The official forums of the “Enlightenment in Dialogue” series are being organized by Stiftung Mercator in partnership with the National Museum of China. In addition, it has separately initiated a series of salons on the subject in which German and Chinese intellectuals will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions on philosophical, social and artistic aspects. The salon in the “Enlightenment in Dialogue” series is based on the classic salon of the Enlightenment. Adapted to the circumstances of today, it is intended to provide a forum for open discussions of art and culture. Its aim is to express the cosmopolitan attitude of the Enlightenment.
The idea of the salon
A dialogue between China and Europe – and Germany in particular – needs its own venue. A place where the dialogue partners can meet for talks on an equal footing and which offers them the opportunity to share their knowledge, insights and views on topics that played a decisive role in the Enlightenment both in China and Europe and, moreover, are important for the future of our countries. What place could be more suitable than the salon of the Enlightenment era? This calls to mind the salon hosted by Madame Geoffrin, the first bourgeois salonnière of 18th century Paris, at which the great philosophers of France discussed and argued. The salon presented by Stiftung Mercator, which transposes the salon of the Enlightenment into the 21st century, is to be a place for free and equal discussions and artistic and musical performances. It is to serve as the meeting point for the two cultures. After every dialogue, the salon venue will be deliberately changed in order to capture the atmosphere of the different institutions in Beijing which will be playing host to it, and to allow this atmosphere to colour the overall impression of the talks. The change of venues also underlines Stiftung Mercator’s belief that a salon of this kind can take place anywhere in the world, irrespective of space and time.