Why do we care about our neighbour´s child but let other children drown in the sea outside our own territory? This was the theme for most of the speakers on Eidsvollsplass this afternoon.
“We met some very strict borders when we took Migrant Car from Domkirken to Eidsvollsplass where there was a solidarity demo for refugees at 17:00. We had a lot of work putting the Migrant Car in place in front of the parliament because of physical borders and the guards told us to leave. A CAR could not be inside their territory. They didn’t care about when it was outside of their borders, only when it was inside they wanted it to leave. We told them it was not a car but a migrant wanting to participate in the demo, but didn’t work. We had to leave him in the pavement outside the park, while Border Threads tranceded the barrier easily looking more like a kind of traditional demo thing. The Migrant Car doesn´t fit any of the predefined categories, it´s not a car, it can´t be in the traffic, it´s not a sculpture because it moves and look like a car? People get curious, they come up and ask: What is this?”
Worlds Refugee Day with a ceremony in the cathedral at 11.00.
Camilla and Marielle were there with Migrant Car and Border Threads. Some tourists helped moving the migrant from the lawn, today placed outside the entrance where it almost blocked the entrance and got a lot of attention. During the ceremony the speakers talked about borders. How far away does a drowning child have to be before we bother to rescue?
Overall it was a warm and human ceremony. The priest talked about how the church (just like art) can be a borderless space for humanity. Carrying the textile documents from the war zones in the Middle east into this peacefull house was a meaningful experience.
On the 14th of June, Qi and Даша Гринь hosted Migrant Car installed on the lawn outside Oslo cathedral. At 16:30 there was an drop-in meeting in the cathedral discussing the topic of migration. Among Ed D’Souza, artist of the Migrant Car project came also OsloBIENNALE curators Eva González-Sancho Bodero and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk to join the discussion tells Даша Гринь.
After the meeting, Qi and Даша Гринь met a lot of passersby, observing the variety of encounters and what reflectives it can give towards the means of migrancy, social boundaries, public space etc. Даша Гринь made some notes from the people she met, including a portuguese man who became interested in the Migrant Car project.
“Нe was a very sociable and kind person and I noted with the perspectives of the topic of migration that his brother, who lives Portugal, is married to a girl from Ukraine where I am from too. While communicating, I noticed that migration often implies unification or loss of family members for such reasons as work, other family and health.”
“Also I drew attention to the contrast between reactions of children and adults. Adults which are more aware of the boundaries and rules in a public place, most often, viewed Migrant Car from afar and did not enter the lawn where the car was parked. It was interesting to note that the combination of childlike desire and parental adult fear created a common platform for a closer acquaintance with the car. I believe that adults without children are less decisive and not very open to something new. Maybe this is because children look at this world with a fresh look without imposed taboos, rules and boundaries.”
On the day of the very dicplacement of Migrant Car in the car-free zone, it was parked in Kongensgate. Fortunatly, the president of South Korea was visiting Oslo by the time ReMapping were to seek for unforseen encounters.
How to meet the public through the sensible of poetics? And how to let oneself as an artist and new to a city share personal stories for the public to be a part of?
On the 3rd of June, Qi performed the first sequence of ‘The Freedom I Thought Would Turn Into Nostalgia’. Starting at Fridtjof Nansens Plass and later moving to Rådhusplassen, the Migrant Car migrated together with Qi and photographer Milagros. Through guitar playing and written poems, Qi invited the passerby to conversate upon the experience of being in a new country and new to a city.
According to the observations from the photographer, it was an interesting first intervention where the public was intrigued by the car and Qi’s performance.
Still, asking people to join or participate in something – there could also be a bit of skepticism from the passers-by. It is easily associated with the typical seller on the street, trying to sell something or either people just do not have the time to stay.
Apart from that, one can wonder if connecting these small gestures of genuine participation, can lead to questions of how the experience through art can open up new perspectives, where you challenge both the means of public space and the artist herself:
“I mean, asking random people in the street for help is a quite embarrassing and uncomfortable thing for me. It reminds me of the first time when I moved from a small town to a big city. The chaotic and the distance from the streets frustrated me. But I had to ask people for help even though I was not reluctant to. Doing this performance makes me think about the past me who tried very hard to adapt to life in a big city.”
The last couple of month ‘Migrant Car’ has been built and constructed at Eddie King’s upholstery workshop at Grünerløkka by craftworkers Eddie King himself, Ronny Karlsen and Kristian Rosskopf.
On the 25th of May it was finally time to officially set Migrant Car out in Oslo city center for the first time. Rolling down to Myntgata, to OsloBIENNALE headquarter, local people and co-producers joined the parade followed by police horses keeping the streets safe for the journey. Here everyone took the opportunity to celebrate not only the Migrant Car, but also the very social encounters that have been developed in the process of the making.
“The Migrant Car is about bringing people together”