The Maghreb Connection focuses on systems and modalities of migratory movements which constitute the Maghreb and Mediterranean area. From a range of aesthetic positions, the project seeks to develop discursive and visual representations of the growing complexity of North African mobility in relation with the development of the European Union.
In parallel to the agreements about “free movement” inside the European Union, its external borders are becoming increasingly sealed. The migrant Maghrebin populations and those sub-Saharans who use the Maghreb as transit zone are now likened to a threat. While this notion of an invasion - largely spread by the European media - seems to legitimate the restrictive political measures concerning immigration, European economy is extending further into the Maghreb to establish giant transnational logistic centres and to find cheap labour for outsourced production. At this point, one can assume that the relations between Europe and Africa have entered a new post-colonial phase.
In the Maghreb, migration flows rely on - and intersect with - other forms of organized mobility such as existing nomadic movements, tourism, roaming martial formations including rebel groups, and migration related humanitarian personnel. The junction of these movements generates synergies, conflicts, and sometimes surprising alliances. The Maghreb Connection aims to develop a visual representation of these different movements. This geographic approach (geography being understood as a signifying system that allows us to understand the relation between subject, movement and space) focuses on specific zones of transit migration, such as Agadez in Niger, Lampedusa in Tunisia, Oujda and Tanger in Morocco or Laayoune in occidental Sahara. After in depth research and investigation, the artists present in the exhibition a series of works under various forms, such as cartography, video, photography, text or animation.
A fully illustrated catalogue, bilingual English/Arabic, is published by Ursula Biemann and Brian Holmes. It includes texts by Medhi Alioua, Ali Bensaad and Achille Mbembe, Keller Easterling, as well as research documentation on the artists’ projects.
Centre d'Art Contemporain Web Site