Installation views, Sweet Lies. Rethinking Identity, Ludwig Forum Aachen © Photos: Simon Vogel
Culture is regarded as a source of collective Identities. The diversity of our society and its openness to different cultures and religions are constantly being emphasized. But at the same time, debates on the Leitkultur, a defining culture, are being held, and the Christian Occident is conjured up instead of appreciating diversity in its complexity and all its manifestations. What are the reasons for this? The perception of human beings is conditioned to focus on clarity, while Ambiguity is disconcerting. But in order to value diversity, it is important to treat each other with understanding and respect. There is nothing that could be more suitable for this purpose than taking a closer look at shared cultural heritage: Europe is still seen as the cradle of culture by the global North. But it is easily overlooked that, since antiquity, cultural transfer and multiculturalism have largely originated from the Silk Road regions. Or that, in particular, Islamic scholars have rendered outstanding services to the exploration and preservation of ancient philosophical writings. Without this translatio studii, the transfer of learning, these sources would be lost today. The often-propagated dichotomy of supposedly independent countries cannot be sustained on close examination of such examples.