Theme year 2019: Come with us - Where to?

An annual programme 2019 on crisis and new beginnings

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Whether environmental crisis, refugee crisis, education crisis or euro crisis, at present there seems to be constant and everywhere talk of crises. The identification of crises can count on great approval, but doesn't the permanent feeling of crisis also banalise it? The fact is: Extraordinary crises repeatedly present mankind with extraordinary challenges. Crises originally meant a turning point or a climax of a development, a state of uncertainty, an open situation. So what does crisis actually mean, how do people perceive crises and are we prepared to deal with the current crises - from climate change to the crisis of Western societies?

With our Annual Programme 2019, we would therefore like to approach how we deal with crises today and focus here on values as central to us as democracy, education and justice. How can we meet the challenges of the 21st century and help shape the future ourselves?

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A musical journey through Chile - the second destination of the world journey through living rooms

How do you travel to a country that is one of the longest in the world, that stretches from north to south over 4000 kilometres between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, passing through several climate zones? Ten people from Halle want to find out about this on the second evening of our "World Tour through Living Rooms". A few familiar faces from the first world tour evening are among the guests, but most take part in a living room tour for the first time. One guest even joined us spontaneously after a traveller was prevented from travelling for a short time. They are all curious about Chile.

Karl, the host of our Chile living room trip, and his girlfriend Bonny welcome the travellers in their kitchen with Pisco Sour, a cocktail of lime juice, sugar, egg and Pisco (a Chilean or Peruvian brandy - the origin remains a political issue in both countries). Space is in the smallest hut: In the Chilean living room it gets cuddly, but it even fits another guest, because Karl has got himself musical reinforcement to give his guests a very special impression of his home country: Tomy, also Chilean and since two years in Germany, came with guitar, Charango and many songs to sing about the beautiful and also ambivalent themes of the country.

The Charango is a small stringed instrument from the Altiplano in the far north of Chile. This is where the musical journey begins. Originally the body of the Andean instrument was made of an armadillo. But Tomy's instrument is already made of wood in an animal-friendly way. His Charango takes us into the mountains and into the driest desert of the world. From northern Chile we continue our musical journey to the centre of the country to Valparaíso, the largest port city in Chile and one of the most important cultural centres. The poet Pablo Neruda lived and wrote here, the influences from all over the world came into the country via the port, but also the contrasts between rich and poor become visible in this city, Karl emphasizes. With a love song to Valparaíso as »Joya del Pacífico« (Jewel of the Pacific) we move further south and to the archipelago Chiloé. The archipelago is one of the most beautiful places on our planet, full of myths and, according to Karl, with wonderfully hospitable people. On Chiloé, however, there are also serious conflicts between the local fishermen and the big fishing companies, which deprive the local people of their livelihood. Tomy picks up the guitar and begins with songs by Violeta Parra, probably the most famous folk musician in the country. She worked up the conflicts of the country in her poetry. With her music she continues into the land of the Mapuche, the largest indigenous group in Chile. Karl talks about the conflicts of the indigenous population with the state, about the self-image of the Mapuche as "people of the earth" and their language Mapudungun, the "language of the earth". They are the only indigenous people in Latin America who have resisted for 500 years, first against the Spanish, then against the Chilean state, and now increasingly against large industries. The Araucanía region is the ancestral territory of the Mapuche. Here grow the Araucaria, after which the region is named and which are the most important livelihood for the Mapuche. With »Arauco tiene una pena« by Violeta Para Tomy and Karl end the musical journey from north to south.

After so many kilometres travelled and exciting stories, everyone needs refreshment. Before the food is served, Tomy starts a Cumbia. To the rhythm, which actually comes from Colombia, people in Chile like to dance. On the living room table, fragrant Sopaipillas pile up. The guests could taste the fried yeast dough pieces with pebre (a dip of onions, coriander, garlic and paprika), Merkén (a Chilean spice mixture of chilli, coriander and salt) or sweet with jam or sugar.

Nota bene

For the Chilean living room trip, there were other helping hands besides musician Tomy. Carmen from next door (and originally from El Salvador) helped out Karl and Bonny with glasses and plates so that the 10 travellers could enjoy the delicious food. Noé, a friend from Mexico, also came by and helped as a trained cook with the preparation of the - of course still Chilean - dishes. Muchas gracias to the entire Latin American team!

