- PhMuseum Days 2023 Open Call
Shipwreck of Dreams
Dates2019 - Ongoing
- Topics Social Issues, Contemporary Issues, Documentary
- Location Switzerland
Embarking on the quest for social visibility, 'Shipwreck of Dreams' attempts to deconstruct the representation of migration by reframing a myth of a wish-granting boat.
”People would spend days and nights at the lake margins, longing to see the magical ship and have their desires met”, a forgotten legend once told. https://vimeo.com/684948275
‘Shipwreck of Dreams’ departs on the human journey to a better place by retelling this unknown ancient myth about a wish-granting boat on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. The project follows the traces of a self-organized school that roams in Zurich searching for a place and listens to the wisdom shared by the school’s interconnected multiple voices that meet at the crossroads of European migration policies. Together they tell stories about what to consider home.
The school ‘Autonome Schule‘ is a grassroots movement composed of locals and migrants in Zurich. It emerged in 2008 during the struggle against the new Swiss asylum law, which has become one of the strictest procedures in Europe. The history of the school is marked by the constant search for a permanent free space. Squatting, re-locations, and solidarity have built its identity. Since then, the school has been an emancipatory political project against racism and social injustice. Mainly the school offers free access to German language classes for illegalized people and migrants. Furthermore, it is a platform to discuss and critique the Swiss-European migration policies of illegalization and a safe space where unrepresented people can play an active role in voicing their demands.
After years of drifting through different places, I landed at the school and actively started to participate in some working groups. The project began as a collaborative process of conversations with immigrants, activists, and others who passed through the school's history. It aims to navigate the school's multiple stories by photographing its unseen paths, traces, and places. On this research journey, collaborative portraits were set up to invite those who landed on the shores of Lake Geneva to draw inspiration from the myth to enhance their own stories and tell their dreams, hopes, and fears: Empowering them to share their experiences of facing the reality of being away from home and the loved ones by writing them on a paper boat hat.
“A place where I love and I am loved, where I have my dignity…where I do not get fear, where I am happy”. Wrote B. on his hat.
The project seeks to connect the invisible traces of a grassroots space created by illegalized people and the often unheard voices of those displaced, trying to mend their broken dreams. Whereas the reframing of the myth attempts to open up a space for reflections on image-making and representation, belonging, racism, social injustice, and political border practices. Photographs, moving images, drawings, and words address the current uncertain circumstances of migration and reveal their 'Shipwreck of Dreams'.
*The project is part of the ongoing collection of works entitled 'La memoria es un pantano' (Memory is a swamp). Those artworks are based on the research and revisiting of myths, local stories, and oral memory to embrace and retell these narratives in a changing contemporary world. The different projects seek to open spaces for collaborative work contexts, reframing visions and speculative narratives.