Refugee Mobilities in Contemporary Art and Popular Culture
How can art and popular culture respond to the growing number of refugees and displaced people around the world? How can images communicate the diverse experiences of displacement, statelessness, and border crossing? How can we rethink refugee narratives outside the “crisis” or “emergency” framework?
In the last several decades, the Mediterranean has been transformed into a fatal space for those attempting to cross without documents. The dominant Eurocentric perspective reductively views these migrant and refugee crossings as violations of European borders, framing them as a threat that needs to be contained or curtailed. Such limited frameworks feed into categories of “emergency” or “crisis,” which demand immediate intervention and top-down governmental solutions. In this project, I will explore recent cinematic and artistic works that counter and disrupt the “crisis” framework and the sense of urgency and tragedy it evokes. Drawing on theories of palimpsestic memory and dark humor, I will investigate the ways in which films and artworks establish mnemonic connections across diverse experiences of displacement and challenge the hegemonic choreography of European borders. Joining aesthetic issues to sociopolitical ones, I will think through how the works in question allow for new forms of imagination and visuality, providing a space in which alternative stories can be told.
1) Bayraktar, Nilgun. Mobility and Migration in Film and Moving Image Art: Cinema Beyond Europe. New York: Routledge, 2016.
2) Bayraktar, Nilgun. “Heterotopic Intersections of Tourism and Undocumented Migration in Southern Europe: The Video Essay Sudeuropa(2005-7),” New Cinemas Journal of Contemporary Film, 10:3 (2013): 17-43.
3) Bayraktar, Nilgun. “Spectrality and Dark Humor in Artistic Representations of Refugee Mobilities.” The Screen City Biennial Journal 1 (2017).
Personal page: https://portal.cca.edu/people/nbayraktar