Ici et là – Here and there at Dunkerque 2013 – Hastings

06 september 2013 - 06 october 2013

Location: Claremont Studios, 48 Kings Road, TN37 6DY Saint Leonards-on-sea/Hastings (UK)

This exhibition, together with Les Grands Magasins in Dunkirk (F), is a trans-border and international art project for Dunkerque 2013 (DK13, Capitale régionale de la culture). On that occasion I made two video installations, each inspired by the migration from France to the UK. This extreme situation of refugees and asylum seekers trying to cross the Channel on one side, and yet arrived on the other side, presented me with an opportunity to intimately investigate the complex relations that people maintain with identity and loss, fragility and (in)stability.

The video installation Surrounding Water features interviews with some local residents. Because of the long history of refugees and asylum seekers trying to cross the Channel from France (Dunkirk/Calais) to the UK (Dover/later dispersed by the Immigration Office to i.a. Hastings), Bie Michels spoke with local immigrants and fishermen. The reality of the experiences of displacement of the immigrants contrasted sharply with the traditional lives of the local fishermen.

The film is projected onto an ice cube during the opening weekend, slowly melting away. In the ice cube a black object is imprisoned. The water, in the form of ice, seems to become more of a material object, but an object that can enclose, in the same way as a force of energy or a simple bottle. (Read more)

Curator Christine Gist

Photos Bie Michels