The ”Crusading” project is a network involving a multi-faceted series of
events and activities: Exhibitions, seminars, on-line discussions,
workshops and publications. These are aimed at the historical crusades, at
understanding how the Middle East and the borders of Europe became the
place for struggles over power and control, and at contemporary conflicts
and political culture across the globe, influenced or illuminated by the
concept of the crusades.
” The Crusades” was the common name for a series of military actions,
initiated and executed by European forces from many nations, aimed at
establishing and expanding the hegemony of the West over the known world
and the supremacy of Christianity as a system of power and rule.
The First Crusade was launched in 1095 by Pope Urban II with the goal of
gaining control of Jerusalem and ousting the Muslims. In July 1099,
Jerusalem was conquered, establishing the Kingdom of Jerusalem as the
first Crusader state. The Crusades were an important ground on which the
modern Europe was erected. As such, the imaginary and ideology of the
historical crusades has followed us to the present.
From a contemporary perspective, the word ”crusade” has both literal and
metaphorical use. Outside of the real consequences of the historical
crusades, traced to the present, or the way their ideology lives as an
imaginary force in contemporary consciousness, the concept is also
metaphorically employed by, for example, anyone who follows a passionate
path for or against something - "crusading for children's rights",
"crusading against evil". In such contemporary rhetoric we might claim
that the cross, initially employed by the historical crusaders, is seen
more as a banner.
In addition, the ”Crusading” project is concerned with issues of mapping
and representing, how we – including the deconstruction of we - deal with
Others and to which extent the gaze of Others also outlines our own
identity and establishes our belonging.
As a project, ”Crusading” forges a network of international institutions
and individuals, committed to explore and work with these topics.
Initiated by Swedish-Uruguayan writer and social anthropologist Ana L. Valdés
and museum director Jan-Erik Lundström, the project is organized and
administered by Bildmuseet, a museum of contemporary art and visual
culture at Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
Crusading is supported by Stiftelsen framtidens kultur.
Exhibition: Susan Meiselas/Cecilia Parsberg
The two photographic projects by photographer Susan Meiselas and Swedish
artist/activist Cecilia Parsberg both explore conflicts of power in a
Susan Meiselas ”Re-Framing History” presents the responses and reactions
by Nicaraguans when in 2005 being confronted with Meiselas photographs –
presented as billboards on the exact sites where they originally were
photographed – of the Nicaraguan revolution in 1978 and 1979.
Cecilia Parsberg’s works maps the Palestinian refugee camp Jenin. She
photographed its destruction in 2002, through the invasion of the Israeli
army. Through several re-visits, she has followed its reconstruction up to
the present. Her film ”A Heart from Jenin” tells the story of the heart,
donated from a young Palestinian boy, shot to death by Israeli soldiers,
to a young Israeli girl, whose life it saves.
The exhibition opens at Bildmuseet in February 2006. In September, 2006,
it will be presented at Fotografins Hus, Stockholm.