Generating spaces to explore and reflect on the art of refugee aid, advocacy, awareness-raising and solidarity
By Hari Reed
Since the beginning of the ‘refugee crisis’, a huge amount of material has been generated about refugees in Europe. The urgency of the crisis led to widespread and rapid outputs in refugee communications across multiple sectors, including media, politics, education and the arts.
IMAGINE works with an international group of artists to generate spaces from which to reflect on, and insert question marks into, the language and communication strategies through which we’ve been receiving this information about refugees. These projects explore the different forms, tools and techniques that have been used to represent refugees over the past few years, and the impact this has had on ‘refugees’ themselves – as well as who and what is included in (and excluded from) the term ‘refugee’ itself.
IMAGINE developed and toured the Protestimony exhibition in response to the demolition of the ‘Jungle’ in Calais. The exhibition was installed at Summerhall as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017 and in Norwich Cathedral for the Being Human Festival 2017, amongst other locations. Protestimony is self-reflexive: it provides information about the refugee situation in Europe, but at the same time it reflects on the ethical implications of providing this information in an immersive, interactive way. The exhibition is an opportunity to reflect on the kinds of things we say about refugees and the ways we say them, and to explore hidden problems or assumptions in contemporary representations of refugees. Listen to our BBC interview to find out more.
12 months on, IMAGINE is working with French and British artists to develop the installation “personne est invisible”. It is a reflection on the ‘refugee situation’ in Europe a year on from the destruction of the camps in Calais and Dunkirk. As such, “personne est invisible” is an exploration of the simultaneous hypervisibility and invisibility of refugees within state systems and the media. It allows its visitors to pause and take a step back from the consumption of information about refugees, and to consider their own position in relation to the subject matter.
We are looking for a location to host “personne est invisible” during Refugee Week 2018. The space can be indoors or outdoors as the installation is entirely self-contained within 3 wooden shelters, measuring 4×2, 4×2 and 3×2. We would need space and access for the unloading of materials and a week for construction.
If you have a suitable venue in London please contact firstname.lastname@example.org