Those we call foreigners (Work in progress)
A project on migration experiences and cultural integration process in Germany.
Stuttgart, March 2023
This project is a kind of artistic/socio-political obsession. It’s a documentary research based on the migration experiences of Latin American women living in the Baden-Wurttemberg region. Their experiences related to their arrival in Germany, their different ways of facing the so-called integration process, and also the way in which the German law frames this process from the legal and political point of view, are the axes on which this project works.
The first steps of this research were carried out in previous projects developed in Barcelona and Hamburg during 2021 and 2022, although this time the process focuses on a reflexive intersection between personal experiences, testimonies, affective and sensitive materials, confronted with what is stipulated by the legal discourse in the country. Testimonies have therefore been collated from migrant women as well as from legal and administrative specialists in Germany.
The questions, ideas and concepts on which this project is based remain the same: how are phenomena such as migration and integration perceived in daily life from the point of view of women arriving from Latin America? From here we reflect and review issues of political and also sensitive transcendence: what is it to be a stranger, where is the fragility of what we call belonging, or origin? What is it to belong to a place, what is it to be a misfit? What experiences make a context a territory of hostility and segregation, or of welcome and refuge? What do we exile, what do we try to find in a new land that opens up to reject or protect us? What weighs on the shoulders of migrants, foreigners? How to discuss migration from the tools that performative arts propose?
To this end, we decided to create a material that could creatively interweave the various files collected and generated during the work process.
We have called this material an album: because this format allows us to collect testimonies and materials of different typology, such as photographs, texts, graphics, codes, timelines, and references to other video and audio files, without losing its quality as a sensitive record, a kind of gesture for memory and the future.
The album opens a window to the senses, the affections, the experiences, the memories, and to the present, to the fragility of a process that, paradoxically, is difficult to collect in a two-dimensional format, and that wishes to end with a question that looks to the future: a more inclusive future. This attempt is, therefore, a symbolic gesture to map the unfathomable nature of affective processes, of adaptation, of cultural adjustment.
To these voices who have accompanied us and who are the protagonists of this project, infinite thanks.
This gesture, this album, of course, is still under construction.
Experts of life (the persons listed here are the ones who wanted to continue till the end of the process, although we interviewed 10 more experts of life).
Expert on migration policy (collaborator)
Karina Pino Gallardo
Special acknowledgment/ collaborators
Melanie Mohren (Die Institution)
Bernhard Herbordt (Die Institution)
Paula Kohlmann (Theatre Rampe Stuttgart)
Jasmine Schädler (theatre maker Stuttgart)
Débora Vilches (artist/musician Stuttgart)
Magda Agudelo (La Fuchsia Kollektive Stuttgart)
Project awarded by the Solitude Fellowship Program in Aural and Physical Sphere (Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany 2022-2023).