Mediated migration with Corina Ilea

The event is part of the seminar series Migration in a Global Perspective and will take place on February 28, Room 102, Faculty of Sociology and Social Assistance, Panduri Campus, at 17.00.

Mobility and migration are increasingly important phenomena of contemporary society. Native lands, borders, and new social and cultural environments pose imaginary and factual challenges that must be faced in the process. Under conditions of uprootedness, migration, social transformations, and exclusions from the domain of visibility, the means to tackle these phenomena are inadequate. The “solidity” of communities as experienced in modern times has given over to the “liquidity” and mediation of social and cultural paradigms. Within contemporary patterns of migration, the production and exhibition of art are relocated according to centres of influence, exchange, and collaboration – manifesting a continuous restlessness that positions the resulting works in constant negotiation with the cultural spaces and traditions they come in contact with. A number of Romanian artists began to address themes of migration in works that explored the transition from private to public and figured the transgression of physical, ideological, and cultural borders. The question of migration underlies the fundamental vulnerability at the core of mobility patterns, radically dislodging the “common ground” of Romanian art production. The stories of immigrants often remain untold, fall into oblivion, and ultimately fail to pierce the silence that accompanies displacement. However, some artistic works bear witness to this phenomenon and transform it through acts of imagination and fictionalization. Bejenaru’s Travel Guide (2005–07) and Maersk Dubai (2007), both address illegal immigration, as well as the precariousness of this liminal status. Bejenaru’s Travel Guide is a pocket brochure that functions as an unofficial guide for illegal emigration from Romania to Europe and more specifically, to the United Kingdom. Containing real maps of train routes from Romania to France and Belgium, with legends attached, locating with precision train stations, border stations, or punct terminus in this case, in England. This work was completed in 2005, two years before Romania became a member of the European Union. When borders between Romania and the European Union became fluid, Travel Guide lost its practical function, in political and geographical terms. But the uncertainty about the future after the Brexit vote suggests that something of the sort might be needed again.

Short Bio: Corina Ilea is a Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Bucharest (ICUB). Corina was a Faculty Member at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada (2008-2014) teaching art history with a focus on contemporary photography, video art and installation. In 2015 she was Associate Curator at Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal – International Biennial of the Contemporary Image. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History at Concordia University (2012), with a thesis entitled Contemporary Romanian Photography and Video Art after 1989: Perspectives on a State of Unprotectedness, which addressed contemporary Romanian photography and video art produced after 1989. Her doctoral thesis analyzed this cultural production having in view themes of containment as manifest and enforced during Communism; the long-term effects of this socio-political system; and visual representations that activate the civil contract of photography. She gave presentations and conferences in Canada, United States and Europe (Montreal, Guelph, Kingston, Boston, Leeds, Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Iasi) and her writings have been published in Ciel Variable and Vector/Critical Research in Context among others. In 2014 she was Research Assistant, Canadian Photography History Group, focusing on photographic representations of migration in Canada.

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