[artinfo] project information "Border Crossing Services" (fwd)

C3 Information info@c3.hu
Tue, 12 Jun 2001 14:52:15 +0200

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 09:30:30 +0000
From: Oliver Ressler <oliver.ressler@chello.at>
To: Oliver Ressler <oliver.ressler@chello.at>
Subject: project information "Border Crossing Services"

Border Crossing Services

by Martin Krenn & Oliver Ressler

Direct mailing in Styria at the EU outer-border (A)
Exhibition in the Kunstraum of the University of L=FCneburg (D)
26.4. =96 21.7.2001
Exhibition in the Pavel-Haus, Laafeld, on the Styrian-Slovenian border,
as of: 21.9.2001


"In fortress Europe you still have holes where we can enter, and people
are still entering.=94 (Jean Jacques Effson Effa, The Voice)

The European Union member states' restrictive immigration regulations
mean that there is almost no chance to legally migrate to the EU and
reside in a member state. For those who want to enter, making use of
border crossing services is often the only possibility for penetrating
"Fortress Europe."

The goal of the project "Border Crossing Services" ("Dienstleistung:
Fluchthilfe=94) is to redefine and highlight the positive aspects of terms
such as "smuggler" or "trafficker" which have been given a negative
connotation through the dominant medial discourse. In contrast to the
widespread model for representation, the actual act of "smuggling" is
not presented as a criminal exploitation of asylum seekers. Instead, we
highlight the service character of this business made necessary by
European policies of exclusion.
Associated themes such as borders, migration and escape were worked on
in cooperation with anti-racist groups, migrant organizations and
students at the University of L=FCneburg.

The project "Border Crossing Services" was realized in a variety of
media such as a direct mailing and a video which, together with
additional fields of information, form an exhibition in the Kunstraum
The project is based on a process-oriented approach. Throughout the
course of the project, results from the different areas of research
mutually influenced the other aspects of the project.

Direct-mailing "Neues Grenzblatt=94
Participating groups: Platform "F=FCr eine Welt ohne Rassismus=94 (For a
World without Racism), Forschungsgesellschaft: Flucht und Migration
(Research Group: Flight and Migration), TATblatt, Zebra, Maiz, The
Voice, Kanak Attak, TschuschenPower

In cooperation with anti-racist groups and migrant organizations, the
informational brochure "Neues Grenzblatt=94 was produced and distributed
in April 2001 along the outer-borders in Styria (A) to 12,000 households
as a direct-mailing. The layout had a "folksy" design to allow easier
entry into a confrontation with the themes. The popular design featuring
pictures of the region and headlines such as "Border Crossing =96 Quality
Services" is meant to arouse the curiosity of the region's inhabitants.
The readers are confronted with anti-racist positions and perspectives
which are marginalized in conservative media. In the text contributions
from the participating groups, all have employed a language which could
theoretically also appeal to readers less familiar with such material.
The informational brochure was also distributed at diverse events (some
held in public spaces) and in cooperation with leftist groups. The
brochures are also freely available at the exhibition.

Video "Border Crossing Services=94
A video (DV, color, 51 min), forms a central element of the exhibition,
and will also be shown at thematically related events and alternative
video festivals. It confronts the hegemonic model for representation of
"border crossing services" and migration. Based on conversations carried
out in Germany and Austria with immigrants and persons involved in the
political left, the basic theme was separated into four sections for
analysis and critique: "Who is allowed to migrate?,=94 "Celebrating and
excluding," "About border crossing services=94 and "Against racism."
A representative of the activist group "Taxistas" describes how taxi
drivers in Germany are criminalized as "smugglers" for transporting
illegalized people. The section "Celebrating and excluding" is a "short
report" about the latest war machinery for border security, eagerly
presented by soldiers at a festival of the federal armed forces at the
Heldenplatz in Vienna on the Austrian national holiday. In the section
"About border crossing services," a conversation with a leading border
patrol officer in Frankfurt an der Oder shows contradictory arguments
which are used to try to legitimize racist mechanisms for exclusion. The
digital video premiered in March 2001 at the Diagonale, the Austrian
film festival, in the framework of the events series "Politik bilden!"
("Form Politics!").

Exhibition "Border Crossing Services=94
Project group L=FCneburg: Tina Dust, Uta Gielke, Maja Grafe, Nina
Heinlein, Patricia Holder, Mara Horstmann, Sarah Kaeberich, Nina Koch,
Susanne Neubronner, Astrid Robbers, Stig Oeveraas, Sabine Zaeske

Starting from a block seminar which we carried out at the University of
L=FCneburg, participating students formed a self-organized project group.
In order to counteract the hierarchical relations which can possibly
develop in the cooperative work between artists and students, we decided
to present together the works which we co-produced, the independently
produced contributions of the project groups and our own exhibition
contributions in a commonly created exhibition framework.
All of the exhibition contributions were discussed in working meetings
held at various stages of development. Thus, critique could subsequently
be integrated into the later stages of the production process.

During a visit to Frankfurt an der Oder, research was carried out at the
border. Elements of this research flowed into a video produced by the
students which deals with further facets of the theme of migration and
border crossing services. Conversations between members of the project
group with students in Frankfurt an der Oder, with representatives of
the migrant group "Kanak Attak=94 in Hamburg and with representatives of
"Netzwerk gegen Rechts=94 in L=FCneburg form a pool of research which allow=
insight into the local situations and reflects the students' approach to
the theme. The resulting video, edited by the project group was shown
along with the video "Border Crossing Services" as a video projection in
the exhibition.

In a wall installation, texts, direct-mailings and flyers refer to the
work of the groups who wrote articles for the "Neues Grenzblatt=94 and to
other contacted groups.
Based on a seminar on racism led by Ulf Wuggenig at the University of
L=FCneburg held during this time, the project group chose quotes from the
literature discussed and discussed them with us. This is shown in an
exhibit of text passages from the literature, which together with
anti-racist magazines form a theoretical framework for the individual
elements of the exhibition.

Projecthomepage: http://www.t0.or.at/fluchthilfe

The project was sponsored by the Kunstraum of the University of L=FCneburg
and Verein =D6kologie und Kunst, which supports the cooperation of art and
science in the framework of cultural landscape research.