Melina Germes (FR), Alexis Passadakis (DE), Caterina Principe (PRT)

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Sunday 28/08 15:00
Libya Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson: Singing for the Constitution
An Icelandic Pop Experiment

In 2008, Iceland experienced what many people throughout Europe had been dreading: the collapse of its banking system – a moment after which nothing would be the same again. These years of upheaval saw the participatory elaboration of a new constitution: the Proposal For A New Constitution For The Republic Of Iceland. And yet it has not yet been adopted. The Icelandic-Spanish artistic duo formed by Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson has set the new draft of the constitution to music with the help of composer Karólína Eiríksdóttir, and compressed it into a pop song together with Icelandic musician Svavar Pétur Eysteinsson, aka Prins Póló. They would now like to invite you to the Agora for a musical experiment with audience participation: Constitutional Text Meets Pop or On the Musical Beauty of a New Law.


Monday 29/08 // Tuesday 30/08 15:00
Arkadi Zaides: EUROPEAN BORDERS
Exploring Movement Through its Limitation

In this new work, the Israeli performer and choreographer Arkadi Zaides explores the connection between borders and movement. Using the example of the external European border, he examines how borders do not just inhibit movement, but also become in themselves areas of ethnic conflict and physical confrontation. During the Wiesbaden Biennale, he will be inviting people to come and see an open work in progress in which he will conduct discussions with guests and experts, view various materials and offer insights into his work; these encounters will be held in the Malsaal in the Staatstheater, from 15:00 to 18:00 on two consecutive days.


Thursday 01/09 15:00
Imagine Wiesbaden: the Future of the City
A Participative Battle of Ideas

What is Wiesbaden – who is the city? Urban development in Wiesbaden has repeatedly provided a starting point for inflamed debates and controversies in recent years: who is allowed to take part in shaping the city when urban and cultural spaces in the historic centre of Wiesbaden are being redefined? This is a debate around social participation, civic participation, and visions for an urban future.Together with the “Haus der Stadtkultur im Alten Gericht” (“House of Urban Culture in the Old Courthouse”) initiative, the Wiesbaden Biennale would like to invite you to attend a battle of ideas. Every speaker will be given 5 minutes to make their case in the Agora, and will then respond to questions from the floor for 3 minutes: whether they are artists, city councillors, activists, investment managers, journalists, pensioners, academics or young people, the rules are the same for everybody. And anyone can take part in the discussion.This will be an afternoon of productive, constructive debate and active participation.


Friday 02/09 15:00
SCRAP PARTY: Food-Sharing Against the Crisis in Wiesbaden and Greece

1.5 million people in Germany are dependent on food banks. By providing for so many people, charitable soup kitchens also institutionalize the dependence of the poor on hand-outs within the German “Hartz 4” welfare system. With her scrap parties, which she started holding in 2013, food activist Talley Hoban has launched a communal cooking campaign using salvaged food in order to increase awareness about wasted food. She will now be holding a scrap party in the Agora, together with Manfred Bartl from the Mainz-based initiative “gegen HARTZ IV” (“Against Hartz IV”), Apfelkomplott Wiesbaden, an initiative promoting social agriculture, and Filippos Polatsidis, a Greek activist campaigning for a social economy in Greece. They will all gather scraps, cook and eat together while discussing how social food production and independent “food-sharing” could provide alternatives to institutionalised poverty. Questions regarding the food sovereignty of a society in the context of a Europe in crisis will be answered with practical, concrete tips as to how we can produce and cook food in a socially responsible, sustainable and waste-free manner.


Saturday 03/09 15:00
Hip Hop Battle: AGORA goes Bloc Party

Contests, dance, theatre and athletics – the ancient agora was a place for negotiating far more than just political issues: life itself was re-examined through various social rituals. We will be giving this spirit a modern-day twist in the Agora at the Wiesbaden Biennale by drawing on the culture of hip-hop: by staging a battle between MCs, dancers and DJs from the Wiesbaden area, the Kontext-Wiesbaden club will use the Agora Theatre as an arena through which to bring the street, pop culture and its protagonists into the sites of high culture.
Rap Shows with Kram aus der Ecke, MC Suada, and possibly MC Kenta (not yet confirmed)
DJs: Saje, EniceoB-Boy-Cypher with Dangerous Mainz and Wicked Wiesbaden Rockaz Freestyle Session
(Translation: Kate Mcnaughton)