The New Europe is an interactive journey through a custom pop-up pavilion, where participants collaborate to create a new fingerprint, an alternative statement about their group's collective identity and perspective on European values.
We begin by giving each group of visitors a "passport" - an interactive screen that they will share as an input machine as they move through the three spaces of the pavilion - spaces where they define and refine their identity, values and sense of the collective.
Look Again | Identity
In this first room, they will negotiate with one another to create a new identity, while seeing this identity reflected in an immersive distortion of light. As they place themselves on the sliders, a visualisation begins to build, arc by arc.
Listen | Values
In the next room, the group will continue to build the arcs that compose their collective fingerprint. As they make certain choices on their sliders, they hear challenging statements from underneath the dome. These statements are culled from current affairs to historical documentaries, from politicians to everyday citizens. The issues represent a continuum of values as stated in the pamphlet Europe in 12 Lessons. Each voice has a slightly different perspective to share. The values that the group negotiates are not necessarily polar opposites - instead, they (and their associated voices) demonstrate crucial tensions.
Part-Whole | Border
Finally, after one last question, the explorers reach the last area - looking at their own "fingerprint" as it fits into a big grid of all the participants who have left an input thus far. This viewing area is in a hammock, a story above the previous input areas, allowing for a keen potential for reflection, sociality and relaxed discussion of why and how each fingerprint might have turned out as it did.
Postcards to Europe
On their way down the steps from the hanging platform, visitors were invited to leave a postcard with their hopes for Europe - or for the "New Europe" that they had been part of creating. Here are some of their inputs.
Full video of the living lab web-app is here.
The New Europe | A Living Lab is one in a series of living labs created in association with the European Network of Cultural Centres - to experiment, co-create and test the interventions we are designing as part of our research for CoHERE. CIID Research's living lab supports our focus on how digital and creative-practice interventions can help investigate questions around European identity, heritage and dialogue on sensitive topics.
Living Labs (LLs) is a flexible research concept, whereby researchers put parts of their work into use in the context for which they are created. In doing so, and in inviting visitors to participate, test, experiment, give feedback and even co-create, the living lab is a place where our project can evolve and improve.
Together with architects Harry Clover and Fabian Puller (of ADAPT pavilion), designers Henriette Kruse, Eline Sorenson, Matt Nish-Lapidus and Cyrus Clarke, and with support from Newcastle University and Verdenskulturcentret, as well as design firm Accurat - CIID Research has created The New Europe as part of our work in project CoHERE, led by Newcastle University.
CoHERE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 69328