MisplacedWomen?

Archive for December, 2015|Monthly archive page

Sous-préfecture d’Aix-en-Provence / Police headquarters, December 16, 2015

In Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Performances, Stories, Workshops on December 23, 2015 at 7:33 pm

“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.

Anaïs Clercx

———–
Photos: Tanja Ostojic
P1130166
P1130174
P1130183
P1130181
P1130184
P1130185
P1130192
P1130189
P1130198
P1130182
P1130197

Gare Routière d´Aix-en-Provence, France, December 16, 2015

In Aix-en-Provence, Bus-stations, Performances, Workshops on December 23, 2015 at 6:27 pm

On December 16, 2015, I conducted the “Missplaced Women?” workshop, on performance art, migration, public space and surveillance, with the participation of students and teachers of the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Aix-en-Provence, France.

During the morning session of the workshop each participant shared with others her/ his own family and their own history of migration. Issues of identity, social structures, historical and contemporary roles and positions of art in society were discussed among others, along with the introduction to the “Misplaced Women?” project and the workshop goals. We talked as well about our motivations and expectations regarding the workshop.

Each participant has suggested and has chosen one location in the city that is significant for migration, and we all made together a 2,5-hour-long performance tour, doing, witnessing and discussing at each of the locations one individual performance.

The choice of locations was very diverse, as well as each of our own histories, like wise the diversity of contents of our own pockets and of each of our luggage that we brought along in order to unpack them during the performances.

The quality of every of the performances was very high thanks to the strong motivation and strong presence of each of the individuals, as well as the numerous interventions and responses from security personal and passing buyers who witnessed our interventions. It was one of the most intimate and one of the most intense one-day workshops I had an opportunity to lead so far.

Workshop participants:

–   Anaïs Clercx

–   Anastasio William

–   Lise Godard

–   Sigrid Pawelke

–   Tanja Ostojic

——————-

Tanja Ostojic:

Gare Routière d´Aix-en-Provence, the city bus station, has been the location of my choice. Each time I arrived to Aix, weather I came from Nice airport or from a day trip to Marseille, this was at this station. I had with me my obligatory purse with portmonee and tabac, a cotton bag with few necessities, including a plastic bag with 5 mandarines. I have chosen one of the first available stone benches placing my bags on it.  I started with undressing my coat (made out of up-cycled military blanket), turning it inside out. Then I took off my belt. I took out of my purse and my bags and my wallet each single item, turning them inside out. Mandarines I opened one by one, then I distributed them to people around, to calm down security guy who was shouting on Sigrid as she was taking pictures of my intervention. Mandarines are very helpful when one is on the road. Good for thirst and energy, practical to open and to share. A group of local youngsters gathered around and most of us engaged in conversation with them after the performance. It came up that actually none of them was really local thanks to the very rich family migration histories.

As soon as we left the station we came by a women who has discovered some nice clothes for two of her kids in plastic bags next to the container. She took each piece of clothes out of the bag, looked if it was proper, nice, in the right size, and ones she decided for it, she arranged it temporarily on near by railing. I observed attentively the way she was doing it and took discretely one picture of her from behind. She turned to me and as I confirmed to speak Italian, she explained her migration and family story, and asked for mine. She asked me as well for a change and I asked her to take another snap-shot of her. And so we had a friendly and positive exchange.

 

Photos: Sigrid Pawelke / Tanja Ostojic

Video: Sigrid Pawelke

P1130144

P1130146

P1130147

 

 

P1130161

 

P1130163

 

La Grand Escalier de la Gare du Saint Charles a Marseille, France, December 17, 2015.

In Marseille, Railway-stations on December 18, 2015 at 9:53 am

On December 17, 2015, from about 12:45 to 13:30h, on my way from village of Vauvenargue and Aix-en-Provence to Géneve, I performed my “Missplaced Women?” on la Grand Escalier de la Gare du Saint Charles a Marseille. As I had almost an hour of time, while waiting for my TGV train, I enjoyed the gorgeous staircase and the view from the top. I enjoyed watching people passing by. People in transit and people hanging out there. I took time to find inside of my suitcase things I actually needed in my hand bag, and I took a moment to refresh my vernis that got worn out in past few days in la Provence. Young guy whom I asked for assistance to capture a photo of me did it with a pleasure and used a chance to warn me that i should not ask other people for such favour as they might run away with my photo camera. As he gave me back my camera, he advised me as well to pack my stuff and to keep them close to myself.

