Positioning in borderless Europe

A conversation between h.arta and Kontekst



Pozicioniranje u Evropi bez granica

Razgovor između h.arte i Konteksta

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Without borders? Some critical reflections on European and global border conditions

The project “Without borders? Some critical reflections on European and global border conditions” is conceptualized as a collaborative work between Kontekst Belgrade (Vida Knežević, Ivana Marjanović and Marko Miletić) and h.arta group from Timisoara (Maria Crista, Anca Gyemant and Rodica Tache). It is organized as a part of KulturKontakt’s broader international project “Without Borders” that is initiated for the jubilee of 20 years of KulturKontakt Austria Artists-in-Residence-Programme and organized in collaboration with Austrian Cultural Forum. Harta group is invited as one of the former participants in the residency program.

Having in mind the title of the KulturKontakt overall project “Without borders” the project we are developing for Belgrade will critically reflect on the issue of borders after the fall of the Berlin Wall and on the borderless new Europe. After 1989 and with the introduction of “Schengenland”1 as well as with the transition from communism and socialism to capitalism in the Eastern Europe and the overall transformation of the Western Europe due to the transformation of capitalism from Fordism to Postfordism or with the neoliberal push of free market economy and deregulation, the historic (Westphalian) concept of sovereignty has weakened. Borders are being disintegrated creating a new organization of space in Europe and world (special economical zones where special – state of exception – legislation is in
force, Fortress Europe etc). Thus, within European Union border checkpoints disappeared, visa applications were abolished, special border regimes are being introduced for the countries that are about to join European Union (for example: White Schengen list, special agreements of trade for countries that are not part of EU including tax decline for import-export, detention camps for “illegal” immigrants, Frontex etc). In this brutal regime everything that is seen as an obstacle for the efficient circulation of capital has to be removed so that the flow of goods that brings profit is not interrupted. Thus, the world has became “world without borders” only for the power of capital and not for the people living in it (or at least not for all people).

While in order to ensure endless circulation of capital, borders are on one hand disappearing, on the other hand they are constantly reproduced on other levels (poverty, racism, patriarchy etc). As pointed out by philosopher Rada Iveković, borders are subject to constant reinterpretation, reincarnation and redrawing. The rich diversity of complex societies is evened out into a flat surface, whereby borders are introduced deep into the social canvas (“us” & “them”)… Creating some borders often enables other to be removed, but the principle of borders remains. 2

Theoretician Marina Gržinić pointed out in her text dealing with disappearance of the borders after 1989 and euphoria of 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall that it is necessary to establish a border – to draw a line of division that would re-articulate this new world that seems to be without borders and where the only thing that seems impossible is impossibility as such – means to present, to take a clear political stance, to ask for a political act3. Having in mind this complex and critical situation the workshop and exhibition “Without borders? Some critical reflections on European and global border conditions” will deal with different paradoxes of the processes of disappearing borders such as promotion of democracy, human rights and freedom of movement in one hand and intensification of racism, exclusion, exploitation, violence and the power of death within new (united) Europe under neo-liberal capitalism on the other hand. Furthermore, the workshop will discuss what means to act politically nowadays.
1. Walters, W., & Haahr, J. H., “Governing Europe: Discourse, Governmentality and European Integration”,
London: Routledge, 2005

2. Rada Iveković, “Translating Borders; Limits of nationalism, transnationalism, translationalism”, 2008,http://translate.eipcp.net/transversal/0608/ivekovic/en

3. Marina Gržinić, POLITICAL ACT IN CONTEMPORARY ART: DRAWING BORDERS, Reartikulacija, Issue 5
http://www.reartikulacija.org/RE5/ENG/reartikulacija5_ENG_grz.htm l


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