Wandering Identities

31/12/2003


There are few better expressions for the loss of identity than those Hutu women looking for their children, lost in the exodus of 1994: behind each human tide there is a series of individual biographies buried by the statistic anonymity of the helpless multitude. Such is the case of the Albanian refugees arriving at the Italian port of Brindisi; or of the shipwrecked Afghans taken in by the Norwegian Tampa and denied shelter in Indonesia and in Australia, the week before September 11!; or of the Iraqi Kurds anchored in the Monica on Sicily’s coast; or of the sub-Saharan immigrants rescued by the Civil Guard patrol in the Canary Islands. Supervised by radars and controls – sometimes, like in Jedda, using the pilgrim’s pupil, that ironically replaces the watching eye by the watched one –, illegal immigrants flow like rivers hidden in trucks or boats where they often find death, sprinkling with corpses the closed territory of prosperity. Santiago Sierra wished to express this by blocking off the door and concealing the name of the Spanish Pavilion in Venice, and Alfredo Jarr depicted the exchange value of national identity with a million Finnish passports, paradigmatic object of desire of the wandering crowd...[+]