Europe. What do you feel when you say its name? Does it make you dream? Is it exciting? Does it make you uncomfortable? What images does it evoke? Europe.
The imagery on Europe is weaved by hundreds of thousands of images that are constantly renewed but also reproduced repetitively in a loop: short phrases, slogans, repetition devices that fill political propaganda, news networks, publicity and often cinema. A sticky web that gradually thickens till it forms a dense veil of images, conditioning what we see and how we look at things, taking control of our direct experience.
Thus, behind that veil imposed by dominant memories, Europe emerges as an endless collection of clichés that far from generating a condition of European citizenship, thrusts us towards a kind of Invernalia filled with deadly frontiers. As opposed to the Europe of agreements, summits, common currency and commercial opportunities, there’s the Europe of “terrible tragedies”, which reach our dining table at lunchtime, narrated as if they were inevitable natural catastrophes. Europe once was the dream of an open and inclusive society, but is now a fortress that lets people die in the frontier between Spain and Morocco, Italy and Tunisia, or between Libya and Greece.
Riding the inexorable progression of Capitalism, neoliberal policies jeopardise life and leave us alone with our vulnerability. It is within this hostile domain where increasingly reinforced xenophobic and racist tendencies advance, often promoted by the same hypocritical entities that let thousands of people who were obliged to emigrate be bereft of their Fundamental Social Rights. Thus, as some ask themselves what to do with their plasticised European passports, others are obliged to support the European Union’s economic system from a second or third category citizenship. Others. “The Others”.
Most general information media explain the otherness as if it threatened to destroy some very important features that help define the alleged bearers of such “official identity”. The identity of “our folk”. “Us”. In those same media, the term “immigrant” is used too often in dominant representation as a synonym of “assailant, invader, varmint, exiled person, terrorist, criminal, foreigner, stranger, non-citizen, worker in transit, illegal element…” Ignoring the fact that borders are limits that define artificial differences between some people and the rest. As if being a migrant were like a title or a stigma passed down through generations. We’re all crossed by borders, true, but only some are killed by them.
Versus this situation, the need appears to hack the veil, to use melting-pot remix as a mean to deconstruct the dominant social imagery; and thus unveil and expose social, institutional and media racism. The need to reveal the farce about migrants in media through paying attention to personal stories. To enhance the value of memories in movement and transformation which can displace the rigidness of media-based imagery.
The need to rebuild the meaning of Europe comes forth, starting from the acknowledgement of our shared vulnerability and interdependence inherent to our condition as human beings. To value and promote liberating civic practices that outline new representations for migrants, and that may shape an inclusive concept of citizenry, capable of giving back a right to be heard to those who are excluded.
The need appears to banish the notion of multiculturalism as a kind of decaffeinated and middle-classed folklore. The need to narrate our identities as fragmentary, and, therefore, to acknowledge that they can only be complete taking otherness into account. The need to claim a right for migrants to stay and belong.
The need to re-write Europe. To remix Europe. To Remap Europe.
16th ZEMOS98 Festival - Remapping Europe
Remapping Europe is, apart from the title for the 16th Edition of ZEMOS98 Festival, a project coordinated by Doc Next Network, to research and work on the concept and tool of remixing as a method to re-visualize, reconsider, and reinvent the dominant imagery about Europe.