Misplaced Man? performance in Aberdeen Airport – Contribution by Amy Bryzgel

In Aberdeen, Airports, Border, Performances, Signs on December 8, 2015 at 8:33 am

One question I always had in my mind with regard to Misplaced Women? was: what about Misplaced Men? Of course, I am aware that Tanja’s work focuses on women because they are perhaps the most vulnerable in situations related to migrations, most notably with regard to trafficking, humiliation, and separation from families. And those who know Tanja’s work also know that she does not deal exclusively with women. Her film, Sans Papiers (2004, together with David Rych), tells the stories of many men being held in detention centres in Germany. So, when the opportunity arose, I decided to stage a Misplaced Man? performance in Aberdeen.

 

IMG_2331

Misplaced Man? sign. Aberdeen Airport. Sign and photograph by Amy Bryzgel.

In the summer of 2015 I started organizing a conference that would involve both research talks and performances. I wanted to have a performance that would take place in the context of the presentation of papers, one that would disrupt the rhythm of the lectures. I immediately thought of Branko Milisković’s work, specifically his performance The Speech, which is part one of a two-part performance. Branko’s speech usually lasts around 4 hours, but given the time and space of the conference, and that this would be just one presentation of many, I asked him to do just 45 minutes of it. I wrote to invite him, and he agreed.

 

I knew, when I invited Branko, that as a Serbian passport holder, he would need a visa to the UK. As a US citizen (who has now naturalized in the UK), I knew all too well the complicated procedures for obtaining visas. And over the summer of 2015, a story broke about a group of performance artists from Georgia who were all denied visas to travel to the UK to participate in a performance art festival. Of course, I didn’t know the reasons behind that decision, but it was enough to give me pause about inviting Branko. But, I decided that I didn’t want to make an artistic decision based on nationality or bureaucratic procedures. That said, in inviting Branko, I was also aware that I was putting him in a situation that would be very trying for him—because although I could provide some help and support for his visa application, the burden was entirely on him to collect and submit the papers, to surrender his passport, and to wait for the decision as to whether his application deemed him worthy to enter and perform in the UK.

 

From the time that I invited Branko, on June 10, 2015, until the day that he received his visa on September 9, 2015, around one hundred emails were exchanged, regarding Branko’s visa. No art was discussed during this time. There was no discussion about the content of his speech, the logistics of his performance, how it would fit into the programme—nothing. It was not simply that we put off planning the performance until it was confirmed that he could come to the UK, but that there was simply no mental space or energy for either of us to do so. As the process went on, I felt worse and worse about putting Branko in that situation, as it was clearly very stressful for him, but wondered what choice I had: either I didn’t invite an artist that I thought was very talented and would make a valuable contribution to the conference simply based on the passport he held, or, I would undertake this task, knowing that it would put the artist under pressure.

 

IMG_2333

Branko Miliskovic, Misplaced Man? performance, Aberdeen Airport, UK, October 29, 2015.

In the end, we were successful, and from my view while I was glad we both took the risk, of course the process could, and should, have been easier and less stressful. But, because we are in the arts, we decided to use our power of expression to bring these issues into the public sphere in a different way. I proposed that Branko do a version of Misplaced Women? as a Misplaced Man? He is pictured here at Aberdeen Airport, just after having been cleared entry into the UK. Interestingly, he is standing in front of a picture of Dunnottar Castle, where I had taken Tanja when she was in Aberdeen in April 2015. Above him, a sign reads “currency exchange.” In fact, it was art that was Branko’s currency—his cultural capital is what enabled him to receive a visa to the UK and do his first performance there. I am glad to report that he is not a Misplaced Man.

%d bloggers like this: