‘Saudade de Europa’ is a poetic exploration of the economic transformation of the continent over the past 50 years, when globalization rendered it into an indifferent and consumer-driven society.
September – November 2016
i.i Brussels – Helsinki via Magdeburg, Szczecin, Koszalin, Gdansk, Olsztyn, Riga, Tallinn.
i.r Helsinki - Jyväskylä via Porvoo, Joutsa, Hartola, Sysmä, and Korpilahti.
i.z Helsinki -Rovaniemi via Pieksämäki, Lapinlahti and Kuusamo.
Since the emergence of suburban supermarkets and shopping centres, specialized stores have been closing at a rapid pace. The fact that many villages and small towns no longer have a shop of any kind affects a range of underlying social fabrics and threatens sustainable communities.
From villages to cities, Various Artists is looking for these last traces of local commerce, where shop owners have the time to connect with their clients and the items they sell are made either by themselves or by local people to be owned by responsive customers.
‘Saudade de Europa’ presents a number of possible future scenarios, alternatives to our current neo-liberal system, and active support for economic diversity where creative people get the support to launch new small businesses that are able to survive through innovation.
Various Artists is acquiring, collecting and transforming objects that relate to Europe’s challenged economic transformation.
The acquired artefacts are ‘processed’ on the road in improvised studios like a van, hotel rooms, pubs, etc. One by one, Various Artists’ fictional members transform those objects using their favourite methods into storytelling art-pieces.
Apart from the acquisition and transformation of the artefacts, the encounter with the shop owners is of great importance. As we are trying to connect with their reality, to identify with their stories, to be able to see their story as a manual/guide to the collected objects.
To disseminate all the encounters and stories, Various Artists uses contemporary online interfaces/sale sites like eBay and saatchiart.com as a form of publishing to reach a specific public of online consumers. This online selling is used as an advertising strategy to distribute the collected stories and to raise awareness about the threat to the economic and cultural well-being of local shop owners due to the globalization of commerce. The Walmarting of Europe is granting excessive power to the middleman. An evolution where not only local shop owners are suffering and giving up, but where producers are being suffocated while clients are being deceived.