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Who are 'we' in a moving world?


Borders, citizenship and migration dominate political and media agendas. The referendum about EU membership in 2016 in Britain and the so-called refugee crisis in particular have once again sparked intense polarisation leading to both rise of xenophobia and solidarity activism. In times of social upheaval and transience we need to find space to ask who we are and how we know who we are.

This special feature is developed by our guest editors Giota Alevizou and Sara de Jong of The Open University. It is part of a larger collaboration between The Open University and Counterpoints Arts (CPA) with the Universities of Loughborough and Warwick, who in March 2017 organized a free 6-day cross-platform event entitled Who Are We? as part of a Tate Exchange Programme. The programme will continue for a second year with a week-long event in May 2018. Read more about the special feature and the programme...

A partnership with the Open University, Counterpoints Arts, and Tate Exchange

Citizenship and Solidarities

Citizenship enfranchises as well as marginalizes. Some can buy their citizenship by investment, while others are excluded and criminalized, raising questions about relationalities and acts of solidarity.


Hi/Stories and Memories

Who we are in the present harks back to our past. Read here about how the East India Company haunts us in contemporary London, about how to update and mashup the Union Flag and read the story about the Who Are We? Tate Exchange exhibition.

Identities and Communities

Our sense of self is tied up with our sense of belonging. How can we build communities without creating echo chambers? And how we can become something beyond the confines of government data?


Arts and Ethics

While all art might be political, it can be political in various ways. Read here about attempts to artivism in politically fraught times, about art and public participation beyond voyeurism and artists’ responsibility and ethics in representing others.

Citizenship and Solidarities

The citizenshop

MARCIA CHANDRA and NELE VOS

Citizenshop is an interactive travelling installation which explores the multidimensional means of citizenship in a neoliberal world. It opposes the neoliberal concept of the acquisition of citizenship by investment, as is offered by an increasing number of governments across the world today. Instead, it asserts the multidimensional needs and interpretations of citizenship by the world’s people, and instigates a radical humanistic inquiry that seeks to stimulate new questions. View in full...

 

Solidarities outside the box

ALENA PFOSER and LISA PILGRAM

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Can a concept of conviviality help to remind us of every day acts of kindness, which go beyond obsessions with ‘difference’?

Stealing stories for art

UMUT EREL, ALIA SYED and SARA DE JONG

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Crossing London's Rotherhithe tunnel by foot, we mirror the journey of people like Abdul Haroun – arrested on arrival.

Unequal journeys

AGNES CZAJKA, ALEXANDER GOLLER, NELE VOS

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While governments tighten asylum and citizenship for the poor, they sell it at ever higher costs for the rich.

Hi/stories and Memories

A New Union Flag?

MARCIA CHANDRA and GIL MUALEM DORON

The New Union Flag is a modified version of the Union Jack, which includes traditional textile designs of former colonised communities and of various ethnic and national groups that live in the UK today. These are arranged in relation to the geographical locations from which they originated. The flag also contains small boats made from jiffy cloths, representing past and present migration from and to the UK. The project was piloted in 2014 and has engaged thousands of people through 3 exhibitions, community gatherings, and pro-refugee and LGBT+ rallies. View in full...

Mashing up the Union Jack

GIOTA ALEVIZOU

Can Gil Doron’s intriguing proposals to remix different heritages in a national flag aid processes of cultural syncretism?

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The rebirth of the East India Company: buy who you want to be

SARA DE JONG and LAURA MALACART

Some believe that an Indian businessman now buying the East India Company is a final victory over empire. But even Sanjiv Mehta himself doesn’t grant this, saying, "I saw a commercial opportunity... and that’s why I bought it. I'm not a philosopher". In a nutshell, economic forces are the overriding factor in the creation of identity: identities are created through consumption.


Making things visible at Tate Exchange

CHRISSIE TILLER

What is the role of the gallery or museum in responding to the most urgent and pressing social and political crises of our time? Is it, as Okwui Enwezor, Director of Haus der Kunst suggests, about the power to ‘make things visible’ or does it have an even more active and critical role to play?

Identities and Communities

Art and migration: who are 'we'?

TATE EXCHANGE TEAM

“In the nightmare of the dark / All the dogs of Europe bark, / And the living nations wait, / Each sequestered in its hate” — W.H. Auden ‘In Memory of W.B. Yeats’ (1940). Auden’s homage to Yeats conjures an uncanny, resonant image of contemporary Europe, one increasingly divided, fastening its borders against real and imagined ‘others’. Guided by Auden’s quote and inspired by the open dialogue at Tate Exchange about art and its social importance, we explored what it means to be civic, creating a space for encounters between people and communities often kept apart by binaries: artists vs. audiences, academics vs. artists, migrants vs. ‘natives’, and activists vs publics.  View in full...

