oh europa

Read the latest blog from Action Hero

In 2018, Action Hero will set off on a journey through Europe.

Moving out of their house and into a motorhome, Action Hero will spend five months on the road, driving through every country in Europe and making a performance as they journey. The performance will change and evolve as the journey progresses in response to what they see, who they meet and where they go.

The performance will be a reflection on the journey itself, but also on what it means to be in Europe, to be European, and to travel freely across borders when others don’t have that privilege. Travelling through all 28 EU member states to the farthest reaches of the continent – the most northerly, southerly, easterly and westerly point and all the bits in between – driving thousands of miles across multiple borders in multiple languages. Oh Europa will try to understand Europe as a psychic territory as well as a physical one. Meeting local artists in each country the exchange of stories, experience and artistic practice will be at the heart of this project; this is not just an exploration about identity of place but also the different ways we express where we’re from. The journey is a kind of mobile research task, and the motorhome will be the site for that research – a lab for asking questions about shared identity and belonging, and about spatial practices and cultural geography.

But it will also be their home, into which Gemma and James will invite people they meet along the way. They will connect with local artists as much as possible, creating the artwork through dialogue with everyone we meet and connecting them with others we’ve met elsewhere by sharing stories and passing messages. By bringing our home to the home-towns of others, Action Hero hope to create an artwork that considers how we might continue to share space together in Europe, and what the value of that sharing might be. As they move across and between borders, so will Oh Europa. Borders between process and performance, between public and private, between life and work, art and tourism, research and leisure, home and abroad.

Action Hero is the collaboration between Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse. Oh Europa is being co-commissioned by Farnham Maltings.