Coding and Decoding Borders, Bruxelles 2016

Group show
April 13th – May 31, 2016
Espace Architecture Flagey-ULB, Brussels

Artistic curators: Isabelle Arvers and Nathalie Lévy
Scientific curators: Andrea Rea and Cédric Parizot

Coding and decoding the borders exhibits the work of artists and researchers who question the datafication and mathematization of the border. Over the past twenty years many actors (researchers, journalists, NGO workers and activists, elected politicians, employees of national administrations and of international organisations, and so on) have observed, documented, studied and sometimes even condemned the technological escalation at borders. Above the militarization of borders, the deployment of ever more sophisticated technologies (biometry, robots, fences and walls, integrated surveillance systems, data mining, big data, etc.) at state borders have been added to the traditional practices of control of movement of populations, goods, capital and information. The study of this technological escalation generally tends to separate the analysis according to the object of control: people, goods, capital. From a perspective intertwining art, research and expertise, the public is invited to look at the circulation of knowledge and techniques between these objects, at the functioning and dysfunctionning of the mechanisms of control as well as their circumvention by a multitude of actors.

The materiality of digital borders control

The escalation of border control on land, at sea, in the air and on internet in Europe and the rest of the world has radically transformed the nature of borders and how they operate. In order to adapt to and to follow the acceleration of movement of people, goods and information, control systems are relying on increasingly sophisticated digital technologies (biometrics, robots, integrated surveillance systems, data mining, etc.). Some analysts have seen in these trends the symptoms of the de-materialization of contemporary borders. Yet, all these control technologies still retain a strong materiality. They often rely on dense and heavy networks of physical infrastructures. While these networks can be sometimes hidden, like submarine cables (Submarine cable map, Markus Krisetya et al., 2016), they can also be staged such as walls, fences, and checkpoints (Cartographie des Murs, Stéphane Rosière et Sébastien Piantoni, 2016) in order to demonstrate state action and sovereignty. Both designed to manage human body and to be displayed, these artifacts contribute to the development of new esthetics of control (Body and Border, CoRS, 2016). Finally, border control technologies are all the more material as they instantiate or “materialize” hierarchies between people as well as the passage from one space to another (Immigration Game, Antoine Kik, 2016).

Antoine Kik, Immigration game, 2016

CoRS, Body and borders, 2016

Stéphane Rosière et Sébastien Piantoni, Planisphère des barrières frontalières, 2016

Automation, Datafication and mathematization of border control

The automation of controls is accompanied by both the growing input of data and the “mathematization” of border procedures and border crossings. “Mathematization” is taken here to mean the progressive representation of borders in an increasingly abstract space, structured by quantitative methods (whether in economics, sociology, etc.), by autonomous information based on its own paradigms (logistics and the need for rapid and lower-cost border crossings) and by a specific form of language (technology as a corpus of knowledge on the techniques and tools of surveillance of persons and objects). Some people regard the automation and autonomization of border surveillance technologies as more reliable than human controls, others, on the contrary, express concern about this trend. They point to the risk of endangering the rights and freedoms of the mobile populations or states concerned. The artworks gathered in this part of the exhibition problematize this general trend. Banoptikon (Personal Cinema Collective, 2010-2013) reminds us of the datafication of the body and the new forms taken by control. SimBorder (Pierre Depaz, 2016) and eu4you (Larbits Sisters, 2015) highlight the centrality that algorithms have progressively taken in the control of people movements and access, while ADM8 (Rybn, 2016) shows their significance in the management of financial operations and flows.

