This Is Water
This exhibition looks at the long histories of migration that have forged the current shape of the UK. It is about the rich languages, cultures and identities that are formed by many ethnicities and nationalities coming together. It highlights the dominance that some groups of people hold over others and the damage that racism continues to have.
As the UK breaks from the European Union, and pursues austerity and anti-immigration agendas, discussions around xenophobia, social cohesion and the state of multi-culturalism are increasingly relevant. At the same time, vital voices are sharing the experiences of people of colour in the UK through music, journalism, fictional writing and art. Histories of black Britons as far back as Roman times are gaining attention.
Middlesbrough is a town founded on the rapid immigration of workers in the nineteenth century. In order to support understanding and solidarity, this project finds commonalities and shared experiences between those who are now considered white but who were once excluded on terms of ethnicity and race (e.g. Irish, Italian) and those who continue to be marginalized (e.g. Eritrean, Pakistani).
The display includes art, personal memorabilia, and archival documents and films. Materials from Teesside Archives and North East Film Archives share some of the area’s nuanced histories. Quotations, poems, articles and videos bring broader perspectives on experiences of people of colour in the UK, and how current policies are impacting people’s lives.
During the exhibition, we create a repository of the stories and voices from the Tees Valley and we ask our publics to join conversations about the complex identities that form our region. This gathering of untold stories creates a platform for overlooked voices.
The show includes eight artists: Nika Autor, Lucy Bridger, Ladan Hussein (Cold Specks) and Seth Pimlott, Jasleen Kaur, Andreja Kulunčić, Alenka Pirman, Erika Tan, Katarina Zdjelar. Their works raise topics as varied as: how we imagine foreign peoples and places, the rights and experiences of migrant workers in the EU, and the continuing impact of the British Empire.
that gap between past and future
"...what happens to a highly topical subject when it is drawn into that gap between past and future which is perhaps the proper habitat of all reflections."
H. Arendt, Truth and Politics
The exhibition establishes situations of a discursive public sphere. It presents artistic and documentary works, that deal with translocality and migration, and that apply modes of reporting. The exhibition relies on strategies of recollection and is practising a multi-perspective examination of sites of presence and absence, amongst those that arrive, receive and have left behind. It is not just the site of narrations – their controversial negotiation should shape opinions, mobilise people and be constitutive of reality.
The considered geopolitical space comprises Central and Southeastern Europe as well as the Middle East, where due to geographical and historical reasons, a number of enduring and frequently used migration routes have developed. Its temporal focus lies on the period between the 1990s and today, although earlier historical references are included: the national measures to regulate migration and the huge communities of migrants from the former Yugoslavia and Turkey, who immigrated since the 1960s as part of the organised recruitment of foreign labour, and since then have been shaped and superimposed by different forms of migration, that are mostly signified by conflicts in the country of origin.
Based on that background, the exhibition consists of contributions from the fields of research, documentation and the arts. Specifically generated participative projects address feminist and queer narratives in the context of migration, in order to give space and voice to the participants and their identities, and to challenge the pressures faced by minority and majority societies.
The contentious topic of youth culture and public space, with the support and expertise of the youth centre Fuenferhaus, is approached as a transversal phenomenon, that allows us to see belonging to certain generations or subcultures as an integrative factor.
Still not much in focus is the history of the ex-Yugoslav diaspora during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. As a follow-up to the Wienmuseum’s project “Collecting Migration”, a first approach towards research in this area is thus being undertaken.
For those works of art that relate to the abovementioned spheres of activity in an confrontational manner, the holdings of the project’s partner institutions and the output of students from the Academy are rich resources that will be applied in order to integrate existing works or initiate further developments. The Institute for Education in the Arts, where the project is based, is an ideal crossroads in this context, where migrant communities, academia and art can form networks to produce substantial knowledge together. Formal branch classifications are thus broken up and disseminators included in the project, while new audiences are generated through such work.
