Cultural Studies and Europe
Cultural Studies and Europe
or the Reality of Virtuality

Reality and Virtuality


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It is a special characteristic of humans that before beginning a task, a mental model of the desired result is more or less well developed  beforehand. Such models are modified again and again - in the history of mankind as well as in individual approaches to work. Discrepancies arise between models (virtuality) and ongoing activities (reality). In the course of human history, both forms have undergone differentiation and augmentation. Aids to the development of models were created, such as records, libraries, educational institutions, research facilities, etc. These activities were also assisted by numerous devices such as tools, machines and lately the computer (though the latter  also assists in the preparation of models.)

Models exist not only in relation to food, houses and means of transport, but also to the communal life of mankind, to societies. In this area in particular there are many antagonistic interests, opinions and opportunities. Jura Soyfer demonstrated in his work "Astoria" that a state can be entirely invented but still be historically powerful, for example.

Proceeding from the view that an "invented state" is not just a swindle,  but that themes dealt with in "Astoria" demonstrate many differing social processes, one could well meditate in this connection on the nature of Europe.

There are numerous models of Europe. The exhibition logo, which reflects these many models, is meant to indicate this. Especially in present day Europe, these refer to the fictionalisation of the 19th century (the invention of the 'nation state'), to the military option (as a consequence of 'fortress Europe') but also to models which bring together in the concept of Europe opportunities for better and more peaceful cohabitation.

In the media today, however, the term "virtuality" indicates primarily a presentation in cyberspace. Thus the exhibition "Cultural Studies and Europe" can be seen as "virtual" in two respects: through placing it on the Internet, and as a contribution to a model for Europe developed through the medium of cultural studies. Whether this model, or elements of it, becomes part of reality, as models are translated into action, only the future can show.

Cultural concepts
Language, images, number systems
About the Exhibition

Does Europe exist?
Information Structures
Structures of Research
Cultural Studies on the WWW
Cultural Processes
European Policies, Civil Societies
Education and Scholarship
"Culture of Peace"
Cultural Exchange
Financing Research

© INST: Research Institute for Austrian and International Literature and Cultural Studies, 1998