Pierre Depaz, SimBorder, 2016

LarbitsSisters, eu4you, depuis 2015

Collectif Personal Cinema, Banoptikon, 2010-2013

RYBN, ADM8, 2016

Borders’ visibility

New technologies of information and communication have not only transformed the functioning of borders they have also changed borders’ visibility. They have introduced new apparatus through which we access and represent the world. Digital maps and GPS system have radically changed our perspective, the ways we project ourselves into space and thus the modalities by which we perceive and imagine borders. Moreover, data mining has not merely increased our calculation capacities, it has also invented a new world. While statistics had created society, and poll had produced public opinion, data mining has created digital traces, through which movements of people, goods, funds and information can be traced, monitored or displayed. Finally, by providing hightech mechanisms for the channeling, the facilitation or the filtering movements, these technologies help reorganize differently the space practices of different groups of populations within and around border zones. Drawing on photos (Calais 1, Michel Couturier, 2015), static and dynamic maps (The Migratory Red Mount, Nicolas Lambert, 2015; One World, Bill Rankin, 2015; Refugee’s trajectories, Martin Grandjean, 2015; 407 camps, Mahaut Lavoine, 2015; Parallel, Lawrence Bird, 2012), the artworks and research presented in this part of the exhibition problematize these very regimes of visibility. They also intend to render visible what is usually made invisible.

Lawrence Bird, Parallel, depuis 2012

Michel Couturier, Calais 1, 2015

Nicolas Lambert, The migratory red mound, 2015

Mahaut Lavoine, 407 camps, 2015

Martin Grandjean, Refugee’s trajectories, 2015

Bill Rankin, One World II, 2015

Critical documentaries

Most people build their knowledge on migrants’ lives and experiences through the press, reports and documentaries. While these media play a determinant role in informing and developing public awareness, the reality they construct and display is highly shaped by the narratives, standardized scripts and practices, as well as the regimes of visibility in which they are embedded. Our exhibition presents five critical documentary dispositives that aim to reflect on the very conditions by which contemporary and mainstream documentary practices gives us access and shape our representation of migrants lives and experiences. Nicola Mai’s ethnofiction Travel (2016) shows how migrants assemble their bodies and perform their subjectivity according to standardized humanitarian scripts of victimhood, vulnerability and gender/sex that act as ‘biographical borders’ between deportation and access to social support, legal documentation and work. Keina Espineira’s Colour of the Sea (2015) reflects on how performing a film in the threshold stage within the journey of subsaharian migrants contributes to produce and activate a specific border experience. Through a series of photos Giovanni Ambrosio (Please do not show my face, 2013) and a video Antoine D’Agata (Odysseia, 2011-2013problematize the shapes through which migrants lives are pictured, while Isabelle Arvers’ machinima, Heroic Makers (2016) suggests a different way to voice migrants experiences.

Antoine d’Agata, Odysseia, 2011-2013

Giovanni Ambrosio, Please do not show my face, depuis 2013 (projet évolutif)

Isabelle Arvers, Heroic Makers vs Heroic Land, 2016

Keina Espiñeira, The Colour of the Sea. A Filmic Border Experience in Ceuta, 2015

Nicola Mai, Travel, 2016

Dysfunctioning and re-appropriations

Border control technologies are often considered to be omnipotent, omniscient et omnipresent. Both their promoters and opponents are fascinated by their power. Yet, they overlook the fact that it is not possible to dissociate surveillance techniques, however successful and automated they may be, from the political, social and economic conditions in which they are first designed then put into effect. Deployed and associated with systems of pre-existing checks and with specific institutional and political stakeholders, they reproduce the contradictions and lack of foresight of the organizations and stakeholders that deploy them. Moreover, in transforming and modifying the organizational environment in which they are deployed and in modifying the reality they are intended to control, they create new challenges. Lastly, they are often re-appropriated not only by the actors who implement them but also by those seeking to elude border surveillance. Border Bumping (Julian Oliver, 2012) exemplify the disruptive power of cellular telecommunications infrastructure that often challenge the integrity of national borders. Virtual Watchers (Joana Moll, Marius Pé and Ramin Soleymani 2016) highlights both the dysfunctionning and the unforeseen re-appropriations of a panoptic system of surveillance by American citizens along the border with Mexico. Cartographies of Fear #2 (Anne Zeitz et Carolina Sanchez Boe, 2016) questions how by  taking over technologies of communication, migrants can affect their relationship to space. Finally, Borderland Biashara & Mobile Technology (Emerging Futures Lab, 2015) highlights and maps the way the reappropriation of mobile phone technologies contribute to sustain an informal economic ecosystem in the borderlands of East African communities.

