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Crossings

“Certain lives will be highly protected, and the abrogation of their claims to sanctity will be sufficient to mobilize the forces of war. Other lives will not find such fast and furious support and will not even qualify as ‘grievable’”.

American philosopher, Judith Butler has outlined the frame of our times as structurally dividing in terms of the sanctity of human existence, where some lives remain ironbound against violence, while others are stripped clear of every protecting cover and are valued as completely vulnerable. They are refugees. Deportees. Neither alive nor dead, but unexpectedly spectral. Lives stigmatised by an ongoing deprivation of place, memory and identity.

Over one million people have been displaced in the last year from the war zones and areas of limited freedoms of the East towards Europe, risking their lives through a turbulent journey, in a hide-and-seek game with death in the Mediterranean Sea. A bergmanesque caravan, walking non-stop and being trapped in the border transit. They remain outside the threshold that signifies being human. They are registered and rejected as “alien”, even though they are so familiar.

The “Crossings” exhibition, during the 1st Medphoto Festival in the summer of 2016 in Rethymno, Crete, attempted to present the photographic depiction of these moments, in the sense of a historical incision. The venue chosen for the exhibition is an old building of the Commercial Bank, a place which symbolises the dual passage: the passage of refugees and the passage of life from monetisation to the absolute liquidation. This way, through the juxtaposition between the past and the present, what is produced is a synchronised harmony of form and content, in the vibrant ground of a borderline socio-political contexts, where our part is located in viewing the unseen.

Maria Louka

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