Situated Voices 8
This eighth edition of Situated Voices, promoted by the Museo Situado network, an initiative in which different migrant collectives and neighbourhood associations from Madrid’s Lavapiés neighbourhood collaborate with the Museo Reina Sofía, reflects on the borders which obstruct crossings and refuge for people in the contemporary world. A world that pronounces itself global yet guards access with visible and invisible borders, both material and symbolic. By way of the photographic exhibition Multiple Borders. Disobedience and Common Struggles, the screening of the short documentary film Gaza and a round-table discussion, the session calls for a consideration of different tactics to resist or permeate frontiers: daily survival in the Gaza Strip, experiences of welcoming refugees, for instance the scheme implemented by the Italian municipality of Riace, and the critical situation in Morocco, where thousands of people are detained and criminalised over their attempts to reach Europe.
María Sierra Carretero (Carre) is a self-taught photographer and a member of Red Interlavapiés. Through her experience travelling to Spain’s southern border, she has felt the need to convey, through the camera, that another world is not only possible; it is essential.
Patricia Fernández Vicens is a “lawyer in the trenches”, and an activist with expertise in “stretching the law” to protect everyone, regardless of race, status and origin. She works as a lawyer for the La Merced-Migraciones Foundation and is a legal Neighbourhood Coordinator in Parroquia de Entrevías, San Carlos Borromeo. She was one of the lawyers in the Tarajal case, in 2014, and has worked in the defence of activist Helena Maleno.
Roberta Ferruti is an independent journalist. She worked to promote the first Solidarity Purchase Groups (GAS in its Italian acronym) in the Italian province of Lacio, from the Università Verde dei Castelli Romani, Rome, and collaborated in the emergence of the first draft bills for biological agriculture in Italy. In 2016 she embarked upon a long journey around the immigration routes of southern Italy, ending up in Riace. Since 2017 she has worked in the Solidarity Network of Commons (RECOSOL in its Italian acronym).
Helena Maleno is a journalist, writer and researcher. A specialist in migration and human trafficking, she is the founder of the collective Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders). Since 2001 she has lived in Morocco, reporting human rights violations on the border with Spain and working to support and empower sub-Saharan migrant communities in the migration process. On her social media accounts, she warns of migrant boats adrift and the fence jumps that occur, coordinating rescues and safeguarding people’s basic rights.
Julio Pérez del Campo holds degrees in Environmental Protection from the University of Ireland (2004) and Environmental Science from the Rey Juan Carlos University. He has directed and produced, with Carles Bover, the feature-length documentary Gas the Arabs (2017) and the short documentary Gaza (2018) on the situation in the Gaza Strip after the Israeli bombing in the summer of 2014.
Red Interlavapiés is a network of people united against borders and precariousness. Based in Madrid’s Lavapiés neighbourhood, it is made up of people and collectives that fight for people’s free movement, the right to migrate and those aspiring to a society in which no human being is illegal. The network presents itself as “a diverse network made up of local and migrant people, with or without documents, who feel the urgent need to act against ever-increasing brutal and racist forms of injustice that criminalise poverty and migration and deny human and social rights”.
María Sierra Carretero (Carre) and Red Interlavapiés
This show denotes an exercise which revolves around the graphic memory of certain actions propelled by residents in Madrid’s Lavapiés neighbourhood and their resistance to the multiple borders erected between us. Borders of a European fortress, safeguarding privileges at the expense of the rights of others. Borders in the form of killing fences and the denial of aid, turning the Mediterranean into a deplorable grave. Borders in the access to basic rights, such as healthcare, through unjust laws and bureaucratic obstacles which become real invisible concertina wires, or through difficulties to regulate the administrative status of thousands of migrants locked up in Foreigner Internment Centres (CIES) or doomed to invisibility. Borders in the form of the harassment and persecution of street vendors and traders, criminalising their only source of income within the system. Borders in religion-related prejudice, swinging between the fear of difference and the simplified association between Islam and violence.
The images compiled in the show conflate to form the cry of bodies marked by injustice, ill-treatment and exclusion; bodies that transform the burden of precariousness and inequality to defend, together, their dignity and question consciences, turning vulnerability into a strength. It is no accident that these photographs are largely street images — scenes of diversity. Thus, the importance placed on this common, shared space looks to give the streets back to their real owners: the people that inhabit them.
More importantly, Multiple Borders is a proposal: to collectively build a way of life without waging war against the other and without stigmatising difference, thereby building a world of possibilities for each and every one of us. Equally, it decries – surviving is not a crime – and affirms: co-existence in diversity is both possible and engenders more inclusive ways of life.
Gaza (Spain, 2018, colour, original version with Spanish subtitles, 18’)
A screening of the short documentary directed by Carles Bover and Julio Pérez del Campo.
Winner of the Goya Award for Best Short Documentary, 2019.
With the participation Patricia Fernandez Vicens, Roberta Ferruti, Helena Maleno and Julio Pérez del Campo. Moderated by Ana Longoni.