The Migrant (Moving) Image
Through four chapters and over a period of more than two months, the film program The Migrant (Moving) Image unfolds the possibility of an alternative image of a world in flux, beyond Fortress Europe. In each chapter, a new selection of films is presented in A Tale of a Tub’s exhibition space.
Chapter 1 – Departure: Harraga
Chapter 1 is titled Departure: Harraga. Harraga is the Arabic name for illegal migrants and literally means “those who burn”. The name comes from the illegal practice of burning immigration papers when migrants are about to be captured. By burning the documents they are unable to be sent back to their land of origin. In order to start a new life, Harragas burn the bridges behind them. However, this act could also be interpreted differently. Migrants move straight through political, social and economic boundaries. Perhaps what the harragas wish to destroy are the borders that restrict people in their mobility, to have the freedom to travel, to migrate.
The films in this section are about the realities of those people who are forced to live without identity papers across political and social boundaries. It’s about the possibility of radical equality and breaking fixed forms of identity.
Artists Chapter 1 – Departure : Harraga
Ursula Biemann (CH), Center for Political Beauty (DE), Fouad Elkory (FR), Mounir Fatmi (MA), Alfredo Jaar (CL), Isaac Julien (UK), Runo Lagomarsino (SE), Paulo Nazareth (BR), Adrian Paci (AL), Nicolas Provost (BE), Wael Shawky (EG) (tbc), Zineb Sedira (DZ).
The Migrant (Moving) Image is a project by A Tale of a Tub, and is curated by Nathanja van Dijk. Kindly supported by a research grant from the Mondriaan Fund, the DeltaPORT Donationfund and Mendes Wood DM.
Background information: The Migrant (Moving) Image
The image that is being portrayed in the media of the migration crisis is creating great worries worldwide, tapping into contradictory collective emotions of pity and fear. Within a framework of visual dominance, mass media has become a powerful tool and is of the main determinants of public opinion. The image of the migrant is mainly based on the images that are being circulated in (social) media. Even though these images form an important component of the migration flux, they are certainly not direct representations of reality.
News coverage about migrants systematically portrays the migrant as ‘the other’. Furthermore, the images that make it to our newspaper or our Facebook timeline either zoom in on the tragedies taking place at the border of Fortress Europe or underline the idea that migration forms a threat to European stability. These are the perspectives that the mainstream media commonly emphasize in their sensationalist accounts of migration, even when they report on Europe’s inability to deal accurately with the current influx of migrants or on the reactionary responses to immigrants. The result is a poor representation of the main protagonist of these images, who is being reduced to either victim or criminal. The complexity and impact of migration on the lives of individuals and on society at large gets lost.
Artists featured in The Migrant (Moving) Image have image-based artistic practices rooted in photography, cinema, or new media formats. Often times, the work is informed by the artist’s distinct biographical experience of migration or exile.
Also in the bathhouse
The opening of The Migrant (Moving) Image coincides with the opening of Bakersfield CA, the solo exhibition of artist, writer and teacher Doug Ashford (b. 1958, lives and works in New York) at Wilfried Lentz Gallery, located in the same building. An installation of paintings, photographs and glass panels is built from two rolls of found film that document an American family and their friends in a suburban environment. In this footage, whose origin was decided by the artist to be the city of Bakersfield in California, the normality of the daily life of the family is interrupted by the unexpected appearance of a Nazi swastika.
Also opening on the 14th: the group show Next Day at the 4th floor of the bathhouse, with works by Doug Ashford, James Beckett and Remco Torenbosch.
Prior to the opening there will be a Q & A between Doug Ashford and Defne Ayas (Director of Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art) hosted by AVL Mundo from 3:30-5pm.