Summer programme of events
Accompanying the "After Year Zero" and "Lest the Two Seas Meet" exhibitions

Museum of Modern Art invites to a summer cycle of discussions accompanying the current exhibitions "After Year Zero" and "Lest The Two Seas Meet".

In the mid-20th century the decolonisation process brought hope of emancipation – the “third road” formula apart from the Soviet communism and Western capitalism inspired the African and Asian societies that underwent modernisation and were searching for their own way, but also the Western left disappointed with the political experiment of the Soviet Union. The Arab Spring several decades later also set an example to emancipation movements – especially numerous Occupy movements.

In time, the Western public debate was dominated by complacency mixed with anxious scepticism. For some commentators the revolution on the Southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea was the proof of superiority of the Western model of liberal democracy, for which the citizens of Arab countries starting from Tunisia and finishing with Syria who rebelled against dictatorship were allegedly ready to die. Sceptics were warning that the overthrow of authoritarian regimes, often incriminated with cooperation with the West, would cause political chaos and strengthen religious fundamentalism and as a result, it would bring a wave of uncontrolled immigration into the European continent.

The European Union, unable to respond to these challenges, seems to be turning into a besieged fortress that is closing its borders and its identity; even liberal media create the atmosphere of “clash of civilisations”. In the public sphere and popular stereotypes oriental clichés return with unexpected strength.

Is Islamic State a civilisation project aspiring to conquer the world? Or maybe it is a late consequence of the Western colonisation? Has the Arab and African world ever had a chance for its “third road” of development, and is it supported by the present “development assistance”? Do major cultural and social differences really occur in line with the borders of “big religions”? And finally, what do our conceptions of Muslim, Arab, or African neighbours of Europe say about the Polish society?

We will discuss this all on the basis of two exhibitions – "After Year Zero" and "Lest The Two Seas Meet". The invited guests will talk with Patrycja Sasnal and Michał Sutowski about present day Africa and the Middle East in the context of the history of big emancipation movements of this region.