After dinner, guests and hosts talk about Karl's family, his life in Germany, politics, literature and German influences in Chile. In the 19th century, many Germans emigrated to Chile. Karl (you can see it by his name) also has some German ancestors. An impressive, many-voiced evening comes to an end. Enriched with much new knowledge about a foreign country, stories, catchy tunes and literature recommendations, the guests say goodbye. Karl is happy that so many different topics could be discussed, because of course it is easy to report about the beautiful things in Chile, but it was important to him to show the contradictions and conflicts.

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"Vanakkam" in India - the first destination of the world tour through living room

It is an evening in February, the thermometer indicates sub-zero temperatures, ten people meet in front of the Historical Orphanage of the Francke Foundations, wrapped in thick coats and scarves, ready to leave the German winter behind for a few hours and dive into the tropical world of India. "Vanakkam", calls Jasmin, the hostess of the first "world trip through the living room" in Halle, and puts her palms together. "So we welcome guests to Tamil Nadu." The ten travellers enter the Tholuck Hall of the Evangelical Convict, where Jasmin currently lives, and already everyone is in another country. Right at the beginning Jasmin shows what Indian hospitality means: With spicy Chai and a cheerful dance performance the guests are lured into the country. The ice is immediately broken. After this sweeping first impression, Jasmin begins to talk about herself and shows photos from her hometown Coimbatore, her house, her family, her dog and her parish. She tells how she is driving her motorbike through the city... or mostly in a traffic jam. She shows pictures of elephants coming into the city from the forest and explains how three world religions live together in her city. The guests are amazed, ask questions, laugh and complement their own impressions of India. But the conversation shouldn't stop there. The best way to get to know India is with all your senses. That means first and foremost through movement: Jasmin asks you to dance and teaches everyone a few dance steps to a Tamil song.

After so much expenditure, the travel group has earned a refreshment. At a long table banana leaves are spread, which are to serve as plates for the Indian Biryani. The spicy, slightly spicy food made of rice and vegetables is eaten by hand, not so easily, but soon all the banana leaves are cleaned and the dessert can be served: Payasam, a sweet pudding with nuts. While eating there is enough time to get to know Jasmine and to ask all the questions you always wanted to ask about India. "Now I have a question", says Jasmin, "Why did you book this trip to India?" The answers are quite different. Many were basically curious about the project "World Tour through Living Room". One woman says that she doesn't believe she will ever come to India personally, so why not get to know a distant country through a living room? A guest already knows Tamil Nadu from a trip and is happy about the refreshment of the travel memories. Jasmin has prepared a small language course in her mother tongue for all of those who might travel to Tamil Nadu themselves. "nanri" (thank you), "dhayavu seidhu" (please), "suvai" (delicious) - with these words you will certainly get far in India.

At the big end Jasmin asks all guests to come back to the doorstep. There she has prepared a "Kolam", a flower pattern drawn on the floor with white powder, which decorates the entrances of the houses in Tamil Nadu on festive days. Many colourful colour powders are ready. Together the guests filled the Kolam with the colorful powder. The colourful icing on the cake of a unique trip to India in Halle. And what does the hostess think? "For me it was a great opportunity to convey my country with its difficult traditions in a simple way. I think that a living room trip can take away fears and scepticism about a culture that is very foreign to one's own".

Nota bene

India in the middle of Germany? During the preparation of her evening, Jasmin repeatedly encountered small hurdles which, however, were quickly overcome with German-Indian compromises. How can we serve the food on banana leaves when no banana plants grow in Germany? A well-assorted Asian market helped. The banana leaves, however, are only available frozen (a fact that made jasmine very cheerful). The white Rangoli powder, which is needed in quantities for the Kolam, could be replaced: by white sand from the building market, the dearest shopping market of the Germans (also a fact, which cheered Jasmin very much). And instead of simply painting the colored Kolam on the wooden floor of the convict, a base had to be obtained (this probably provided the greatest amusement).

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Hallesche Erklärung der Vielen

The Francke Foundations and many cultural institutions of the city of Halle are signatories of the "Hallesche Erklärung der Vielen":

The undersigned art and cultural institutions engage in an open and critical dialogue about right-wing strategies that undermine basic democratic values. They shape this dialogue with participants and the public in the conviction that the signatories have a mandate to develop our democratic society as a free, open and plural community.
All signatories promote debates in the spirit of democracy, but do not provide forums for propaganda of any kind. We repel attempts by right-wing populists to exploit cultural events for their own purposes.
We are committed to a diverse and free cultural and art scene in Halle.
We show solidarity with people who are pushed to the margins of society by right-wing populist politics.

It is about all of us. Hence: culture for democracy. Art remains free!

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