Representation Reversed - The Noncitizen Archive: Counter-Imagery of 'Refugeehood' and National Belonging in Northern Europe
Christian Rossipal (New York University)
Jelena Jovicic (Stockholm University )
Paper short abstract:
We explore the violent visual representation of 'refugees' in the mainstream media while foregrounding alternative tactics of self-representation through community (an)archiving. We ask if the representation of 'refugees' can seize to rely on speciation of the 'Other' for self-speciation?
Paper long abstract:
In Archives of the Insensible, anthropologist and media scholar Allen Feldman argues that the noncitizen (stateless, refugee, sans papier) 'Other' not only co-constitutes sovereign Man and the nation-state through an inclusive exclusion, but that that the body of the 'Other' also serves as an "archival support" that "constitutes the unity, the presence of a sovereign subject to itself in a political economy of attention/retention." (189f) We are interested in what happens when the noncitizen subject reverses this logic in and by (an)archiving the performance of a dissensual claim to the common (Rancière) and the right to have rights (Arendt). That is to say, what happens when the noncitizen appears in public through resistant, tactical modes of performance (de Carteau), despite being the "part of no part" in the life of the polis? Moreover, what happens when such performances are re-circulated and given new liveness through archival techniques and anarchival processes (Murphie)? Is there a potential for opening up a zone of indistinction and undecidability that traverses the rupture between the human and the nonhuman human? Is the collective (an)archival process an opening toward a "non-sovereign meeting" that does not rely on speciation of the Other for self-speciation? This paper is an investigation into these questions, grounded in our joint research, fieldwork, and long-time collaboration with the Swedish-based activist-collective Noncitizen. Drawing on Seyla Benhabib's jurisgenerative principle (2006) and Jürgen Hamacher's notion of the euché (2004), we will attempt to plot noncitizen collective archiving as a practice in excess of biopolitics.
The visual art of refugees: expressions of flight and exile [Anthropology of the Middle East and Central Eurasia Network Panel]