Within the framework of the International Conference on Migration and Democracy, organised in collaboration with the Institute for Regional and Migration Research (Trier, Germany), the Alpen-Adria-Universität (Klagenfurt), and the Institut Integration und Partizipation der Hochschule für Soziale Arbeit (Olten), the Centre de Documentation sur les Migrations Humaines has commissioned the exhibition La face cachée des mots – artists’ reflections on migration and democracy.
The aim of the project is to collect creative notes, symbols and gestures that examine migration and democracy, and to integrate them with photographic portraits of the collaborating artists representing a variety of creative disciplines.
Words written, spoken, recited or sung aloud formed the main criteria for the choice of artists and their portrayal. The individual can access a certain degree of public visibility through the communication of his or her opinion and expression. The portraits taken by Paulo Lobo could also be interpreted as a reference to the artists’ œuvre, or to the position they have chosen to take within society.
The singularity of each photo scene, developed in direct dialogue with the artists (be they musicians, film-makers and theatre actors, literary authors, journalists…), led to a widely varied series of portrait-messages. The photographs were taken in a highly particular spot – the abandoned public swimming pool in Dudelange, marked for demolition in the near future. This public space made for an original background and scenario, with its spacious empty pools, blue and red-tiled walls, and a multitude of elements which have come to lose their purpose and function in absence of the water.
More metaphorically speaking, water is frequently used as a symbol of ‘flux’, describing for instance the coming and going of migrants, whose movements, as the water, constantly change intensity and direction. The empty basins of the Dudelange pool have lost their raison d’être, much in the way that western democracy has found itself undermined by the dynamics of globalisation, and risks a gradual extinguishing of its essence.
The curators of the Centre de Documentation sur les Migrations invite anybody interested and inspired to contribute their reflections on the visually captured messages expressed by the different artists. Contributions may be posted or consulted on the website www.la-face-cachee.eu.
The profits from any sale of Paulo Lobo´s portraits will be donated to an association chosen by the corresponding photographed author.
Christine Muller, Dario Cieol et Paulo Lobo.