The Swiss have mixed feelings about their cultural traditions. The roles seem clearly defined: tradition means customs, crafts and folklore, whereas innovation is the remit of contemporary art. But what is truly innovative and what is merely rehashed or repackaged? Is contemporary art really as free from past influences as it sometimes claims? And does traditional culture really only look to the past or does it in fact draw inspiration from all sides?
With its thematic programme entitled «echoes», Pro Helvetia is opening a forum on folk culture of the 21st century. Questions are raised and discussed with all those concerned: cultural practitioners from the worlds of art and folk culture, organisations promoting culture, politicians and the arts public. The programme proves that folk culture is on the move, that tradition has a future.
Besides aesthetic matters, the programme also raises fundamental issues. What significance does folk culture have for Swiss cultural life and cultural identity? What does folk culture actually mean in the various linguistic regions of Switzerland? And not least, Who is promoting what kind of culture and why?
«echoes» is a two-year programme running from autumn 2006 to 2008 and organised in close cooperation with various partners throughout Switzerland.