MisplacedWomen?

Posts Tagged ‘USA’

Buffalo Border/Aubergine Kartoffeln´s Story

In Borders, Stories on February 11, 2017 at 7:58 pm

By Aubergine Kartoffeln

Monty and I were denied entry to the U.S. at the Buffalo border (beginning of December 2016), but I can’t tell you why. Not because I want to keep it a secret, but because the reason was kept secret from us too.

The first thing the border protection officer found in Monty’s shoulder bag were a few loose pages of notes, including four sheets with nothing written on them. Apparently, this was immediate cause for suspicion, as the officer said, “These four pieces of paper don’t have writing on them. Why are you carrying four blank pieces of paper?”

All of a sudden, everything we carried was suspect and seemed to pose some threat to the U.S.: “Why is this soap this colour?” “You only need this tiny container for hair gel?” “You’re telling me you wear these pants for fashion? I don’t believe you.”

Maybe we got turned away at the border because the officer looked in Monty’s exercise log book and smirked: “You do a hundred push-ups a day? Well, this guy [indicating to another officer] does a thousand.”

Or maybe we were detained at the border because the border protection officer couldn’t fathom why we would be making music and art on vacation. He demanded to know: “Why would you be making music on vacation?” When I asked what he meant, he explained: “When I go on vacation, I go shopping; I go to shows; I don’t make music.”

We sat in a waiting room for a long time through the night. We were each brought alone into a small room to have our mugshots and fingerprints taken, surrounded by four or five officers. We were interrogated separately about each other’s affairs, and questioned about our involvement with countries in the Middle East. Waiting is especially stressful when you don’t know what you are waiting for — maybe what happens next will be worse than the suspense of waiting. We already knew we couldn’t enter the U.S., but imagination gives way to all sorts of nauseating outcomes that make the wait even more excruciating.

An officer stood watch over us in the waiting room, his eyes fixated on old reruns of American Dad playing on the TV. I got the sense that these border protection officers really enjoy their jobs, especially the power they get from intimidating others, making people feel flustered and vulnerable.

Then suddenly, with no explanation, we were told to go. How did they come to that decision? What did they find out from their computers? What had they decided about us? What sort of threat did they think we posed? What will happen the next time we try to cross the border?

It bothers me that we were not given any explanation. It bothers me that we can not refute anything because we were not given anything to refute. It bothers me that the border protection officers obviously made the decision to deny us entry before they even finished their investigation, so that it’s very likely that there was no reason of why we were denied entry other than the officer’s distaste for the art objects in Monty’s suitcase.

Not that reason seems to matter anymore. I’m just glad we could go free, and that our lives didn’t depend on this crossing. I can only imagine how horrific it is to leave your fate in the hands of border protection.

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Monty Cantsin’s suitcase full of agitprop materials caught the eye of USA Customs agents.

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Aubergine Kartoffeln is Toronto based social worker and artist

Istvan Kantor alias Monty Cantsin is Toronto based artist of Hungarian origin

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Please reed as well the related article by Sarah Ferguson who interviewed Istvan Kantor related to the denial of the freedom of movement on the U.S. Buffalo Border:

http://thevillager.com/2016/12/23/rivington-school-propagandist-monty-cantsin-held-at-u-s-border/

She wrote that according to Istvan Kantor, the agents in Buffalo, NYC, became alarmed when they found sealed packages of hypodermic needles in his luggage. Kantor is renowned for his “blood art” — using his own blood to splatter walls in museums like the MoMA to protest the “commodification” of art — and has been arrested numerous times both here and abroad.

He says the customs agents were also irked by the megaphone bearing Kantor’s trademark “Neoism” slogan, along with his Nazi-like cap, Chinese security armbands and red flag — all props for the satirical performances he planned to stage.

Although Kantor has been detained at the border before, he says he’s had no trouble coming into the U.S. in the last three years. But this was different.

“They took me and my girlfriend to a special room for fingerprints and mugshots,” he said, “and that’s where the more serious questioning began — especially about my travels in China,” where Kantor has been teaching multimedia art. “They wanted to know if I had visited Pakistan, Libya, Palestine and other Middle Eastern countries.”

After three hours of grilling, Kantor and his girlfriend were put in a car and taken across the border, where they were forced to take a $220 cab ride back to Toronto because it was 4 a.m.

“We never got a concrete explanation or piece of paper or anything to explain why we were turned away,” Kantor said.

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“MISPLACED WOMEN?” installation is on exhibit at the Feminism Is Politics! exhibition curated by Olga Kopenkina, in Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York, September 28–November 23, 2016.

