Migrations of Fear

07 September - 27 September 2017
Opening on Thursday, 07 September at 07:00PM
Center Of Contemporary Art - “The Ancient Bath”
Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Artists: Azra Akšamija, Nika Autor, Lana Čmajčanin, Petya Dimitrova, Fanni Futterknecht, Emil Mirazchiev, Alban Muja, Oliver Ressler, Škart, Kamen Stoyanov, Ute Richter, Borjana Ventzislavova, Clara Wildberger 

Curated by Ilina Koralova and Boris Kostadinov

Fear is a basic, natural, defensive reaction to danger, which could reveal itself in acts of aggression, surrender, or retreat. However, in contrast to the inhabitants of Nature, fear has a much wider range of manifestations among human beings: from the mere physical annihilation of the bearer of the alleged danger to the more subtle ways of expression, such as hatred, prejudices, intolerance. Human fear could be justified, but also illusory, a symptom of a mental disorder or a result of some kind of manipulation, exerted on an individual by other individuals. It is not only psychological, but also a social phenomenon, and, as such, it belongs to human history and society. 

The 21st century, marked by the events of 9/11, gave worldwide rise to an ever-growing fear and anxiety, that were unknown to some extent to the western societies at the time, and that have recently taken unprecedented proportions, due to the terrorist attacks in Europe, the refugee wave and the subsequent humanitarian crisis. Various researchers have shown that migration and terrorism are what the Europeans now fear most. However, fears of unemployment, of the deepening social inequality, of personal failure or financial ruin have been lurking in the old, as well as in the newly-born, capitalist societies for decades. The refugee wave only gave one last powerful impulse, which unlocked what has already been suppressed, more or less, for some time. Instability and constant threat gave impetus to the nationalist and far-right movements. The scepticism about the concept of a united Europe has intensified among the population of the EU member-states. 

This is where the project Migrations Of Fear takes its starting point. It evolves around the real, phantom, individual or common fears in general, which have surfaced in the last few years. Those fears, and above all the ways the contemporary (European) society could find in order to defeat them, are the spheres, which the project intends to explore. 

Migrations Of Fear is a reaction to the actual political and social reality in Europe. The project and its participants aspire to contribute to the process of overcoming hatred, prejudices and intolerance, which, more than terrorism, constitute the actual threat for the contemporary European society. Despite the difficulties and the enormous challenges, the convergence and interaction of different cultures, philosophy of life and views on the world must be seen as a unique chance for better understanding and mutual enrichment, and, hopefully, as a chance to overcome some of our fears.


Migrations Of Fear is a multidisciplinary project, a cooperation between artists and art institutions in Leipzig (DE) – FUTURE OF EUROPE Society for Contemporary Art/Kunstverein Leipzig, Graz (AT) – Forum Stadtpark, Plovdiv (BG) – Art Today Association for Contemporary Art, and Slovenj Gradec (SI) – Koroška galerija likovnih umetnosti (KGLU). 

The four partner-cities aren’t capitals of the respective countries. As such, they haven’t been the main migration destinations. Yet, in each city, though to a different extent, there are communities of people of other nationalities, of different ethnic origin and/or religious affiliations. More often than not, they are exposed to mistrust, intolerance, even hatred. But there are also people, who have welcomed the foreigners and members of minorities; however, they have to fight more with the prejudices of their fellow-citizens than is the case in the capitals. Politics, too, which exploit the potential threat by migrants to put forward their own agendas, find more fruitful ground among people living outside the larger metropolises. At the same time, the four project cities feature their own characteristics.