Cross Border

I am rereading Eyal Weizman’s really excellent book “Hollow Land“, and I’m taken by his comment that the border is not always symmetrical. Of course, some are blocked, some pass freely, Capital flows through, commodities glide on by, others stand in line or have to sneak under the wire (if lucky). What else crosses the border, and how? Can this symmetry be tampered with in innovative ways, so as to support… Add this to the street as the border right here right now, and the ubiquity of border controls in our every move (for and against) and … Anyway, this below just had to be elevated from the comments of this post here, with dates amended, since its now time to start thinking out loud how to implement the thing. Get in touch if interested:

June 25 2008: I have been awarded some money from September for a network on the theme of ‘Beyond Text‘, and propose to use it for work on border activism and creativity – music, theatre, film. AHRC in their wisdom and generosity have included money for people from India to come to Berlin London Copenhagen – and possibly Barcelona, this year and next.

The project: we are gathering Border Activist/artists from a couple of organizations and propose to meet together over a week X 6 in the next two years – some casual meetings, some workshops, some public talks – to work out some ways to break with conventions of border arts, pursue border activisms – and of course tamper with Border Patrols. The thinking needs to be furthered as its pretty sketchy as yet, but I want that to happen in concert with others. Migrant Media London, Clandestino music festival Gotebourg, Re:Orient theatre Stockholm and friends in Unis at Barcelona, Berlin FU and Copenhagen Doctoral School.

The times are not yet fixed, but I wanted to give advance notice….

A slightly better outline of the plan: The money I have is small, and specifically for events in Berlin, London and Copenhagen and for visitors from Calandestino festival, Re:Orient theatre, and Migrant Media film, and various people from Kolkata. It is to run a series of week long laboratory-workshops. These will be variously on music, theatre and film. The focus is on border crossing activisms in some way, I hope. Nothing is worked out yet, but at a guess the dates would help – approximately, a week each in:

early November 08: London (music)

end feb 09 Berlin (theatre)

May 09 Copenhagen (Film)

Sept 09 London (film)

Feb 10 Berlin (music)

May 10 Copenhagen (theatre)

The people involved will be working on border activism, transnational, diaspora, streets as borders, the border between ourselves, everywhere, everyday…mainly, but specifically with a film, theatre and music angles. Any ideas welcome…

The first meeting at least will be music focused. A week long ‘laboratory’ on ’sonic diaspora’ to be held in London in November. There would also be a big music night at the Amersham Arms pub. The laboratory would involve various practitioners in music, and academics from Europe, in a series of workshops (no idea exactly on what yet) in the week.

So, these are just preliminary ideas, but get thinking of border again… and have a look at your calendar. – John

5 thoughts on “Cross Border”

  1. This sounds like a very important project. Has relevance for some work currently happening on band music in both sides of Bengal in India and Bangladesh. Would love to share the experience.


  2. Sounds brilliant.
    I just wanted to let you know in relation to this cross border project that the musician-dj, Matthew Herbert, has started a virtual country, which he describes as a country “with unlimited immigration and emigration…defined by imagination and belief rather than by physical and geographical borders…An organisation of peoples that is defined not by its boundaries but by its possibilities”.
    Here, the link to Country X:


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