Emerging Futures Lab (EFL), Borderland Biashara & Mobile Technology, état des recherches en 2015

Anne Zeitz et Carolina Sanchez Boe, Cartographies of Fear #2, 2016

Joana Moll et Cédric Parizot, The Virtual Watchers, 2016

Julian Oliver, Border Bumping, 2012


Faculté de Philosophie et Sciences sociales de l’Université Libre de Bruxelles, l’Organisation Mondiale des Douanes, l’antiAtlas des frontières, l’Institut de recherches et d’études sur le monde arabe et musulman (CNRS/Aix Marseille Université), le projet LabexMed (Aix Marseille université, Fondation Amidex), le Laboratoire d’Economie et de Sociologie du travail (CNRS/Aix Marseille Université), PACTE (CNRS/Universités de Grenoble), Kareron et l’Ecole supérieure d’Art d’Aix en Provence.

The Art of Bordering, MAXXI, Rome, 2014

The Art of Bordering: Economies, Performances and Technologies of Migration Control

MAXXI, the National Museum of XXI Century Arts
October 24-26, 2014

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The Art of Bordering is an art-science event merging an academic conference and an exhibition in order to discuss the material and symbolic construction of the Mediterranean as a border zone, the governance and politicization of migration control, the strategies of adaptation, contestation and subversion of “Fortress Europe” developed by migrants and European citizens.

During three days, Italian, French, German, and British academics, journalists and artists debate how new technologies, geopolitical conflicts and socio-economic inequalities have transformed both migration flows and the material, political and symbolic dimensions of borders in the 21st century.

The Art of Bordering will compare the different and overlapping ways in which art, technology and the social sciences address contemporary bordering dynamics. This strategic comparison aims to highlight the different and interrelated ways in which borders have become strategic places for the performance and observation of the symbolic representations, political agencies and governmental techniques at work in contemporary neoliberal societies.

By enabling discussions between academics, artists and the public, this conference/exhibition will facilitate the exchange between the different approaches, tools and devices through which border processes may be represented, deciphered and deconstructed. The debates, links, quotations, transfers and exemplifications, will also help problematizing the boundaries existing between these fields of knowledge and practice.


Friday 24 October 2014

MAXXI Gallery

16:00-17:00 – Multiple screening

Borders (2010), a video of an animated pencil drawing, by Simona Koch
The Texas Border (2011), a video by Joana Moll & Heliodoro Santos, Partire, pictures by Heidrun Friese


Les Messagers (The Messengers) (2013, 66 min), documentary by Laetitia Tura and Hélène Crouzillat. MAXXI B.A.S.E., Sala Graziella Lonardi Buontempo


Welcome by Hanru Hou and the organisers of The Art of Bordering


Presentation and screening of Liquid Traces: Investigating the Deaths of Migrants at the EU’s Maritime Frontier (2013 – 17min) by Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani


Presentation and screening of Samira (2013 – 26 min) by Nicola Mai


Presentation and screening of Io Sto con la Sposa / On The Bride’s Side (2014 – 90min) by Antonio Augugliaro, Gabriele Del Grande and 
Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry.


Q&A with the public

Saturday 25 October 2014

MAXXI B.A.S.E. Sala Graziella Lonardi Buontempo

9:30-10:00 – Introduction

10:00-11:30 – Session 1 – Rebordering Migration in Times of Crisis

Corrado Bonifazi – Istituto di Ricerche sulla Popolazione e le Politiche Sociali, Rome, Italy
Crisis and Migration in Italy: the Reshaping of a Mediterranean Border of the EU

Lucio Caracciolo – LIMES – Rivista italiana di geopolitica, Rome, Italy
Does Italy still have borders?

Virginie Baby Collin – TELEMME, AMU-CNRS, Aix en Provence, France
Staying, Returning, Leaving Elsewhere? Latin-American Migratory Fields and Migrant’s Strategies in the Context of Spanish Crisis


Isabelle Arvers, artist and curator
Close the camps (video 10 min), data-visualization

12:30-13:30 – Discussion

Chair and discussant: Giusy d’Alconzo, Medici Contro la Tortura / Doctors Against Torture, Rome.

