News & events > Promised City project: Warsaw, Berlin, Mumbai
11 May 2010

Promised City project: Warsaw, Berlin, Mumbai


The Promised City is a project linking Warsaw, Berlin and Mumbai, initiated by the Goethe Institute and Polish Institute with exhibitions, video, lectures and a journalists research exchange 'The World in A Notebook'.

Why do people come to cities and what do they expect for themselves from their future? what are the stories that motivate them to set out for the metropolises or to reside there?

February - November 2010

Berlin – Warsaw – Mumbai: Two continents, three metropolitan cities, a million dreams. The megacity scintillates. Its promise and illusions form the point of departure for the international project “The Promised City”. Two years ago we - the Polish Institute Berlin and the Goethe-Institut in Warsaw and Mumbai - invited famous curators, intellectuals and artists to join in a collaborative process of research and work.

“The Promised City” connects three points on the world map to form an unusual constellation. This is in no way a triangle perforce. The three metropolitan cities exemplify many places in the world where politics and economy, information and the entertainment industry, consumerism and commerce agglomerate in a similar manner. They stand for social movements, new blueprints for life and artistic experiments.

First to Berlin and Warsaw: the relationship between these cities is influenced by the ever-changing German-Polish history, of which, cultural exchange experiences form its most intense stimulus. Although the train journey from Berlin to Warsaw only takes six hours, there is astonishingly little that one culture knows of the other. Does our complex reality in a globalised present, despite a history of being neighbours, lend itself to comprehension?

As a catalyst of understanding “The Promised City” also holds out a telescope, so to speak: India’s Mumbai is a paradigmatic megacity which widens the horizon of mutual investigation and elevates the central questions of the project beyond their regional relevance in Europe. Mumbai affords a study of the essence of an urban promise of fortune in a nutshell: here the realities of European metropolitan cities seem drastically amplified and carried to extremes. At the same, the similarities of the grand search for fortune in these different cities is astonishing.

As the reactions of the participants of the project in Berlin, Warsaw and Mumbai display, there is great curiosity for each other; in the collaborative process, cultural scenarios in the three cities have interlinked, new liaisons have emerged on a widening geographical triangle. And now finally it is time: between February and November 2010 the outcome of this international cooperation in the three cities can be reviewed. Berlin makes the first entrance.

The Promised City on Facebook