‘Resistances by the sea’ is a work in progress research project run by Ro Caminal (with the support of OSIC, CeRCCa and Platform Harakat) focused on the many ways in which gentrification processes, or its lack, affect several coastal Mediterranean cities. The project analyses how, in front of those global processes, and the intersections with historical, geographical, economical and human specificities of each city, local answers arise.
The chosen neighbourhoods in which this contemporary social mirror of the Mediterranean is built are: La Barceloneta in Barcelona, La Goulette in Tunis, Mansheya and Al Agami in Alexandria, La Casbah in Algiers and Sliema in Malta. The project is an undisciplined hybridation in between social sciences and visual arts. The result is a non representative portrait centred in the invisible stories that have shaped the history of these neighbourhoods to display a subjective and collective portrait of the Mediterranean
The project’s title makes reference to two key aspects defining the realities of immigrants in Malta: in one hand the perception of the island as a pre-European liminal space which embodies transitoryness as a permanent condition; on the other, the feeling of disenchantment and frustration towards Malta as an unexpected destination into an otherwise idealized Europe. Indeed, most immigrants in Malta precariously exist by mistake, as a consequence of shipwrecks, ambiguous rescuing initiatives or institutionalized EU relocation policies. Malta becomes then a state in-between to be lived as a permanent limbus, reinforced by precarious legal status as residents.
In Limbus symbolically reflects upon the current links between migrant subjects and building industries, and thus the participation of the migrant collective in the booming of the Maltese economy and their general situation as new comers to Europe.
The project is structured through the video In Limbus and the audio piece Heavenly Father.
IN LIMBUS is a Project developed in the framework of Transformer, a multifaceted two-year project presented by Blitz, in collaboration with Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, and culminating in a multi-site exhibition. The project will build a relationship between a Maltes artistic context and an international cultural network through a series of border-crossing curatorial and artistic exchanges. The project includes curatorial research, artist residencies, public talks, workshops and a series of site-specific exhibitions in spaces across Malta during the 2018 European Capital of Culture year.
Transformer is a collaboration between: Blitz in Valetta, CeRCCa in Barcelona, Le18 and Atelier Observatoire in Marrakech and Casablanca, and 3 137 in Athens,
The exhibition revolves around the idea of symbolizing the material, physical and emotional exploitation of colonization taking as a starting point the transformation of the port of Algiers by the French colonial forces. Architecture des Emsembles explores the construction of the otherness as a concept and as social figure. The Project centres its attention on how it has been, visually and linguistically, build and portrayed the “image of the other” from the western paradigm. Developed in Argelia, the project parallels the quarter of “the Kasbah” of Algiers as a symbolic image of the otherness.
The exhibition, structured in three parts, revisits the Kasbah of Algiers through its streets, its houses and its inhabitants, presented in an artistic vision mixing history and fiction.
In the first part "L'ordre déchirée", devoted to photographs, the artist focuses on the architecture of the old Kasbah through a dozen photographs taken during a residency of the artist in Algiers. In the video piece "Si je te vole la mer", the artist walks the public into the Casbah through images filmed by a fixed camera that enters its streets, its houses and the lives of its inhabitants. In the installation titled "Inventory", the artist shows rubble highlighted through illuminated panels, in an artistic approach to highlight the ruins and the past of the old maritime districts.
The opening of the exhibition took place at DAR ABDELLATIF - EL HAMMA, Algiers. On 6th of October 2018.
The video departs from the idea of symbolizing the material, the physical and the emotional exploitation in which colonization was based and embedded by the robbery of the Alger’s port by The French Colonial troupes.
More than any other district of Algiers, the Kasbah represents the “otherness”. Its winding streets are a labyrinth to the unknown where you want to get lost and where, at the same time, you are afraid of being lost. An unknown world, even for the Algerians, where the real plays to hide.
Taking into an account the personal and subjective experience of the city, a double narration is built by the artist and an Algerian collaborator (Ahmed Chaabi) weaving between both a portrait of personal and historical feelings of the place.
A poem of love about domination and mistrust, about everything we want to know in depth but that we know impossible to understand in its entirety, what the Kasbah had represented yesterday and what it is today, its myths and its realities, and an uncertain future that we all share under the threat of globalization.
The piece reflects on the contextual and unfortunate character of the construction of the otherness, pointing in the direction of that what really unites different cultures is the aim of each of them to consider themselves betters simply better than others. The ruins of civilization are of a moral character and are not part of the past but of the present. They are shared failure.
A video consisting of a series dichotomies in white on a black background. The piece refers to the way in which language creates and reproduces subordination processes. The video tries to open the possibility of breaking this linguistic idiosyncrasy, by using different types of conjunctions, thus destabilizing the intrinsic character of a Dichotomy which, although it is a social construction, is perceived as natural.
The video is accompanied by a serie of 15 photos of la Casbah, which complements it.
The first group of 7 pictures refer to the other as a constructed Myth, something which is not really lived, but imagined. The second lot correspond to the real Casbah, the place, the territory where ordinary people live ordinary lives. Both lots are separated by another picture bearing this inscription:
"Between the myth and the reality there is only one thin veil of disturbing conjunctions which it would be necessary to tear.
Oblivion is a project that combines two visions about nostalgia in post-revolutionary Alexandria.
The nostalgia is seen as a veil that hiding plural realities which not fit in the official narrative and at the same time as a feeling that, while looking at the past, releases the personal and collective responsibility towards the present. A veil that the project tries to tear, to let emerge some other realities.