15.00-16:30 – Session 2: Political Economy of Border Management

Elena Dell’Agnese – University of Milan Bicocca, Italy
From Border Music to Borderless Music

Steve Wright – Leeds University, United Kingdom
Cashing in on Fears of Mass Migration- The Political Economy of EU Border Management

Federica Infantino – Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
What does migratory ‘risk’ mean? Decision-making in three visa sections in Morocco

16.30-17:30 – Coffee Break and Artwork Presentation

Stones and Nodes: the Working Out of the Separation between Israel and Palestine, an art-science work by Cédric Parizot – IREMAM, CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université, Antoine Vion – LEST, CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université, Mathieu Coulon – LAMES, CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université, Guillaume Stagnaro – ESAAix (2014)

17:30-18:30 – Discussion

Chair and Discussant: Giuseppe Sciortino – University of Trento, Italy


Les Messagers (The Messengers) (2013, 66min), documentary by Laetitia Tura and Hélène Crouzillat

20:10-21:45 – Multiple screening, MAXXI Gallery

Borders (2010), a video of an animated pencil drawing, by Simona Koch
The Texas Border (2011), a video by Joana Moll & Heliodoro Santos
Partire, pictures by Heidrun Friese


Io con la sposa by Antonio Augugliaro, Gabriele Del Grande and 
Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry (trailer with Italian subtitles),
Liquid Traces by Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani (17 minutes),  Samira by Nicola Mai (26 minutes)

Sunday 26 October 2014

MAXXI B.A.S.E. Sala Graziella Lonardi Buontempo

10:00-11:30 – Session 3: Formal and Informal Border Practices

Barbara Sorgoni – University of Bologna, Italy
Bordering Asylum Rights: Narrative Credibility and the Assessment of Truth

Thomas Cantens – CNE, EHESS-Aix-Marseille Université, France/WCO, Bruxelles, Belgium, Comparing Borders:  from tracing to measuring

Chiara Brambilla – University of Bergamo, Italy
Navigating the Euro-African Border and Migration Nexus Through the Borderscape Lens

11.30-12:30 – Coffee Break and Artwork Presentation

Emborders: Challenging Sexual Humanitarianism through Qualitative Research and Experimental Filmmaking, an ethnofiction by Nicola Mai, LAMES, Aix-Marseille University, France and London Metropolitan University, London.

12:30-13:30 – Discussion

Chair and discussant: Heidrun Friese, Technische Universität Chemnitz, Germany

15:00-17:00 – Final Round Table

Jean Cristofol – Higher School for Art, Aix-en-Provence
Camille Schmoll – Université Paris VII Denis Diderot, France
Heidrun Friese – Technische Universität Chemnitz, Germany
Filippo Celata – Università La Sapienza, Rome


A project of the MAXXI, the Institut Français d’Italie and the IREMAM (Aix Marseille Université), organized by Cédric Parizot, Filippo Celata, Raffaella Coletti, Heidrun Friese, Nicola Mai, Alessio Rosati, Benoit Tadié, Antoine Vion. Curator: Isabelle Arvers. Coordination: Clémentine Verschave.


In partnership with the LabexMed program (Aix-Marseille Université, Fondation A*MIDEX), Dipartimento MEMOTEF (La Sapienza), le Laboratoire de Sociologie du Travail (CNRS, Aix Marseille Université), Laboratoire Méditerranéen de Sociologie (CNRS, Aix Marseille Université), Temps, Espaces, Langages, Europe Méridionale – Méditerranée (CNRS, Aix Marseille Université), Ecole Supérieure d’Art d’Aix en Provence, PACTE (CNRS ; Université de Grenoble), Alliance Athena


Download the report of the conference (FR) by Camille Schmoll (Université Paris VII Denis Diderot)

Conference and exhibition, Internazionale Festival, Ferrara, 2014

Imbarcadero 2, Castello Estense, Ferrara
October 3th, 2014

Conference: A Subversive Atlas, For a new conception of borders and migrations in the 21st century

– Nicola Mai (Sociologist, ethnographer and filmmaker, University of Aix-Marseille/London Metropolitan University)
– Cédric Parizot (Anthropologist, University of Aix-Marseille)
– Lorenzo Pezzani (Architect)
In Italian and French, with simultaneous translation.


Works by Charles Heller et Lorenzo Pezzani, Joana Moll et Héliodoro Santos Sanchez, Nicola Mai, Cédric Parizot et Douglas Edric Stanley. Curated by Isabelle Arvers.

