Questions of Conflict
Third Party Observations
European Peace Museum, Burg Schlaining, Austria
April 15 – October 31, 2008

The European Peace Museum in Schlaining Castle is run by the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR). ASPR aims to contribute to the promotion of peace and peaceful conflict resolution and to the dissemination of practical ideas for peace, including its developmental and environmental aspects. For these and other efforts, the ASPR was awarded the UN “Peace Messenger” status in 1987, and, together with the EPU, the UNESCO-Price for Peace Education 1995. In order to help to facilitate ASPR activities, ASPR set up an unique infrastructure including the Peace Library in a former synagogue as well as a Conference Center and the Peace Museum in Schlaining Castle.

As a part of ASPR European Peace Museum runs a cultural program, inviting independent and organizational actors to contribute to ASPR’s peace promoting initiative. Aura Seikkula responded to the invitation to facilitate a contemporary cultural perspective to conflict resolutions by curating a series of three solo shows, titled “Questions of Conflict”. The exhibition discusses peace processes and conflict management through different mediums. The participating artists Adel Abidin, Jari Silomäki and YKON contribute to the exhibition with both existing works as well as with newly produced pieces, exhibited for the first time.

Adel Abidin: Construction Site (2006) and Tasty (2008).
Adel Abidin works with heavy themes of a political nature. Construction Site is built on an event that took place on a street in Baghdad after a recent explosion. In Tasty Abidin investigates symbols and how they affect our daily lives. Abidin focuses on issues such as cultural alienation and marginalization hence humour and irony are central to his language.

Jari Silomäki: Personal War Stories of an Outsider (2007) and Ordinary Towns on Ordinary Days (2007-2008).
Personal War Stories of an Outsider describes a generation for whom war is distant but present through media. The work does not reflect violence but rather how one behaves in front of issues incomprehensible to him.
Ordinary Towns on Ordinary Days is a series on European cities using the aesthetics of war photography. Using simple pictorial choices Silomäki makes ordinary situations appear chaotic. The work criticizes media using media’s own main tool.

YKON: M8 (2006) and DIY Micronations (2008).
YKON is a non-profit advocacy group for unrepresented nations, experimental countries and utopian thinkers. M8 is a video exploring a meeting where utopias are negotiated. In DIY Micronations YKON creates situations playing with group fusion, curiosity about utopian fantasy productions, and interest in the emergence and drying-up of alternative architectures of society.

The exhibition is curated by Aura Seikkula in collaboration with FRAME Finnish Fund for Art Exchange and supported by AVEK Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture and Finland’s Embassy.