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header above: © Filipa César, The Embassy, 2011
In the context of ISOE exhibition, we would like to inform you now and then about the project’s progress.







Februar 2013

Second ISOE pre-event in Paris

Paris 2013

Photos: S.Schielke

Under the title migrants (in)visible, the second Parisian ISOE pre-event focused on questions of visual representation in photography, art and film in the context of African migration in Paris, was held on February, the 8th and 9th.

The event was organized by the ISOE-curator Daniela Swarowsky as well as by the ISOE-researcher Aissatou Mbodj in cooperation with the Parisian art space Espace Khiasma and the curatorial-collective Le Silo.

Taking established images of migration as its starting point, the event envisaged to clarify the position migrants acquire beyond existing visual representations and how approaches for a new pictorial language are to be found. In doing so, the ISOE-curator Daniela Swarowsky hoped to find an answer to the question why and how certain kinds of images have been reproduced in public media as well as in the arts for years.

“As I learned in my investigations, the motive of a sorrowful wandering through the desert or the by now strained motive of an overcrowded boat are popular images  ̶  especially in pictures dealing with West African migration in and to Europe. While the headscarf-wearing-woman has become a predominant symbol for migration in Germany, stigmatized places such as the Foyers, the so-called guest-worker’s dormitories, are still associated with West African migration in France. Therefore, the ISOE-pre-event aimed to critically discuss the coming-into-being of visual representations of migration.”

In the well-attended event, a vivid discussion between audience and podium arose. It circled around the following questions: When and how do migrants become visible and to which extend do they stay invisible? Is the choice to employ a certain kind of image under the control of those in power and if so, which positions are acquired by the producers of the images and the media in this process? Which role well-established motives for the reproduction of stereotypes play? In which way does the pictorial language of European photographers differ from that of photographers with a migratory background?

In the frame of the ISOE-exhibition project, the researcher Aissatou Mhodj and the artist Anissa Michalon are currently collaborating the Parisian Foyers. Under the title Focale sur les Foyers, two independent  photographic series by Anissa Michalon and Vincent Leroux about West African migration in relation to the Parisian Foyers have been presented and discussed during the migrants (in)visible event. Both works follow different approaches and reflect critically the process of image production around West African residents of the Foyers. These photographic series will be found againt to be presented in the final exhibition Still in Search of Europe? at Kunstraum Bethanien in November.


September 2012

Bofa da Cara commission supported by Foreign Office Subsahara

Bofa da Cara, My African mind, video, colour, sound, 6 min 11 sec, 2010


ISOE welcomes Bofa da Cara as participating artists. The artist collective around Angolan media artists Nástio Mosquito is invited to produce a programmatic video work: My European Mind (working title). The starting point of this project will be the challenging question: How does Europe influence reality and imagination of Africans today?

My European Mind is made possible by an additional funding from the German Foreign Office/ Subsahara Department


June 2012

First ISOE pre-event in Paris
The cooperation between French anthropologist Aissatou Mbodj and ISOE curator and filmmaker Daniela Swarowksy has turned out quite fruitful. The outcome of their inspired exchange resulted in an event at one of the Paris foyers (migrant hostels) as part of the 4th festival de cinema des foyers. The mostly West African inhabitants of the Foyer Lorraine at the 19th Parisian district were invited to participate in the debate „Migrer ici, comment en parler là-bas?” following the screening of Messages from Paradise (a film by Swarowsky & Schielke) and contributed with talking about their experiences. The question raised with this event was how foyer inhabitants talk about their own immigration to France, their life in France, when returning to their villages in Mali or Senegal?



Photos: S.Schielke


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