– Cédric Parizot and Douglas Edric Stanley, A Crossing Industry, video game, 2013. The development of the informal border economy between Israel and Cisjordany in the last 20 years.

– Nicola Mai, Samira, video installation, 2013, 26′. The embodiment of humanitarian biographical borders: the story of an Algerian transgender woman in France who is changing her gender again in order to return to her country of origin.

– Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani, Liquid Traces, animation, 2013, 17′. A boat full of migrants leaves Libia and drifts away within the area of patrolling assigned to NATO.

– Joana Moll and Héliodoro Santos Sanchez, Texas Border, installation video, 2011. Images and videos taken from the private surveillance cameras monitoring the border between United States and Mexico in Texas.


French Institute in Italy
Festival Internazionale

Maps of Secession, Berlin, 2014

Group show
Institut Français, Berlin
September 16th – October 10th, 2014

Works by Anri Sala, Kader Attia, Álvaro Martínez Alonso, Julie Bena, Famed, Hackitectura, Simona Koch, Nicolas Maigret, Migreurop, Cédric Parizot, Marco Pezzotta, Philippe Rekacewicz, Stéphane Rosière, ChTo, Watch the Med. With the participation of Isabelle Arvers, Institut Marc Bloch, Mittel-Europa (art space for a migrant Europe).

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Since January 2014, the European Society of Authors (Paris / Berlin) and Mittel-Europa (art space for a migrant Europe : Bruxelles / Berlin) have been working on a new program called Secession. From the birth of the Society in 2008, our project has been to contribute to a politics and poetics of forms for the 21st century: to shift the question of language to the in-between of languages, to the non-place (the linguistic u-topos) where translation takes place. The in-between of languages (l’entre-des-langues / zwischensprachligkeit) led us to redefine the author as a link, as a society (an author and his translators) and no longer only as a “solitude.” The in-between of languages, as a language, is also a way of designating the community of readers around an author as a community above and beyond the territories of language. This conception of the poetic link in the respect of AND in the movements of bodies and territories (migration, hybridization, translation) and their political repercussions (surpassing the identities of suffering, getting beyond closed subjectivity) are taken further in this third program we are glad to inaugurate today.

Secession is an itinerant, curatorial, project with literary, philosophical, and artistic dimensions. It is of course a reference to a certain period in Viennese modernity. But more than that, it is the whole Middle-European space – a space without a hollow, an empty center – that underpins the Secession project. What we would like to do is to take hold of Europe as an object, using art, literature, and philosophy, in order to shift and rethink the idea of a European common ground. Doing so to create an attachment to multiplicity, to “in-between-s”, and a breach in the kidnapped conceptions and representations of the European Union and its nations.

An evening of readings and performances was also scheduled on September 23th, starting from a fiction: a European “ghost people” has overthrown the old institutions of its continent. With contributions from Dorian Astor, Andrea Bajani, Patrick Boucheron, Alida Bremer, Christos Chrissopoulos, Marie Cosnay, François Cusset, György Dragomán, Mathias Énard, Juan Francisco Ferré, Srećko Horvat, Maylis de Kerangal, Yannis Kiourtsakis, Martin Pollack, Emmanuel Ruben, Joy Sorman, Robert Salais, Adam Thirlwell, Katharina Tiwald, Camille de Toledo, CécileWajsbrot, Karolina Wigura. These texts will constitute the beginning of the Secession archives. The evening will take place on September 23 in Berlin at the Heimathafen in Neukölln. Stage design is by Leyla Rabih.

These two events have been conceived and supported in collaboration with Allianz Kultur Stiftung, the Marc Bloch Center and the French Institute in Berlin.

Photographs © Mittel Europa


Simona Koch, Borders, since 2010

Hackitectura, Critical cartography of the straits of Gibraltar, 2004

Cédric Parizot and Douglas Edric Stanley, A Crossing Industry, 2013

Philippe Recacewicz, L’Europe se fond dans l’Asie dans une immense étreinte, 2013

Stéphane Rosière, Planisphère des frontières fermées, 2012


Allianz Kultur Stiftung, Centre Marc Bloch, Institut Français de Berlin

La Compagnie, Marseille, 2013-2014

Group show
December 13, 2013 – March 1st, 2014
La compagnie, lieu de création, Marseille

