Ongoing film screening during SORRY WE'RE OPEN
From Sunday 18 September until Saturday 24 September two films by artist duo Maria Iorio and Raphaël Cuomo will be presented at the Side Room / Butcher's Tears: Sudeurope (2005-2007) and their latest film Appunti del passaggio (2014-2016). The films are shown during the following times:
* * * As part of the program of SORRY WE'RE OPEN, Maria and Raphaël present a seminar on Saturday 24 September 2016:
Appunti del passaggio introduces a minor perspective to the ways in which the historical phenomenon of migration from southern to northern Europe is represented today, testing the validity of History and exposing it to the first-hand accounts of those who actually made the passage.
Appunti del passaggio reconstructs forgotten episodes related to migration from Italy to Switzerland in the 1960s, which was characterized by migrant workers being restricted to the sphere of production, by discrimination and rising xenophobia, and by the use of ‘health risks’ as a strategy to control immigration and the legality of border crossings.
Following the account of a young woman, which gradually gives way to a polyphonic narrative, the film concentrates on the subjective, micro dimension, and revisits different locations indicated by several protagonists who lived out this historical period from a subordinate position: villages in southern Italy which have been deserted by their inhabitants, the border zone in the Alps, the facilities of the former ‘Grenzsanität’ (‘border hygiene’) in Brig, a modernist building used as an immigrant health inspection center until the mid-1990s.
Retracing their trajectories and letting their accounts unfold, Appunti del passaggio manifests a counter-memory of the period of the ‘economic miracle’ and exposes the logics of biopolitical control that forced the bodies of immigrant workers through intrusive health checks at the Swiss border, as well as the effects of the current border regime in this frontier zone, where arrests and deportations of migrants back to Italy are a daily occurrence.
Sudeuropa examines the ways in which European and Italian immigration policies materialise on location by reconfiguring the space, time and the daily life of the Italian island Lampedusa.
The video evokes the presence on the island of undocumented migrants, caught far off at sea by the police and coast guards, excluded from social life and made invisible in their detention in a camp, by showing the places of their arrival, enclosure and deportation. These sites, such as the port and the airport, are the same as those crossed at other moments by the tourists or goods. Two voice over narratives – one relating anecdotes told by islanders, the other describing the representations of migrants produced in the same location at the instance of debarkation or deportation – problematize both the invisibilisation of migrants on the island and their overvisibility in national and European media. The video foregrounds the conditions of production of the ‘border spectacle,’ of the imagery and discourses of emergency: journalists and cameramen become embedded in the police apparatus, which lines up the bodies, presents them in front of cameras, stages them.
This situation contributes to shape the typical depictions of ‘clandestine immigrants’ produced in the various southern border zones in Europe so widely broadcasted by the media, which feed an imaginary of invasion. Alternatively, Sudeuropa portraits people of the Maghrebian and Senegalese diaspora, who are involved in the tourism economy. The locations they cross and occupy while carrying out their daily work help to build the filmic space. In complicity and taking the camera into account, they allow access to reserved areas and disclose the backstage of the local tourism infrastructures, manifesting the concealed labour of migrant workers involved in the tourism industry.
Maria Iorio and Raphaël Cuomo are an artist duo based in Berlin. Their collaborative practice involves long-term research and includes a curatorial approach. Currently, focussing on the emergence of early video movements and postcolonial minor cinemas. Resulting in various bodies of work, which include films, performances, documents presented in analytical displays, their work has investigated the economies of visibility in relation to past and present mobility regimes over the southern and northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the intertwined histories of migration, urbanisation and cinema.
Retracing the trajectories of several protagonists and letting their accounts unfold, their latest film reconstructs forgotten episodes related to migration from southern Italy to northern Europe in the 1960s and manifests a counter-memory of the ‘economic miracle.’