Pan-European Encounters was the first major gathering of international curators, writers, artists and critics at the Venice Biennale to discuss and explore the changing idea of identity and the diaspora in the 21st century.
The symposium provided a necessary platform for a critical discussion about the changing nature of representation within an increasingly globalised cultural context. It posed essential questions about the economies of exhibition, urbanisation and regeneration. It also considered the international infra-structural developments necessary to nurture and sustain a more representative and culturally diverse professional ecology for the visual arts.
Its point of departure for the programme was an essay by Jacques Derrida on the future after Apartheid, and asked: Where are we now? What spectres haunt this scene in the year that South Africa exhibits, for the first time, as guests in the Italian Pavilion and Britain celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery Act?
‘Nothing is delivered here in the present, nothing that would be presentable – only, in tomorrow’s rear view mirror, the late, ultimate racism, the last of many.’ – Jacques Derrida 1983: Racism’s Last Word