Following the research initiated with Issue N°0, EX NUNC keeps exploring the concept of movement as agent of history. The purpose is to trade militarised borders for thresholds, transnational migrations for change, to go back to an understanding of movement as first creative force, from which all stories originate.
MOVEMENT/HISTORY is an online exhibition in three chapters, each one investigating a particular aspect of the broader research-topic, through the work of two artists.
M/H I SHIFTING LINES features video performance installations by Serge Attukwei Clottey and Ergin Çavuşoğlu. The exhibition discusses ways of inhabiting liminality, re-negotiating the paradox of the border as an unstable threshold, a shifting line, which restricts as much as it creates possibilities of exploration and exchange.
In The Displaced, performance artist Serge Attukwei Clottey presents a dual movement of departure and return. The performance installation re-enacts an ancient
story of migration and displacement, while adopting the point of view of the ones who stay – the witnesses to the historical rite of passage. The performative apparatus transforms the shore into an extreme limit, a space where traditions and potentialities merge. The line of the horizon, final boundary between familiar landscapes and the unknown, is an unsettled limit in which beginnings and ends collide.
Liminal Crossing depicts a rather mundane, yet slightly surreal and out of the ordinary, action: a group of people pushes a piano across the border between Bulgaria and Turkey. Similarly to Clottey’s, also Çavuşoğlu’s work takes inspiration from an event of the past, namely the 1989 forced migration of ethnic Turks from Bulgaria to Turkey. The personal stories, behind the known and unknown history of an exodus, are here crystallised in a single gesture. Liminal Crossing describes the resistance of habits and affections, in a present of transformation. The border is a liminal zone of reconfiguration; the joint work of the ‘migrants’ brings continuity in a state of disruption.
Serge Attukwei Clottey
The Displacement (2015)
Liminal crossing (2009)
Stories of migration are rooted deep in African traditional and political histories. Many aspects of our different cultures intertwine at a point, this makes it clearly evident that there was an interaction/relationship between different ethnic groups and countries through migration and trade. In as much as there are documentations of colonial migrations, there are also as many untold stories of internal ethnic migrations. One of these many untold stories is some families of James Town (former British Accra) migrating to Labadi, their current settlement. Among the many families who migrated was the Clottey Family.
Before their migration, the Clottey family traded in alcohol and meat with the people of Labadi. The business transactions were always conducted on the shores of Labadi. As time went on they became well known in the La community, and so they decided to settle at La. Due to their honesty and business relationship that existed between them, the chief of La gave them a piece of land. Now the family has integrated and become part of people of Labadi.
In this work, Serge Attukwei Clottey gives a public lecture on the migration of his family from James Town to Labadi – through a performance installation with his GoLokal crew. The group re-enacts the unchronicled trade and migration stories of the Clottey Family on the Labadi beach, behind the Artists Alliance Gallery, where the businesses took place in the 17thand 18th centuries.
The performance highlights the advantages and disadvantages of migration, using the artist family's history. The Displaced aims to investigate how migration affects our lives in terms of trade, fashion, and domestic interactions.
Serge Attukwei Clottey,
The Displaced (2015),
Directed by Charles Whitcher in collaboration with Whitcher Projects,
financed by Simcor, LLC
Liminal Crossing, was commissioned by Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen in 2009. The film is a re-enactment of an episode, which took place during the migration exodus of ethnic Turks from Bulgaria to Turkey in 1989. The scenes were filmed at the border checkpoint between Bulgaria and Turkey and show an upright piano being pushed and pulled by hand between the two borders leaving Bulgaria and entering Turkey. The procession passes through the buffer zone between the two states, a no-man’s land, that becomes liminal and redefined, creating a sense of demarcation, dislocation and reinterpretation.
"...in Liminal Crossing the sheer near-absurd incongruity of rolling a piano across the border between two states is the combined effort of a small group of people, and so on. Without explanation, reason or aim to these narratives, labour is exposed as a constant: behind, underneath, permeating through the reflective meditations that depends upon such work but looks to find its meaning elsewhere. But labour's persistence in Cavusoglu's art is not confined only to its represented content. It is no less instantiated in the material-aesthetics of the production itself. The charged images, the carefully composed shots, the highly choreographed camera sweeps, and the no less specifically organized installations each mark how the narrative and thematic fabrications – the philosophically-inclined and evidently theatricalized staging of discourses of experience – blatantly exhibit that they are results of a detailed and precise planning, set-construction and editing. What is manifest here is in other words a labour of the image, a labour that is here condition for and in communication with the depiction of labour qua condition of the global imaginary. What Cavusoglu presents across these dimensions of representation and its construction is then a 'labourscape'." Suhail Malik (2011)
Liminal Crossing (2009), two channel synchronized (1920x1080) HD video installation, sound.
Courtesy the Artist, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen and Rampa, Istanbul