Thursday, August 19, 2010

We invited the audience of the Whitstable Biennale 2010 to join us for the launch of our two-year commissioned project Bureau de Change. We served tea - using crockery borrowed from Whitstable Castle - with a slice of celebratory cake to all who attended. The image on the cake was selected from the Whitstable Twinning Association (WTA) archives and this photo documents the signing of the first town twinning agreement with Borken, Germany in 1987.

A handmade EU flag was hung in the centre of the Sea Cadets Hall. A projector and screen were positioned at the back of the Hall. A slide show contained images from the WTA archive, newspaper articles, maps and images of Thomas Masaryk - a Czech politician, socialist and philosopher. Masaryk was also elected as the founding President of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918.

The Czech flag was draped over a table and an assortment of Masaryk memorabilia was arranged, including a papier-mache bust of Masaryk and an edition of 'Masaryk on Thought and Life' published in London, 1938 on loan from a North London library.

"To learn another language is to live another life" - Thomas Masaryk

Image (left to right): Roger Annabel, Chairman of the WTA, the Mayor of Borken, Germany and the Mayor of Canterbury, 1987.

Friday, June 4, 2010

This year Uddin & Elsey will launch a two-year research project, to be presented at the Whitstable Biennale 2012, that will investigate and consider individual histories and politics of both people and place. We plan to navigate a route through Europe and attempt to critically engage with the following five towns and its communities that are twinned with Whitstable, Kent: Albertslund, Denmark; Borken, Germany; Dainville, France; Molndal, Sweden and Ricany, Czech Republic. Town twinning was set up after the Second World War in Europe as a means to aid the reconciliation process.

This blog will follow Uddin & Elsey as they travel to the twin towns of Whitstable, to engage with local people and initiate dialogue. We hope to create a series of site-related works that will be documented and made accessible through this blog. The process will explore alliances between groups of people across borders and attempt to negotiate different forms of cultural exchange through collective experience.