Ode to Joy is a six-hour performance I did in 1999, where I was sewing on a paper map the borders of European countries to keep them united, taking on the callings of a performing politician. This work is based on Norman Davies’s article “Wandering Borders. What do other historical attempts at unification say about the EU?” in Time magazine, Winter 1998-1999. Davies describes the attempts of several political figures and entities at European unity and argues that those attempts had failed because of an excess political will. And he wonders about the success of the recent prospects for the unification.
During the act of sewing the map is torn, the countries are divided and within this division they split. Yet I keep sewing the map until it shrinks and becomes a shapeless mass of paper and thread. This six-hour performance is accompanied by the various anthems of European countries. Gradually each anthem integrates into the previous one, creating a disturbing noise.