Erase/delete/cancel, la nostra performance a Artstays 2016. Cancellare una vecchia mappa del Mediterraneo, dove l’Africa veniva chiamata Barbaria, mentre risuona la voce del primo ministo sloveno che annuncia la chiusura della rotta balcanica, con la costruzione di un muro di filo spinato. L’opera e’ dedicata ad Alexander Todorovic, leader del movimento degli Izbrisani, i cancellati, 25mila persone che persero la loro identita’ e diritti mentre erano in Slovenia all’indomani del dissolvimento della Yugoslavia.
Fu a Ptuj che si riconobbe il suo diritto al risarcimento, che poi venne seguito da una storica sentenza della Corte Europea dei Diritti Umani. La storia degli ‘Izbrisani’ e’ una storia di vittime che si trasformano in soggetto politico, una storia di solidarieta’ transnazionale ed europea, una storia nella quale la mobilitazione e l’uso del diritto portarono al risultato. Gli Izbrisani marciarono attraverso l’Europa, fino a Bruxelles, chiedendo diritti per loro ma anche per i migranti, i rifugiati, i Rom.
The act of erasing traces, frontier lines, memory, identity, past and future stories
Creating an ancient map of the Mediterranean, of those times when the Maghreb , now experiencing great transformations, crises, conflicts, and opportunities, point of departure of thousands of migrants was named the Barbary Coast. Those were times when the President of the United States of America issued a Mediterranean Passport to those merchant vessels that wanted to be protected against possible attacks by the Pirates. The Pirates traded in human beings, slaves, and waged a Jihad against the West. That Tripoli in Libya, now possible front of an international military intervention, was then attacked by the Marines, and their hymn recalls that venture.
A map of the past brings to light today’s contradictions, those of a Mediterranean sea turned into a mass grave, the endless moving of multitudes that no border will even stop.
Reassembling a piece of history and memory is a way to decodify the present, It was a human hand that traced lines and borders, it is a human hand that today deletes that map as in a tibetan mandala. To signify the arbitrariness of borders, but also how the same arbitrariness cancels peoples, their rights and stories, and yet these do not disappear.
It is not coincidental that this performance takes place in Ptuj in Slovenia since it also evokes a piece of its history, that of the “erased” those tens of thousands of people, human beings that all of a sudden were denied identity and citizenship. Ptuj has a symbolic significance, having its Tribunal ruled in favor of compensation for the then leader of the “Erased” Alexander Todorovic, to whose memory this work is dedicated. A group of Erased once left Lubjana to travel through Europe all the way up to the European Parliament in Brussels. It is the same Europe that today raised walls and draws new borders, physical and imaginary. The Erased wanted to represent also the condition of migrants, Roma, of all those that seek asylum and citizenship to no avail.
Deleting history in order to try to propose a new one, while walls and barbed wire walls are being raised, as if the story of the Erased were erased in turn. This is the meaning of the speech by the Slovenian Prime Minister announcing the construction of a barbed wire wall, along the border with Austria to close the “Balkan route”. So that thousands of human beings will continue to depart from what yesterday was named as the Barbary Coast.
Our action will consist of drawing a reproduction of an ancient map of the Barbary Coast on a wall, while the voice of the Prime Minister of Slovenia announcing the construction of the border fence will be repeated in loop. We will then cancel the map with white sponges that will be left then on the floor by the wall. The whole action will be recorded on a video to be then displayed on a monitor near the wall. A picture of Ptuj with a written definition of “to erase” will be hung at the wall.