Designed to run for 18 months, TABUROPA is an international research and theatre project on the topic of taboos that will be conducted in four selected countries: Portugal, Poland, Belgium and Germany. Based on their respective historical and cultural traditions, these four countries each stand for a different set of experiences in dealing with taboos and thus exemplify the diversity of Europe.

Artist Diary – written by Agnieszka Blonska during Launching Phase in Cologne

Read all about Agnieszka Blonska’s thoughts after the “Launching Phase” in her director’s diary //


The Rautenstrauch Joest Museum: Guided tour to taboo objects

It is not a museum.
It is not a museum as we know it.
It is rather a map of our thoughts and consciousness than a place of archives.
Objects, images and words are here to question and provoke, not to allow us being passive.

Most of the exhibition’s elements seem almost as “ready-made products” for Taburopa. What else can we add and not to repeat, not to be banal?

The map of taboos has been placed in front of us.
And I want to be back.

Short impressions of the few outstanding, in my opinion, parts of the exhibition:

– The white cube, a symbol of a white man’s mind, representing the racist approach and stereotypical perception of black people. A white man’s mind which chooses to be ignorant towards the past and colonialism. One can go in to “a white man’s mind”. And one can experience. (Be ready to see yourself in the mirror…)

– “The room of death” and interviews with funeral workers who fight against taboos surrounding the subject of death. One of them mentioning a workshop with children during which the kids can paint coffins however they desire. With colours. Rainbows. Flowers.

– The exhibition of objects from other continents which at first seems similar to any other exhibition in any other ethnographical museum in Europe. But when one gets closer to a glass cube with an object in it, one can notice people behind it.
A reminder, simple strong reminder – there are people behind it.
(How many objects did we, Europeans, steal by the way? Has anybody ever counted it? Or is it simply too much?)

– Clothes on mannequins; clothes which define us. And projections of the clothes which define us on naked mannequins. (It is all just projections. Think about it.)

– Curtains which signify passing time and transition from life to death.
“Room of death” is surrounded by white curtains.
“Room of religions” is surrounded by black curtains.

Jörg Buttgereit: Nekromantik (movie at Filmhaus Köln)

Obsession with dead bodies.
Bits of bodies in jars.
Blood, dirt and more bits of bodies .
Sex with dead bodies.
And all of these filmed in the cheapest VHR way, with a dodgy edit and post-production.

I left half way through.
(I’m sure I missed something, but frankly I’m not bothered what it was.)

2 main thoughts after:

1. How easily we can be manipulated into the idea of what art is or should be, and that maybe it’s us who are just a bit too stupid to understand it. (Not that this was a case, but it did provoke that thought, especially the discussion after)
2. The experience which confirms, in practice, almost sensually, that some taboos are needed.