The Schwarz Foundation announces A World Not Ours, its exhibition for the summer, curated by Katerina Gregos. The exhibition takes place at the Foundation’s venue in Greece, Art Space Pythagorion, on the island of Samos, one of the three Greek islands across the coast of Turkey that have been at the crux of the refugee crisis since 2015.
Given the highly charged location, it is vital that an art exhibition there should address this situation, which has been an unremitting reality on the island, and a pressing, unresolved issue for the whole of Europe. A World Not Ours examines the refugee crisis and forced migration from different perspectives and positions through the work of artists, photographers, filmmakers and activists who offer diverse reactions and insights into the subject, all based on long-term research and engagement into the issue. The exhibition thus reflects on the issue not from an outside point of view, but as experienced from within. Harnessing methods that range from activism and direct action to poetics, performativity and metaphor, the participants in the project highlight and complicate the issue of forced displacement and the experience of homelessness, perpetual insecurity, diasporic identities and existential limbo. The exhibition challenges standardised media representations and polarised narratives of the refugee crisis, and acknowledges the complex roots of one of the most pressing issues of our time, and a major existential question for Europe. A World Not Ours borrows its title from the award-winning homonymous 2012 film by director Mahdi Fleifel, which in turn borrows its name from a book by the Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani (1936–72). The film is a portrait of three generations of exile in the refugee camp of Ein el-Helweh, in southern Lebanon, while the book speaks about diaspora and the search for identity. As migration will remain one of the pressing issues of our time, with more and more people forced into flight and nomadism for political, economic or environmental reasons, we need to re-consider what it means to co-habit this spherical, increasingly inter-connected planet in terms of mutual hospitality and generosity. This is one of the most serious challenges of our time and, as the exhibition also testifies, the solution cannot be the divisive politics of exclusion.
Participating artists: Yannis Behrakis, Tanja Boukal, Róza El-Hassan, Ninar Esber, Mahdi Fleifel, Marina Gioti, Juice Rap News, Sallie Latch, Yorgos Moutafis and Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Mark Hansen, Laura Kurgan, and Ben Rubin in collaboration with Robert Gerard Pietrusko and Stewart Smith based on an idea by Paul Virilio.
- Tanja Boukal, Ode to Joy, 2014