Zipp – German-Czech Cultural Projects /


Life-worlds /

Utopia of Modernity: Zlín /

Kafka /

1968|1989 /

An Initiative of the
Kulturstiftung des Bundes


Zipp has a long history for the Federal Cultural Foundation. Cooperative projects between Germany and countries from Central and Eastern Europe have been a constant component of our work ever since the Foundation was established in 2002; to date, around 100 individual projects have been initiated or funded in this program segment (click here for a list of all projects). Two long-term bilateral programs – the German-Polish Büro Kopernikus from 2004–2006 and the German-Hungarian bipolar 2005–2007 – have underlined this commitment. The resulting positive experiences have led eventually to the Zipp initiative, which is supporting German-Czech cultural projects through to the end of 2009. As with its predecessor programs, Zipp is being organized and run by relations e.V, a project agency that has repeatedly demonstrated its special expertise in staging innovative cultural projects with partners from Central and Eastern Europe.

The Federal Cultural Foundation considers programs like these to be the cultural groundwork in the process of European integration, strengthening cultural relations between Germany and its eastern neighbors. The primary objective of Zipp is therefore to bring cultural actors from both countries into direct contact with one another – spanning various areas, disciplines, and generations. Cooperative practice of this kind does not result in one-off, representative events with a merely symbolic character, but in jointly developed projects, prepared on a long-term basis, which explore current challenges facing different artistic areas and themes of general social relevance.

Zipp is a curated program. The funded projects were all developed specifically – on the basis of the informed advice of relevant experts from German and Czech cultural life. In this way Zipp meaningfully complements existing German-Czech funding bodies – and can initiate projects which purposely refer to one another, both in their artistic expression as well as their thematic orientation.

Particular focus is placed on historical experiences shared by Germans and Czechs – a field that in recent years has disturbed relations between the two countries. To emphasize connecting elements, Zipp takes up two historical dates which evoke many parallel experiences in Germany and the Czech Republic: 1968 and 1989. Eschewing a mere historical reconstruction of events, Zipp focuses on how these two watershed dates relate to one another, asks about their repercussions and their significance for the present. Observations by those actively involved and eyewitnesses, by scholars, artists, and intellectuals complement one another, revealing the multilayered character of historical memory and meaning assigned to the two dates. Theatre-makers and historians, authors and artists from the Czech Republic and Germany work closely together on these issues – in the form of thematic evenings and theatre projects, readings, publications, and various discourse formats.

The events devoted to the thematic focus “1968/1989” form only the start of Zipp. These are to be followed by theatre projects, radio works, and an international documentary film festival on German-Czech lifeworlds today. A conference and an exhibition project present and explore the Czech industrial city of Zlín – one example of the urban utopias of Modernity which today have become memorial sites of architectural history. A conference at the historical location of Liblice looks into the political reception and impact of the Prague author Franz Kafka. In conjunction, an extensive edition project on Kafka’s texts is being funded, pursuing the aim to show that his texts are not only valuable historical documents but have retained their relevance up to the present day.

The German-Czech cultural projects of Zipp tap into and open up an expansive field – full of discoveries, renewals, and impulses. And full of new encounters between Czechs and Germans.

Hortensia Völckers, Artistic Director, Federal Cultural Foundation

relations e.V.

relations e.V. carries out exchange projects between Germany and countries of Eastern Europe since 2003 (2003–2006), Büro Kopernikus, German-Polish Cultural Encounters (2004–2006), Bipolar, German-Hungarian Cultural Projects (2005–2007). From 2007–2009, Zipp – German-Czech Cultural Projects is taking place under the auspices of relations e.V.
All of the named projects are initiative projects of the Federal Cultural Foundation.


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