[-empyre-] passports and Lost Highway Expedition

Christina McPhee christina at christinamcphee.net
Thu Jan 17 01:27:07 EST 2008

btw this email is not subscribed to the -empyre- list.  if you would  
send in a subscription request i can process it and take the address  
''off moderation" so that your posts will go through directly. (i  


On Jan 16, 2008, at 6:13 AM, School of Missing Studies wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> Thank you Christine for organizing this and for the nice intro; we  
> are happy to participate.
> In the Western Balkans where Lost Highway took place, passports  
> continue to be a big issue as borders have proliferated and for  
> example Serbia has changed its country name four times in the last  
> fifteen years. Yet we found with LHE that today travel in the  
> Western Balkans is very open for all passports. Here is a little  
> background and some questions that we throw out for discussion---
> Lost Highway Expedition
> Project of Centrala Foundation and School of Missing Studies
> www.europelostandfound.net
> Lost Highway Expedition took place during August 2006 through the  
> emerging capitals of the Western Balkans. The expedition plotted a  
> route roughly along the unfinished ‘Highway of Brotherhood and  
> Unity’ as it was called in Yugoslav times, traveling to the nine  
> cities of Ljubljana, Zagreb, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Skopje, Prishtina,  
> Tirana, Podgorica, and Sarajevo.
> The expedition searched for positive aspects of Balkanization and  
> explored the emerging distinctions of each new capital city along  
> the highway. Although the country that this highway was meant to  
> unify no longer exists, the highway infrastructure remains as a  
> significant reminder of the ideals of voluntary participation,  
> rebuilding and connectivity. Today as the highway network is being  
> expanded and the region is experiencing a different wave of building  
> executed from individual initiative, the expedition set out to find  
> out more about these processes and to speculate about its future.
> During Lost Highway Expedition almost 300 architects, artists,  
> writers, curators from around Europe, the Western Balkans, and North  
> and South America participated along the route with partner  
> organizations in each city in activities ranging from discussions,  
> public art actions, guided tours, visits to archives, and picnics.  
> As everyone organized their own journey, the makeup of the group was  
> distinct in each city. Yet it temporarily cohered around points of  
> common interest to investigate the abrupt and continuing structural  
> and visual transformation of these cities that is both the result  
> and the engine of the changing realities of the Western Balkans and  
> of the future of Europe.
> Lost Highway Expedition navigated the connections of independent art  
> and architecture projects in the Western Balkan capitals and  
> initiated new ones. The expedition did not carry a nostalgic  
> imperative, but provided fresh opportunities for self-organized,  
> voluntary participation and relay between the newly-distinct cities.  
> The expedition generated both individual and collective outputs:  
> self-propelled artistic projects and research, a collectively- 
> curated exhibition and the production of Lost Highway Expedition  
> Photobook. The network that emerged during the expedition has also  
> sparked a long-term project to gather a source pool of knowledge on  
> contemporary culture of the Western Balkans as it aspires to a  
> future in the European Union.
> Some questions prompted by the expedition are:
> Can travel be a form of political activism? If so, under what  
> certain conditions?
> Is LHE an artwork? Can it be architecture?
> Is it necessary to have a material output or a human network as a  
> result of such an experience, or is it an ephemeral undertaking?
> What tools and models might this provide for a new approach to  
> spatial practice, in terms of architecture, artmaking and curating  
> in particular?
> In comparison with experimental and conceptual art of the 1970s,  
> with its main preoccupation with communication (whether visual,  
> spatial, performative, or linguistic), what can we learn from the  
> self-organized, collaborative aspects of LHE about the development  
> of “phenomenological,” “situationist,” “relational,” and  
> “participatory” creative modes?
> What are the potentials of undecidability and unfinished  
> infrastructure, such as those examples seen along LHE?
> On Jan 16, 2008, at 8:31 AM, Naeem Mohaiemen wrote:
>> Simon's reference to India reminded me of a short piece I had  
>> written for FORUM about India's "illegal" Bangla migrants.
>> Cloud of Silence in Bangla Town
>> http://www.thedailystar.net/forum/2007/august/bangla.htm
>> Read it alongside this companion piece by Udayan Chattopadhyay (he  
>> and I have been dialoguing about the two Bengals for many years)
>> Epaar Opaar (This Side, That Side)
>> http://www.thedailystar.net/forum/2007/august/epaar.htm
>> I think it will highlight that issues of passport/citizenship are  
>> not limited only to North-South crossings, but also South-South.  
>> India talks about the "Bangladesi illegal menace".  Bangladesh in  
>> turn screams about Burmese refugees (Rohingyas) that have been  
>> crossing "our" border for last 20 years.
>> I was flabbergasted to hear of large number of foreign students  
>> coming to Bangladesh medical schools (my father left the country to  
>> study), until I discovered that a number of them were Palestinian.
>> Everywhere in the world, there is always another country whose  
>> passport is worth still less than yours.
>> On Jan 16, 2008 4:58 AM, Simon Biggs <s.biggs at eca.ac.uk> wrote: A  
>> recent trip to southern India highlighted the issue. This is an  
>> area that
>> is supposedly "booming" but in reality is coming apart at the seams  
>> as its
>> social, technical and political infrastructures collapse under the  
>> pressures
>> of rapid change. The embedded class structures, amplified by passport
>> apartheid, feeds a corrupt system where there is little respect for  
>> human
>> life. The benefits of globalisation thus only accrue to those with  
>> the right
>> passports. Others are left to die in the mud. In this context  
>> perhaps the
>> only sensible response to hopelessness is anger?
>> Regards
>> Simon
>> On 16/1/08 01:01, Christina McPhee wrote:
>> > To add salt to the wounds on this  issue of passport privilege and
>> > site/non-site, I just want to say, that at this moment our mailman
>> > software at COFA is apparently censoring Naeem's  email so that his
>> > posts must be reposted through the moderator, or else they  
>> completely
>> > disappear.  In the past years (in late 2006) I recall that the  
>> filters
>> > were censoring in re Arabic/Islamic nomenclature, does anyone  
>> recall
>> > this?  it was in connection with the month that Ana Valdes  
>> moderated
>> > on Palestinian issues.   I am chagrined beyond belief that the list
>> > moderating interface doesnt pemit us any way to address this  
>> situation
>> > and that I must appeal to the College of Fine Arts In Sydney
>> > adminstrator whom I do not know. Apparently someone at the COFA has
>> > set up filters for their lists and -empyre- is adversely affected.
>> Simon Biggs
>> simon at littlepig.org.uk
>> http://www.littlepig.org.uk/
>> AIM/Skype: simonbiggsuk
>> Research Professor in Art, Edinburgh College of Art
>> s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
>> http://www.eca.ac.uk/
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> ______________________________________________________________________
> This email has been scanned by the MessageLabs Email Security System.
> For more information please visit http://www.messagelabs.com/email
> ______________________________________________________________________
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

More information about the empyre mailing list