Works by Boats 4 people & Forensic Oceanography, Collectif Daar, Masaki Fujihata, Atelier hypermédia, Nicola Mai, Stephanos Mangriotis, Migreurop and Ken Rinaldo
Curated by Isabelle Arvers and Paul-Emmanuel Odin

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Photographs: Myriam Boyer

The antiAtlas of Borders presents collaborative works between hard sciences researchers, social sciences researchers and artists. It produced two unique transdisciplinary works: Samira, an ethno-fiction by Nicola Mai, filmmaker and ethnographer, and a video game on border crossing, A Crossing Industry, which was created by the hypermedia atelier of the Ecole d’Art d’Aix en Provence under the direction of Douglas Edric Stanley drawing on the fieldwork of the anthropologist Cédric Parizot.

The exhibition at La Compagnie follows the one at the Tapestry Museum, offering multiple levels of engagement: visitors will enter a transmedia documentation space and participate in interactive, artistic and transdisciplinary artworks. They will interact directly with video games, wall images or installations created by international artists: Masaki Fujihata associates computer generated imagery with GPS data in order to represent the topographic and temporal coordinates of borders; Kenneth Rinaldo intersects drones with hoovers in the context of a robotic artwork evoking the intrusion of securitizing technologies into the private domain (an exclusive creation for the antiAtlas). We emphasize the dimensions of engagement and participation in order to mirror and show the degree to which we are all directly concerned by the transformation of borders. The public will have access to interactive maps and will be able to participate in workshops on video game diversions regarding these issues. We are also organizing evening screenings and debates on issues including the border economy, border fictions, the camp of Rivesaltes and many others.

La compagnie – creative space continues an experience of welcoming and creating transdisciplinary exhibitions that travel and cross borders. It offers an exhibition space dedicated to the presentation of contemporary images (past events include large installations by Gary Hill and Thierry Kuntzell and photos by Myr Muratet). The space was renovated by the architect Rudy Ricciotti in 1996.


Ken Rinaldo, Drone Eat Drone: American Scream

DAAR Collective, Decolonizing Architecture, 2012

Boats 4 people & Forensic Oceanography, Watch the Med, 2013

Migreurop, , Carte dynamique des étrangers détenus aux frontières des États, 2012

Stephanos Mangriotis, Europa Inch’Allah, 2009-2010

Nicola Mai, Samira, 2013

Hypermédia workshop, A crossing Industry, 2013

Masaki Fujihata, Field Work@Alsace, 2004 – 2005


Le Camp de Rivesaltes: films by Till Roeskens (2005), Serge Lesquer (2009), Claire Angelini, 2011

Border Economy, film by Lucas Bambozzi, De Outro Lado do Rio/Across the River, 2004

Machinima workshop with Isabelle Arvers et Ahmed El Shaer

Online gallery

This gallery completes and augments the exhibitions with artworks, interactive artworks, pieces from videasts and photographers who deal about the questions raised by the antiAtlas:

Clémence Lehec, Laurent Davin, Street art on the separation wall

Magali Daniaux & Cédric Pigot, Cyclone Kingkrab & Piper Sigma

Magali Daniaux & Cédric Pigot, Arctic tactic

Julie Chansel et Michaël Mitz, La machine à expulser

Patrick Lichty, The private life of a drone

Alban Biaussat, The Green(er) Side of the Line

Romain de l’Ecotais, Au pied du mur

Ben Fundis, Clara Long, John Drew, Border stories

Olga Kisseleva, Arctic Conquistadors

Martin De Wulf, Migrations map

Joana Moll, AZ: move and get shot

L’atelier Limo : Simon Brunel, Nicolas Pannetier and Maya Keifenheim, Border Bistro et Enquete frontalière


Institut Méditerranéen de Recherches Avancées (AMU), Marseille
Ecole Supérieure d’Art d’Aix-en-Provence
Laboratoire PACTE (Université de Grenoble Alpes/CNRS)
Isabelle Arvers, commissaire d’exposition indépendante, Marseille
La compagnie, lieu de création à Marseille


