Esch2022 and the partners of the Möllerei – Françoise Poos: “Art is a platform that gives access to all the questions of contemporary society”

Françoise Poos is the Cultural Programme Director of Esch2022. She is a curator and researcher in the field of visual culture, with a particular interest in photography, archiving, and the creation of collective memory. In collaboration with Esch2022, three international partners are organising major exhibitions around digital art at the Möllerei in Esch-Belval. In this interview, Françoise Poos explains the artistic approach of the future European Capital of Culture and reveals the big questions that the exhibitions in Belval ask about our contemporary society.  

For Esch2022, three international partners, the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, the HEK (House of Electronic Arts) in Basel, and Ars Electronica in Linz are curating three major exhibitions around art, technology, and science. Can you tell us more about these collaborations?   

I am delighted that these three world-renowned institutions with considerable experience in the field of contemporary art at the intersection of technology, science, and society have agreed to join us in taking up this challenge to imbue the Möllerei with culture. Although the past year was marked by many restrictions due to Covid, we managed to work remotely and we succeeded in setting up an extremely collegial collaboration. On the one hand, we collectively contemplated on the different possibilities to fill the Möllerei with art, and on the other hand, we tried to set up a dialogue with the general public.  

Why did Esch2022 choose the Möllerei as an exhibition venue?   

The Möllerei is an emblematic site that symbolises the region’s industrial past. It also represents the transition to the age of the digital revolution. In Belval, this changeover from the industrial era to the knowledge society becomes tangible and manifests itself through the spatial proximity of the university and the blast furnaces. The Luxembourg Learning Centre, for example, which was formerly part of the Möllerei, is now a symbol of the digital revolution with a very contemporary library where you can access knowledge through computers as well as through books.   

What is the artistic approach of Esch2022?  

The artistic programme of Esch2022 is strongly focused on questioning the contemporary world – a world in full transformation. We thus address subjects such as climate change, sustainable development, migration or the future of our region and Europe, but also man’s role in the face of new technologies. These are all issues of our time that we are concerned about and we will provide discussion platforms for visitors who come here next year and for the people from the region.   

Why has Esch2022 chosen to combine art with advanced technologies in the Möllerei?   

Advanced technologies are part of our everyday lives. We routinely use digital tools and they have become extensions of our human bodies. Today’s artists are interested in these technologies and use them to formulate the questions that we are all concerned about. At the same time, the venue of the Möllerei provides the perfect setting to reflect on developments in the contemporary world by putting the industrial past into dialogue with visions of the future. 

What would you like the visitors of Esch2022 to remember about these exhibitions?  

I would like the visitors to go home and say that everyone can indeed participate and that art is a platform that gives access to all the issues of our contemporary society.