In New York, News on September 30, 2016 at 10:20 pm
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Misplaced Women? installation view at  Feminism Is Politics!, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York. Photo: Tanja Ostojić

“MISPLACED WOMEN?”  

Performance series 2009–2016 / Project’s Archive, mixed media installation include:

 “Misplaced Women?” Performance by Tanja Ostojić
1-channel digital video, 28:16min, 2016
Video recording of the performance in Göteborg International Airport, Sweden.
September 2, 2015. Live Action 10

Tanja Ostojić / Marta Nitecka Barche: “Misplaced Women?”
Banner 49,5 X 181,5 cm, 2016, Canvas, marker, embroidery

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21 photographs from the following performances:
1) Performance by Hyla Willis. Central train station Zagreb, Croatia, June, 25, 2009, during the PSi conference Zagreb. Photo: subRosa.
2) Delegated performance by Valentina Medda , during festival Performa. White Box, New York City. November 21, 2009, 5 pm, New York time.
3) Performance by Tanja Ostojić, November 21, 2009, 11 pm Berlin time (5pm New York time, simultaneously with Valentina Medda), at the Tegel airport Berlin, Germany. Photos: DNK.
4) “Misplace Women?” sign held by Wai Wai at the arrival section, Zürich International Airport, Switzerland, October 25, 2012. Photo: Tanja Ostojić.
5) ”Misplace Women?” sign held by Amy Bryzgel, on Aberdeen International Airport, Scotland, March 31, 2015. Photo: Tanja Ostojić.
6) “Misplaced Women? Marking the City.” Performance by Kwestan Jamal Bawan at Western Union, Bergen, Norway, November 2, 2011 at 12:55.pm. Organised by Stiftelsen 3,14. Photo: Mariel Lødum.
7) Performance by Tanja Ostojić on the Bergen International Airport. November 8, 2011. Production: Stiftelsen 3,14, Bergen, Norway. Photos: Jannicke Olsen.
8) Performance by Sigrid Pawelke, (during the “Missplaced Women?” workshop conducted by Tanja Ostojić). Shopping district, Aix-en-Provence, France, December 16, 2015. Photos: Tanja Ostojić.
9) Performance by Anaïs Clercx, at Préfecture d’Aix-en-Provence / Police headquarters, City of Aix-en-Provence, France, during the “Missplaced Women?” workshop with Tanja Ostojić. December 16, 2015. Photo: Tanja Ostojić.
10) Performance by Ashley McNaughton on Torry bridge, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, during the “Misplaced Woman?” workshop with Tanja Ostojić in Torry neighbourhood, organised as a part of the Aberdeen Festival of Politics 2016. March 10, 2016. Photo: Renée Slater.
11) Performances by Kirsty Russell and Marta Nitecka Barche in front of the public library in Torry, as a part of “Misplaced Woman?” workshop with Tanja Ostojić during the Aberdeen Festival of Politics 2016. March 10, 2016. Other participants: Amy Bryzgel, Caroline Gausden, Sarah Jackson, Karolina Kubik, Angela Margaret Main, Ashley McNaughton, Marta Nitecka Barche, Tanja Ostojić, Kirsty Russell, Francesco Sani, Renée Slater, Gabriel Tracy, Rowan Young and many other amassing people. Photo: Renée Slater.
Performance by Tanja Ostojić on the La Grand Escalier de la Gare du 12) Saint Charles / railway station, Marseille, France 2013. Participants: Helen Averley, Alix Denambride, Robyn Hambrook, Tanja Ostojić, Kim Mc Cafferty, Jane Kay Park, Emma Edvige Ungaro and Patricia Verity. Production: Préavis de Désordre Urbain and Red Plexus, Marselle. Photos: Anne Carles.
13) Performance by Tanja Ostojić, Göteborg city center tram station, Sweden, September 4, 2015. Production: Live Action 10, Photo: Xiao Lu.
14) Marija Jevtić, Tanja Ostojić, Suncica Šido and Nela Antonović performing “Misplaced Women?” inside the Info Park, Central Bus station Belgrade, Serbia, as one of the group performances in public spaces in Belgrade, conducted on October 29, 2015, during “Misplaced Woman?” workshop with Tanja Ostojić, thematising solidarity with the refuges on the Balkan route. Organised as a part of the From Diaspora to Diversity, Remont, Belgrade, Serbia. Participants: Nela Antonović, Gorana Bačevac, Tatjana Beljinac, Tamara Bijelić, Jelena Dinić, Irena Đukanović, Milica Janković, Marija Jevtić, Nadežda Kirćanski, Irena Mirković, Bojana Radenović, Sanja Solunac, Sunčica Šido. Photo: Lidija Antonović.
15) Performance by Tanja Ostojić on the Central bus station in Varaždin, Croatia, Jun 11, 2016. Production: Dani performansa, Varaždin, Croatia. Photo: Vedran Hunjek.