Aix-Marseille Université (AMU), Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Réseau Français des Instituts d’Études Avancées (RFIEA), Labex RFIEA+, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Euborderscapes (Union Européenne, FP7), Institut de Recherches et d’Études sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman (IREMAM – AMU/CNRS), Laboratoire Méditerranéen de Sociologie (LAMES – AMU/CNRS), Laboratoire d’Économie et de Sociologie du Travail (LEST- AMU/CNRS), Laboratoire d’Études et de Recherche sur le Monde Anglophone (LERMA-AMU), Laboratoire d’Arts, Sciences, Technologies pour la Recherche Audiovisuelle Multimédia (ASTRAM-AMU), Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme (MMSH), LabexMed, Information Media production, Aviso Events, MarseilleProvence 2013 (MP 2013), ville d’Aix-en-Provence, Organisation Mondiale des Douanes (OMD)

Media Partners

Télérama, Arte, PARIS Art, Culture Science en Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Journal of Borderlands Studies, Perspectives (journal du RFIEA), L’Espace Politique, Ventilo (journal culturel bimensuel), MCD (Musiques et Cultures Digitales), Digitalarti, Poptronics, Digicult

Tapestry Museum, Aix-en-Provence, 2013

Group show
October 1st – November 3th, 2013
Tapestry Museum, Aix-en-Provence

Works by: Ian Howard, Amy Franceschini, Ken Rinaldo, Hackitectura, Claude Chuzel, Stéphane Rosière, Philippe Rekacewicz, RYBN, Gold Extra, Till Roeskens, Dana Diminescu, Nicola Mai, Sigalit Landau, Heath Bunting, Joana Moll & Heliodoro Santos, The Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0 / b.a.n.g. lab., Micha Cardenas, Brett Stalbaum, Ricardo Dominguez, Amy Sara Carroll, Elle Mehrmand, Francis Alys, Fabien Fischer, Lauriane Houbey, Sarah Mekdjian et Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary, Marie Moreau, Simona Koch. Curated by Isabelle Arvers.

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Photographs © Myriam Boyer

More than a mere cartographical project, antiAtlas takes an innovative approach to State frontiers, whether terrestrial or maritime, aerial or virtual, and the way in which people interact with them in the 21st century. The AntiAtlas of border initiative will consist of two interlinked exhibitions. The first will take place in Aix-en-Provence at the Musée des Tapisseries from 1 October to 3 November 2013. The second will take place in Marseille at La Compagnie creative arts centre from 13 December to 1 March 2014.

These two exhibitions present artworks inspired by the collective energies of humanities and science researchers and artists. Visitors will be offered a variety of ways for analyzing and participating as they enter a transmedia documentary space and participate in hands-on exhibits in this presentation of innovative artistic and transdisciplinary artworks. Displays include photos and videos contributed by the general public and migrants with their impressions of approaching and crossing frontiers.The two exhibitions will present creations and innovative work performed by social scientists who have collaborated with hard scientists and artists. The exhibitions will provide several levels of reading and forms of participation. Not only visitors will be able to contemplate art and transdisciplinary work, but they will also be able to make use of transmedia documentation and participate in experiments. They will get in close interaction with robots, drones, video games and specific devices. The objective is to challenge the contemplative relation between visitors and objects proposed in the exhibition. The exhibition will thus help visitors to experience to what extent they are themselves directly affected by the changes at borders in the 21st century.

Scenario of the exhibitions

Escalation of border security and technology
The fall of the Berlin Wall and globalization process raised the fantasy of a borderless world. However, today’s multiplication of walls and barriers offers a different reality. The escalation of security on land, at sea, in the air and on internet in Europe and the rest of the world has radically transformed the very nature of borders and how they operate. In order to adapt to the acceleration of movement of people, goods and information, control systems are increasingly detaching themselves from territory and creating reticular or punctiform borders, or even being transposed into the bodies of individuals.

Borders, flux and networks
Border control systems create disjunctions between movement of people, goods and money, as well as creating disjunctions between their degrees of fluidity. Whereas the movement of goods and money are eased, that of people is being subjected to increasingly strict controls. These control systems have severely affected the movement of migrants and the dynamics of migration, and have dramatically increased the human dramas that occur at borders.

