Everyone is a citizen baby – A People’s EU Constitution
Reescritura experimental de la Constitución Europea.
arquitectura de conversación pública estratégica.
Un proyecto de Fillia den Hollander y Jeanne van Heeswijk.
Febrero – Noviembre 2005.
Het Blauwe Huis, Ijburg, The Netherlands.
Red de Democracia Directa (Europa).
Leonardo Solaas asesor IT.
“Mauricio Corbalán and Pio Torroja are Argentinian architects who perceives the creation of communication structures to be architecture too. They develope proposals for interface models – a questionnaire and a computer game – between the people and our proposal for a People’s EU Constitution. In the report of one of our meetings it says:We think of sort of a computer game, with which mediators go to people in Europe and outside Europe. The computer game contains a questionnaire and a database where the answers are digested in such a way that it helps us to interpret all answers into one coherent document (the People’s EU Constitution)”.
Fillia den Hollander, visual artist and democracy activist. (NL)
EVERYONE’S A CITIZEN BABY is a project in which artists, lawyers, people of the (direct) democracy movement and “ordinary” citizens develop an alternative EU Constitution.
What is a Constitution?
What does being a European mean, or, narrowed down to the EU, what does being an “EUan” mean?
The rewriting of the EU Constitution is conceived as a tool to design an experimental society within the geographical location known as ‘Europe’.
A Constitution can only be supported if it is also developed together with the citizens, and if we investigate how they see their – and we our – citizenship
These questions stretch out beyond the EU, for it is also relevant and instructive to know how, for example, a Chinese person perceives the EU, or whether a Surinam person feels him/herself connected to the EU too. This is why our project covers the EU and beyond. The project consequently also implicitly contributes to general emancipation in the world. When people are presented an alternative EU Constitution, and are being requested to bring in their suggestions for improvement, then this will also contribute to the sharpening of their opinion on the existing Constitution (whether it be their national Constitution or the EU Constitution proposal which is now under discussion) and to the consciousness that they can co-shape society. Society is that which we want it to be.
A first proposal of an alternative EU Constitution will be done by writing a new EU Constitution outline which: (1) is written in understandable language, (2) leaves out everything which has to do with streamlining of former Treaties, (3) increases democracy.
Then, along with a questionnaire in the shape of a computer game this alternative EU Constitution will be presented to the citizens. As the title already indicates – EVERYONE’S A CITIZEN BABY –, there will be no distinction between “citizen” and “politician”.
As part of our project we aim to publish our first draft People’s EU Constitution simultaneously and integral in France and in The Netherlands in one daily newspaper and one weekly newspaper, a couple of weeks before the national referendums on the EU Constitution take place (France: May 29th, Netherlands: June 1st). We have already the interest of Newropeans-Magazine, a French European think-tank on democracy issues.
We estimate that this project will need at least two years to come to a good final constitutional document.
The project is a so-called crossover – it jumps back and forth between an art project and a political project. For culture, like citizenship, covers all domains.
Jeanne van Heeswijk is an internationally well-known Dutch artist. She has specialized in process and community oriented projects. In the context of the Arts Plan IJburg (near Amsterdam), Jeanne has a villa at her disposal for the next four years named «the Blue House» in which she hosts political artists and political art projects. Her “House for the Revolution” project is inspired by a.o. the Casa Azul of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. EVERYONE’S A CITIZEN BABY – A People’s EU Constitution will be guest of the Blue House as long as needed and it will have its nerve center there. Part of Jeanne’s Blue House project is a public letter exchange which all guests have with each other and with Jeanne. The letter exchange between EVERYONE’S A CITIZEN BABY and the Blue House will open with an intergral publication of the first version of the alternative EU Constitution.
The Blue House offers lodging for guests of EVERYONE’S A CITIZEN BABY and a start budget of 6,000 euros.