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Duration: 06.06. - 11.08.2024 

Exhibition Opening: 06.06.2024, 7pm


curated by Tanja-Bianca Schmidt, a member of the DFG research project "Image Protests on Social Media"

Opening hours: Thu/Fri 4pm-8pm, Sat 12pm-4pm and by appointment

Europe's (external) borders are characterized by violence, which has never been as visible as it is today. Numerous images of disturbing events at the borders are circulated in the media. Illegalized and endangered bodies at fences, in camps or on boats are confronted by heavily armed border police. Tumultuous video recordings, images of violent pushbacks, of injured and dead bodies - an image phenomenon of the dangerous border has emerged.


Yet, the origin and aesthetics of these images are very different. Their sources range from surveillance cameras, from the cameras of professional news teams, and NGOs, to the smartphones of refugees. Their image politics are highly confusing and ambivalent. Images often play the central role in a controversial public debate on refugees and asylum and are instrumentalized by both supporters and opponents of migration. A critical view on mediatized border regimes is therefore urgently needed.

With Davor Konjikušić, Tamara Kametani and the research agency Border Forensics, the exhibition juxtaposes three artistic positions that deal with images from Europe's border zones. Their works open up a new perspective on migration: Who is allowed or able to cross borders? How are borders constituted? And what functions do the images have?


In his series "Aura: F37" (2015), Davor Konjikušić (*1979, lives and works in Zagreb) draws on the aesthetics of state surveillance images taken with night vision cameras. This strategy of visualizing clandestine migration captures more than the human eye can see and therefore allows to locate movements even in complete darkness or impenetrable vegetation. His images of the Hungarian border, which is known for brutal pushbacks, show groups of people in shades of grey. They appear abstracted and ghost-like. Despite or perhaps because of their high degree of abstraction, these images evoke the omnipresent iconography of migrant bodies at the dangerous border: There is no doubt that we are not seeing strollers here, but refugees who want to cross the "green border" incognito. The photographs are accompanied by an audio track in which a migrant tells us the story of his escape.


The artist Tamara Kametani (*1988, lives and works in Athens) presents her video installation "The Sea Stayed Calm for 180 Miles" (2017). The work explores the transmission of border areas via Google Earth. She uses visual material that supposedly shows the sea off Lampedusa in real time, but in fact is based on a computer-generated animation used by Google. On these images the surface of the water appears calm and neither boats nor migrants are visible. It is a depiction that only pretends to be authentic. In the exhibition the visitors can experience the work through a walk-in, immersive media installation.


As a third position, the exhibition presents the work of the research agency Border Forensics, which was founded by Charles Heller (* lives and works in Geneva) in 2021. For its investigations, Border Forensics uses a wide variety of digitally available images. They are synchronized and superimposed until a legible image and narrative emerges. The investigations result in videos that reconstruct the course of events at violent border incidents and provide visual evidence. These videos are not only used in court settings, but are also increasingly being presented in art exhibitions, where they enable a media-reflective perspective on border violence.

Gefördert durch die Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen, das Amt für Kultur und Denkmalschutz Dresden, die DFG Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, die Technische Universität Dresden, die Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung und das Lokale Handlungsprogramm LHP Dresden.  

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