 

Beyond the babble: social broadcasting and digital citizenship

GIOTA ALEVIZOU and LUCIA SCAZZOCCHIO

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The expression of emotion is key to the spread of declarations online. But can online identities really address the difficult political realities of migration?

We are all displaced

SARA DE JONG and ALENA PFOSER

It is our sedentary bias, our belief that mobility and migration are the exception rather than the rule, which fuels this distrust of the mobile.

Reimagining government data through the digital arts

EVELYN RUPPERT and DAWID GÓRNY

Fig1_0.jpg Citizens have a right to actively participate in making knowledge about the societies of which they are a part and opening them to democratic contestation.
 

Arts and Ethics

From a distance

MARCIA CHANDRA and BEHJAT OMER ABDULLA

What would it mean to experience our own privileged lives as inextricably tied up with the exposed lives of less fortunate others elsewhere in the world? Under the fear of war, as thousands of families fled their homelands, a mother of twin infants started her journey to seek a safer place. During the journey, a tragedy occurred. Behjat explores these events through a series of drawings in order to reflect on their meaning and make connections to a wider audience. View in full...

A manifesto for unlearning

AGNES CZAJKA and EVA SAJOVIC

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Exploring the politics and ethics of representing ‘others’ in a time of global displacement, and interrogating the use of participatory arts practices when working with displaced populations.

Artivism

ÁINE O’BRIEN

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At a fraught political moment, the project repeatedly asks: who are ‘we'? Who gets to decide? What does it mean to belong?

Bearing witness

UMUT EREL and BEHJAT OMER ABDULLA

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How can the stories we tell about tragic experiences connect people and create cultures of bearing witness and responsibility rather than encouraging voyeurism or indifference?

Arts, participation, exchange: who are 'we' in a moving world?

Can politics be more artful and art be more political? Here, we ask if art and digital communication can create new ways to talk about belonging, exclusion and responsibility.

The citizenshop

Freedom of movement means no such thing. Movement is a marketplace – how much does it cost?

Solidarities outside the box

Can the expression of conviviality act as a reminder of everyday acts of kindness?

Fifty rooms

As the body moves and migrates, it holds memories, it breaks and repairs, ages and becomes ‘infected’ – with new thoughts, utopian dreams. It arrives in a space already claimed by others.

Stealing stories for art: migration, voyeurism and the appropriation of injustice

In On a Wing and a Prayer, we cross London's Rotherhithe tunnel by foot, mirroring the journey of people like Abdul Haroun – arrested on arrival. Why are some rewarded for making such a journey, others incarcerated?

Unequal journeys: exploring the contradictions of citizenship and asylum regimes

While governments tighten asylum and citizenship for the poor and persecuted, they sell it at ever higher costs for the rich.

A New Union Flag

How can the Union Jack be made more open, more participatory, more held in common?

Mashing up the Union Jack

Can Gil Doron’s intriguing proposals to remix different heritages in a national flag aid processes of cultural syncretism?

The rebirth of the East India Company: buy who you want to be

Intrigued by East India Company shops appearing in contemporary London, artist Laura Malacart shows that an Indian businessman buying the East India Company doesn’t yet constitute a final victory over empire.

Making things visible at Tate Exchange

What is the role of the gallery or museum in responding to the most urgent and pressing social and political crises of our time? 

Art and migration: who are 'we'?

“In the nightmare of the dark  / All the dogs of Europe bark, / And the living nations wait, / Each sequestered in its hate”.

Beyond the babble: social broadcasting and digital citizenship

The expression of emotion is key to the spread of declarations online. But can online identities really address the difficult political realities of migration?

We are all displaced

It is our sedentary bias, our belief that mobility and migration are the exception rather than the rule, which fuels this distrust of the mobile – but anyone can experience displacement.

Reimagining government data through the digital arts

Citizens have a right to actively participate in making knowledge about the societies of which they are a part and opening them to democratic contestation, intervention and reinvention.

From a distance

Fearing war, a mother of twin infants journeyed to a safer place. During the journey, a tragedy occurred. Behjat explores these events through a series of drawings, evoking subtle – almost invisible – hints of violence. 

A manifesto for unlearning

How can we use participatory photography as a tool for emancipation, unlearning assumed hierarchies between artists, subjects, and audiences?

Artivism: charging activism with the wild imaginings of art

Diverse groups came together to regenerate an arguably exhausted political language. At a fraught moment, the project repeatedly asks: who are ‘we'? Who gets to decide? What does it mean to belong? Review.

Bearing witness

How can the stories we tell about tragic experiences connect people and create cultures of bearing witness and responsibility rather than encouraging voyeurism or indifference?

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