ACTIONS AGAINST BORDERS | Marta Lodola

 To The Future Public: Artist Residency

August 12 - 17

The research project ACTIONS AGAINST BORDERS #1 BREAKING POINT is a combination of research periods and performative actions with the goal to investigate the present meaning of "borders": as physical and psycological limits.

What does "border" mean in our contemporary society?

Which effects are increasing in our global society because of constructions of new borders?
 


The work deals with a very personal approach towards the perception of borders. The initial point of every individuum is the own body who represents the first individual experience of borders.

"The erection of borders influences the life of people, damaging both the sense of the community and the meaning of sharing in the society. The people and the urban landscape are involved in the project because they are connected to each specific part of it. The people and the place are the reality where I'm working on. Each action is an experience aimed to learn a part of the meaning of the borders in our reality.
The main goal of this project is to create a map of the physical and pshychological borders in a certain place, and at the same time is a way to involve people to tell us about our reality."

 

A parallel experience: Berlin / Athens


The city of Berlin has been the starting point of this project because is a place that keeps in itself the scare of the past division of Europe: The Berlin Wall. It's a meaningful symbol of separation between humans, built during the Cold War in 1961. At the same time the wall represents part of our global memory a society. The current refugee crisis has been defined the worst since World War II. Always over history, due to their geographical position in the Mediterranean, Italy and Greece have been the destination shore of people leaving Africa and Asia to seek safety and better life conditions in Europe. In the past few years, they have been destination of thousands of asylum seekers fleeing countries plagued by war and repressive regimes, and have suffered the inadequate and intermittent response of European countries in sharing responsibility. On the other hand, there is no safe passage for civilians fleeing war-torn countries and the number of lives lost in the Mediterranean continues to rise. It becomes a trap where most cannot escape from, deprived of the possibility to find their desired “better future”. Each city has a unique personal approach in terms of timing and paths. After choosing the locationthe artist walked each day for a specific amount of time, for a selected number of days and following a specific direction. This project is slowly mapping the city and connecting the personal experience in the public space to the esploration of thoughts within our society.


The audio material, recorded during the interviews, transforms into an audio archive open to the public audience and the background voices during the second part of the action: the performance art piece in the exhibition space. During this last step of the project the audience is invited to live and express its own personal experience entering a dark space, where they are invited to explore and investigate the surrounding space and the artist's body.
 

Establishing a base at the municipal project space at Varvakeios market in the city center, the artist conducted a week-long research in the public sphere across several locations that included occupied and self-organised spaces that provide hospitality to refugees and other services, down-town areas and toutistic locations. The athenean leg of the project concluded with a public performance at Varvakeios, on August 17th. The residency of Marta Lodola in Athens was made possible through the collaboration of Contemporary Art Showcase Athens (TO THE FUTURE PUBLIC program) , OKK-ORGAN KRITISCHE KUNST (okk/raum29), [mind the] G.A.P.-Gathering Around Performance, and with the participation and support of the Municipality of Athens, through SynAthina.


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City Plaza is a house for 400 refugees in the centre of Athens, in contrast to the isolated camps and the detention centres. Here, everyone is equal, and that works better for everyone. No manager or masters are ruling this place, it’s just solidarity, self organisation and collective approach to the daily issues. Here people are trying to live again a life (for a longer or shorter period) and stop feeling fear, discrimination, unwelcome or second class human.

Someone could say that hosting 400 people is a drop in the ocean, but that’s not how we see it.

Because it’s an example and a demand in the same moment to welcome refugees. We live the right on dignity that is denied for so many. And with that we never stand alone, we are another piece of the mosaic of solidarity and resistance.

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The militarization of borders, the encampment and the deportations are driving people to exclusion, to poverty and death. These policies are part of a whole regime of exploitation and austerity.

But we know and prove it is possible to live incollective solidarity, no matter which rules and norms the governments are formulating. If they want us to see in each other just a concurrence, a stranger, if they want to keep us separated, if they want to keep us blind.

We can refuse, we can resist.

http://solidarity2refugees.gr