Written stories by:
Helen Averley, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Marta Nitecka Barche, Aberdeen, Scotland
Anaïs Clercx, Marseille, France
Mmakgosi Kgabi, Gaborone, Botswana
Tanja Ostojić, Berlin, Germany
Sigrid Pawelke, Aix-en-Provence, France
Jasmina Tešanović, women without homeland, who lives and works on-line.

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I am pleased that our installation has been set up so well and I am grateful to all the participants for all your generous contributions to the project!!! – Tanja Ostojić

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Feminism Is Politics! is an inquiry into what is conceptualized by feminists and queer/lesbians in the 21st century as New Feminism. The exhibition features video, performance works and art activism that address the feminist position in action and redefine the notion of “political” within the new millennium’s paradigm of uncertainty and precarity.

Artists included: 

Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz
Bureau of Melodramatic Research
Melanie Cervantes
Regina José Galindo
Gluklya (Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya)
Victoria Lomasko
Liza Morozova
Mujeres Públicas
Tanja Ostojić
YES! Association / Föreningen JA!
Anna Zvyagintseva

More about the exhibition: https://www.pratt.edu/events/exhibitions/pratt-manhattan-gallery/

Marta´s Story

In Aberdeen, Stories on June 1, 2015 at 5:49 pm
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Misplaced Women? banner by Marta Nitecka Barche

 

I took part in Tanja Ostojic´s “Misplaced Women?” workshop in April 2015 at the University of Aberdeen. 
I was also honoured to take part in ‘ The Art of Performance’ event as part of May Festival 2015  at the University of Aberdeen where Dr Amy Bryzgel, Dr Adrienne Janus, Dr Lisa Collinson, and I performed Misplaced Women?. I prepared a short talk for this event about the performance and what it means to me:

To me, Misplaced Women? is a very peculiar performance. It has many meanings linked to my academic interests and to my individual experience. It recalls the everyday reality of migrants and refugees, of people who more or less willingly move between countries and cities. Their personal stories happen every day on the streets, shops, bus stations, and airports. That is why Misplaced Women? takes place in a public place without any particular settings. The idea is that anyone can enact the performance in ordinary settings among strangers passing by; just like anyone can become a migrant who needs to pack a part of their life into a suitcase and move to an unknown place. Misplaced Women? does not ask about nationality or political status. It performs and reaffirms the right of individual people to exist and to occupy space as human beings, whatever their identity. It calls attention to their presence, to their present existence; an existence often unrecognised or denied by political and national modes of identification (especially in the case of undocumented immigrants). Misplaced Women? lets individuals be present without asking about their place of belonging. This makes it a very personal performance to me. I have been moving between cities and states for most of my life. As a child, I moved with my parents within Poland. There was time when I changed my schools twice in one year. When I was a teenager, I spoke to my friend who said that she would like to move to another country, but it is so difficult to do. I said to her “you just need to go if you want to”. It was then I realised that I did not see any issue with changing place. To me it was as simple as going there. When I was older, I left Poland and moved to the USA; I did not feel I belonged to Poland. In my life I moved a few times more from one state to another. I have been in Aberdeen for over 4 years. I am lucky enough to be a student at the University of Aberdeen. I have also become a mother, and my son occupies his own space here. I like my life here and I want to stay here. I realised that “I want to stay” is important; I have chosen to stay in Aberdeen; but I also know that I do not have to stay here. I do not belong to Warsaw or Poland; I am not sure if I belong to Aberdeen, or Scotland, or to any other place. I do not feel I belong to any state and I do not like to be classified by nationality. I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a student, I am a human being, I am present, I occupy space, I am a misplaced woman.

I  myself was subject to border control procedures in the USA. It was an experience of a particular kind of hell. I spent over 3 weeks in a regular jail. They called it “migration prison” but the truth is that I was there with criminals (I have never had a criminal past or committed any crime). They told me that my case was administrative, not criminal; but at the same time, I was handcuffed and ankle- cuffed. It took me forever to deal with this trauma; I am still dealing with it and I am not sure if I will ever overcome this experience completely.

By Marta Nitecka Barche

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