More than thresholds, borders have become a kind of non-place – extra-national zones – where migrants’ identities and statuses are examined and their statuses held in suspension for periods that are increasingly long and undetermined. In this issue, we examine certain aspects of the crossing of borders with works that explore how migrants are received and integrated, and the identity-related questions raised by such territorial movements.
MICHEL HUNEAULT, Roxham
Michel Huneault closely followed migrants who walk along Roxham Road to seek asylum in Canada. His images show entire families making their way, pulling suitcases and pushing prams, along a country road to be intercepted by Canadian police officers. The migrants’ faces and bodies are replaced by multicoloured flat planes to preserve their anonymity. This process suspends and challenges the realism of representation. Huneault thus opens a space for questioning within which we can identify with these people’s experience.
With an essay by Sophie Bertrand
RICHARD MOSSE, The Castle
Richard Mosse’s long-distance views of migrants assembled in camps evoke, in a way, grand historical tableaux. The large black-and-white images, which resemble negatives, were in fact produced by a military-grade heat-sensitive camera. The resulting compositions present a roiling mass of humanity living in quarantine for an unspecified time, accurately conveying the current living conditions experienced in mass migrations. The castle that Mosse evokes could well have been imagined by Kafka.
With an essay by Sylvain Campeau
ÉMILIE SERRI, The Space Between the Seconds
Émilie Serri is interested in the identity-related issues engendered by migration, including the difficulties specific to identification with the culture of a war-torn country. How can one reconstruct the part of oneself for which the source has become inaccessible? The work comprises three video installations made with montages of images, sounds, and texts that combine personal and family memories with historical and media documents. The result of this quest for a hybrid identity plays out in the interstices of the image.
With an essay by Émilie Serri