About the event

This discussion examines the current state of border-crossing in Israel by African asylum seekers and refugees through the lens of recent artist projects and curatorial interventions in that region. In Israel, the term "infiltrators" is used to describe the transgression of the country's political borders in order to commit a terrorist act, while the more general meaning of this term describes the hostile crossing of enemy lines. At present, this term is also commonly used in Israel to refer to Africans who have crossed the border from Africa into Israel; alongside additional terms such as "refugees," "asylum seekers," and "immigrant workers," it plays an important role in the discussion of the status and future of these groups. This panel discussion examines this current situation of “infiltration” through the framework of artistic practice and exhibition making, taking up the recent exhibition "The Infiltrators" at Artport, Tel Aviv, as its point of departure. The discussion will analyze what (if any) impact participatory artistic gestures may have in the face of Israel’s fraught political realities.

Speakers include Anthony Alessandrini (Associate Professor, English, Kingsborough Community College); Christopher Robbins (artist, Ghana ThinkTank); John Ewing (artist, Ghana ThinkTank), and Maayan Sheleff (curator, The Infiltrators). Moderated by Chelsea Haines (PhD student, Art History, The Graduate Center, CUNY).

News:

Ilan Lior, "High Court orders closure of detention facility for African asylum seekers," Haaretz, September 22, 2014

Related Links:

ASSAF (Aid Organization for Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Israel)

ARDC (Advancing the Dignities of Refugees in Israel)

2014 UNHCR regional operations profile - Middle East

Hotline for Refugees and Migrants

Cosponsored by Artport, Artis, and Residency Unlimited. With the support of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.

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