One focus is on the medium of textiles, a subject taught at the Institute, which allows us to collaborate with students within the project. In several contributions to the exhibition, as well as in the map-making workshop, textiles are explicitly applied as an artistic medium. Further, textiles are questioned with regard to their capacity to translocally transport the cultural charge of certain forms and ideas – including political and economic structures – due to their nature as a for-profit and easily transportable trading good. Textile production is a labour-intensive industry, which is dependent on a low-wage workforce and therefore is especially influential with regard to migrant communities.
Southern Constellations: The Poetics of the Non-Aligned
The exhibition will focus on the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), more precisely it will emphasize ideas, ideals and principles from the movement, mostly in connection to its cultural policies and place them in a contemporary context with the question: Could there be a non-aligned contemporaneity? And if so, what kind would it be?
The topics covered in the exhibition are not to be considered some kind of exoticism linked to the past, nor do they harbour nostalgia for the movement itself. Instead we will emphasize how the “southern constellations” envisioned forms of politics that took as a starting point the life of peoples and societies that had been forcibly placed on the margins of the global economic, political and cultural system. What is more, we will discern how the NAM also made cultural equality one of their important principles from very early in its work. In the 1960s and 1970s, the cultural development of decolonizing countries became as important as their economic development. Subsequently, this culture was no longer meant only for the elites; art and culture were to be accessible to all. The idea was not only to study the Third World, but to make the Third World a place from which to speak. It was about creating different modernities, different poetics–“epistemologies of the south”.
The exhibition will comprise of:
historical constellations: journals, organizations, institutions, cultural exchanges, cultural policies that characterized cultural landscape of the NAM
cultural heritage of the NAM: archives, collections, exhibitions, artworks
contemporary art works.
Participants: Dan Acostioaei, Sven Augustijnen, Babi Badalov, María Berríos & Jakob Jakobsen, Godfried Donkor, Gallery of Art of the Non-Aligned Countries Josip Broz Tito, Contemporary Art Center of Montenegro, Gorgona in Jakarta – on the Cutting Edge of the Edge? (Nada Beroš), Ferenc Gróf, Olivier Hadouchi, Aya Haidar, Ibro Hasanović; Ibro Hasanović & Ahmad Adelian, Ahmad Yaman Fetyani, Abdelkadeer Itatahine, Yordanos Haile, Amin Hasan, Romat Hasan, Ahmed Shihab Hammood, Oussama Lahmaza, Masoomah Manafi, Zeinab Manafi, Siniša Ilić, Cartography of Yugoslavia’s International Collaborations in Culture with Developing Countries (Teja Merhar), Koroška galerija likovnih umetnosti, Slovenj Gradec (Andreja Hribernik, Katarina Hergold Germ), Naeem Mohaiemen, Museum of African Art, Belgrade (Emilija Epštajn, Ana Sladojević), Museum of Yugoslavia, Belgrade (Jovana Nedeljković), Museum of Solidarity Salvador Allende, Santiago (Daniela Berger, Federico Brega, María Victoria Martínez), From Bandung to Belgrade (Riksa Afiaty, Iramamama, Sekarputi Sidhiwati, Syaiful Ardianto), Re-Aligning the Asian Art Biennale (Abhijan Toto), Dubravka Sekulić, Semsar Siahaan, Third World: Prints from Non-Aligned Countries at the International Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana between 1961 and 1991 (Bojana Piškur, Teja Merhar), Mila Turajlić, Katarina Zdjelar.
The Museum of Yugoslavia will organize an exhibition that will explore migrations during the 1990s in Serbia. The main subject of the exhibition will be migrations from and to Serbia during the 1990s as a result of decomposition of Yugoslavia and the wars that followed immediately.
Artistic and research project Exit(s) will explore the relation between art and politics, putting in question the discontinuity between the old and new state order and society values. The exhibition will reflect effects of changes of identity, system of values, war and post war trauma, as well as transition ideology.
In addition, the exhibition will expose testimonies which will be constructed with personal items and documents of the 1990s migrants, as well as through representation of extensive oral history database, made together with people who emigrated during the 1990s as consequence of wars on the territory of former Yugoslavia.