Karl Marx Allee, Berlin, January 2019 (image-copyright-ATPD)
Performing Rights: Contemporary Art, the Refugee Condition, and the Alibi of Engagement
Was I sleeping, while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now? Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of today?
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, 1953
If the disavowal or absence of legal and political representation is a feature of being a refugee in an era of political exceptionalism, then what happens when artistic representation is inserted into this already compromised regime of visibility? In an all too amenable substitution that can often reconfirm the apparent absence of legal accountability, is it possible that cultural forms of representation are compensating for — if not replacing — the very systems and procedures of political and legal responsibility that are being denied refugees in the first place?
Lecture Theatre, Chelsea College of Arts, Chelsea College of Arts 16 John Islip Street London, SW1P 4JU
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