“Missplaced Women?” Performed by Anaïs Clercx at Préfecture d’Aix-en-Provence / Police headquarters, city of Aix-en-Provence, France on December 16, 2015, in the frame of “Missplaced Women?” workshop conducted by Tanja Ostojic, on performance art, migration, public space and surveillance, with participation of students and teachers of the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Aix-en-Provence, France.
Anaïs Clercx (student, École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts d´Aix):
Finally, I have chosen to write in English, without corrections, so, I apologise for mistakes and other clumsiness… but I think the language, with his failing and inaccurate words, is big part of the migration’s stories.
As first, thank you very much, for your presence, your presentation, your work, and for the really interesting workshop.
This performance was not my first but its been the first time that I perform for someone else. And it’s my first performance in the public space, and it’s really different to space with framework, substructure, selected public… I think that misplacedwoman is a performative performance, because it’s again reverse that we have inside – outside, to do public performance. I don’t know if it’s clear, just, it’s like to undress, twice.
I choose the préfecture because for me it’s one of the borders for the migrants. It is here that the people can have official papers. But it’s a place for waiting, procedures. A lot of people went with trust, and realised that it’s not easy, sometimes it’s so complicated that the people drop off. Other times, it is a place of an ultimate and definitive “no”. I think that this place represents hope and despair, success and failure of the end of migration.
A man who was drinking beer in front of the closed préfecture happened to be an integral part of my performance. When I started to open my bag and to put down my things, the man believed that I was selling my things. He told me that in Marseille, some people used to sell — like a flea market… I already saw that. It was next to “porte d’Aix”, a lot of migrants come to sell something, I think, that was recovered from trash. But now, neighborhood restoration work began, and the flea market is forbidden. In fact, Marseille is changing, and the story of migration, strong in this city, is disappearing, erased, step by step.
It was an interesting exchange.
My own story of migration is a “question mark story”. I don’t know my origins, because I don’t have the story of my ancestry. My mum has grown up in a social centre (like wise my sister and me). My grandmother has abandoned her. Then, she has go in a foster family. Later, my mum wanted to search for her father, so she had go see my grandmother, but without result, because my grandmother was a prostitute, she doesn’t really know who is my grandfather. Maybe, it’s this hole in my family tree whereby I’m so interested in migration.
I have worked for the association “SOS Racisme” and I met a lot of people and a lot of stories. And I’m often shocked to see the way they are treated. Dalila Mahdjoub, who has contributed as well to the thematic week, said (about imprisonment of migrants) “réprimé non pour un fait mais pour un etat”. “Imprisoned for an identity, and not for a crime”. I noticed that too, — when I was interested about the squat of Cachan in 2008. I realized that mostly migrants couldn’t possess official home, and they had to open an abandoned house, and live in illegality. I search to understand, what’s the migrant situation, now, before and after. What’s the trend? And simply, where is “the problem of migration”? Do we have really a problem of migration?
** Please, can you don’t correct me? I am questioning the role of the language in the thought. Sometimes mistakes can explain the differences of cultures. And the crossbreed is a strength.
Thanks again, Tanya, and really nice to meet you.