Controls, spaces and territories
Tightening of controls on mobility in a world in which the development of communications is rapidly increasing fosters the creation of asymmetrical and disconnected spaces and worlds. The exhibition shows how mobile groups as well as researchers and artists react and adapt to these conditions by developing new forms of sociability and practices. The works displayed emphasize the limits of classic cartography in highlighting the spaces inhabited and reconstructed by mobile and border populations.

The incorporation and biographization of borders
In becoming more complex entities, borders are shifting away from being just geographic spaces to incorporate themselves into human bodies. The individualization of controls and the definition of bio-social profiles do not lead only to the creation of new hierarchies that define different mobility rights between citizens and non-citizens, they also give rise to the incorporation of control and a “biographization” of the border. In order not to be identified and put on record through their fingerprints, some migrants burn or sand their fingers; others invent a new national identity, personal history and sometimes even sexual identity to benefit from protection programs and humanitarian assistance to prevent deportation.

Hijacking borders
The state is no longer the only actor at borders. Migration policies and control systems are implemented within the framework of complex agreements between governments and a throng of stakeholders, public and private, who work below or above the state. The tightening of controls prompts the people who pass through them to readjust their practices, itineraries and methods of crossing. When they are not entitled to pass, they are obliged to turn to groups that specialize in obviating physical obstacles (walls, barriers, etc.), surveillance systems (radar, drones, biometric systems), legal requirements (visas, travel permits, work contracts, etc.) or virtual barriers. Increased security measures at borders always increase opportunities for smugglers and the fabricators of false papers. Benefiting from a heightened demand and weaknesses in the systems, these entrepreneurial individuals create a complex social and political economy. Researchers and artists also participate in this economy, to study, highlight its dynamics or disrupt it.

Artists and research works exhibited

Ian Howard, Walls, 2004-2011

Amy Franceschini, Finger Print Maze, 2003

Ken Rinaldo, Paparazzi Bots, 2009

Hackitectura, Cartographie critique de Gibraltar, 2004

Claude Chuzel, X-ray, 2006

Stéphane Rosière, Planisphère des frontières fermées, 2012

Philippe Rekacewicz, Cartographie, 2012

RYBN, Robot ADM8, 2011

Gold Extra, Frontiers the game, 2012

Till Roeskens, Videomappings : Aida, Palestine, 2009

Dana Diminescu, E-diasporas, 2012

Nicola Mai, Samira (Emborders 1), 2013

Sigalit Landau, Barbed Hula, 2000

Heath Bunting, BorderXing, 2002

Joana Moll & Heliodoro Santos, The Texas Border, 2010

The Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0 / b.a.n.g. lab., Micha Cardenas, Brett Stalbaum, Ricardo Dominguez, Amy Sara Carroll, Elle Mehrmand, The Transborder Immigrant Tool, 2009

Francis Alys, Sometimes doing something poetic can become political and sometimes doing something political can become poetic, 2004-2005

Fabien Fischer, Lauriane Houbey, Sarah Mekdjian et Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary, Marie Moreau, Crossing Maps, Cartographies transverses, 2013

Simona Koch, Borders, 2010

Online gallery

This gallery completes and augments the exhibitions with artworks, interactive artworks, pieces from videasts and photographers who deal about the questions raised by the antiAtlas. Artists and works on the online gallery:

Magali Daniaux & Cédric Pigot, Cyclone Kingkrab & Piper Sigma

Magali Daniaux & Cédric Pigot, Arctic tactic

Julie Chansel & Michaël Mitz, La machine à expulser

Patrick Lichty, The private life of a drone

Alban Biaussat, The Green(er) Side of the Line

Romain de l’Ecotais, Au pied du mur

Ben Fundis, Clara Long, John Drew, Border stories

Olga Kisseleva, Arctic Conquistadors

Martin De Wulf, Migrations map

Joana Moll, AZ: move and get shot

L’atelier Limo : Simon Brunel, Nicolas Pannetier et Maya Keifenheim, Border Bistro, Enquête frontalière


This exhibition is one of the “steps” of “Ulysses’ trajectory”, a major event of Marseille-Provence 2013 supported by the Frac (Regional Fund for Contemporary Art). The whole event is co-produced by the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Research (IMéRA), the Aix-en-Provence School of Art (ESAA), the PACTE laboratory (University of Grenoble-CNRS) , La compagnie, lieu de création, and Isabelle Arvers, independent curator.