This year’s “Europool” summer program follows the theme of “(dis)Unity in (in)Difference”, bringing together critical voices focussing on the paradoxes and political absurdities of national borders, and the way they are negotiated through the body, embodiment and movement. In recent years, European border regimes have been under increased scrutiny for their handling of the so-called “refugee crisis”. The arrest of German captain Carola Rackete for docking a migrant rescue ship without authorization proves the incapability of these governments in reconciling the official EU motto of In varietate concordia (“Unity in Difference”) and the primacy they give to border protection and restrictive migration policies. Welcome to Europe: a place where surveillance is privileged above freedom and solidarity among its own citizens.
The current political climate reflects this impasse and the ongoing conflict between the Left and Right taking place across the European continent. This is a battle between humanism, empathy and internationalism on one hand, and the greed of the global financial markets on the other. As a consequence, new parties and movements are successfully assembling far-right structures which are bound by nationalist ideologies and xenophobic ideals. The migrant, the refugee, the other—represented by the one that crosses the sea—becomes the embodiment of personal, as well as political fear. What worst case scenarios are still avoidable and what futures are still imaginable, or desirable in this context? What will be lost forever if we don’t start making changes by building new forms of thought and comprehension?
Examining these questions will be Berlin-based Brazilian performance artist, and musician Sanni Est, who uses her body as a political weapon and visual element to incite conversations around structural violence and discrimination. As an immigrant trans*woman of colour, she asks: How can boundaries be understood in their performativity, and how can they be challenged through an artistic and discursive context? Curator and researcher Petra Poelzl investigates the potential of artistic strategies of resistance to re-shape our political imagination. She reflects on contemporary political and social upheavals emerging since the beginning of the 21st century, where its early promise of free, self-determined movement in a globalized, digitized and “borderless” world is one available only to a privileged few. Cultural anthropologist and social scientist Nadiye Ünsal reflects on the intersectional power structures of the border regimes of Europe and Turkey from a decolonial perspective. She gives an interdisciplinary account of the geopolitical hegemonies that are (de/re)stabilized through the introduction of the legal category of refugee. Europool will discuss these questions and more from the different perspectives and lived experiences of its participants.