Ends on October 15, 2017

Solidarity – now more than ever
More than ever our world is in motion and not just because of xenophobia and racism, religious delusion and ultra-nationalism, climate change, environmental degradation and world overpopulation. Through fear of wars and conflicts, of dictatorship, persecution, poverty and social misery we are witness to an unprecedented exodus. The number of people fleeing their homes has never been as high as it is today: 65.3 million worldwide. If they were citizens of a single country, it would be the 23rd largest nation in the world. In 2015, 34,000 people – half the population of Weimar – fled per day on average. 50% of refugees worldwide are children, often highly traumatized.

Where is the humanitarian support, tolerance and protection for people fleeing? How helpless does our so-called development aid appear? How often do we hear – while our overall prosperity and corporate profits increase – about equitable redistribution? Instead Fortress Europe strengthens its border controls. Thousands lose their lives fleeing here. To ward off extremists, an entire culture is placed under general suspicion. Where is the politics of generosity and inclusion? It is unclear whether we are even making progress in the areas of climate change, food crises, migration and social inequality – but it is clear that in times of uncertainty and upheaval many people, from lack of understanding and fear of loss, want more segregation and isolation. How do we explain that by following this path the causes for flight remain unchanged – and often play into the hands of extremists of all stripes?
One cannot save the world alone, and for this reason in recent years the concept of solidarity has entered the discussion. We must rely on each other when things are not entirely within our own power. As Jürgen Habermas put it recently: “Those who act in solidarity accept the possible disadvantages to their long-term self-interest, trusting that others will do the same in similar situations.” Certainly the question remains whether, from the perspective of generally quite considerable prosperity, these disadvantages are really so severe or critical. And certainly many will remember the old Golden Rule of ethics (or one or the other of its variants), such as Hans-Ulrich Hoches words: “Treat everyone as you yourself would wished to be treated in their place.”
That also means: when I express solidarity with others, it is at least implicitly also solidarity with myself, whether it is in a distant future or even just for my descendants. If such an understanding could develop worldwide, and solidarity could be practiced across origin and faith, it should be possible to live peacefully and in an ecologically sustainable way. As long as the considerable and perhaps most significant factor, the antipode to solidarity – namely the short-sighted and selfish profit motive –  dominates as much as it does, the social and economic disequilibrium becomes even more serious, up to the point of destabilizing human rights and democracy.
We take Hölderlin's “But where the danger is / also grows the power to save” as a motto for solidarity optimists. As such, we hope that this theme resonates with many artists, and they apply to our program. We are curious whether and how the work of our fellows radiates beyond the circle of art and the space of the gallery and possibly becomes more of a direct practice, moving beyond reflecting on solidarity to become solidarity itself. It could be said that art will be overwhelmed under the pressure of such huge tasks. That art could change the world sounds utopian, but that it could not change it, undermines its reason for being. Moreover, art should always be a game (as Friedrich Schiller made clear in his letters "On the aesthetic education of man"); however, it must at the same time also be very serious. But perhaps precisely because of this dilemma art surprises again and again, perhaps because of a certain naiveté, which tellingly is so often scorned by the solidarity deniers themselves.
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