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The Refugee.
Services rendered to Undesirables
Berlin 2002


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The tides are coming in from the oceans of the world and flooding our countries. The horrific images of refugees as a faceless, anonymous mass tend to conjure up metaphors of nature. But even the individual refugee appears as a menacing figure. The label of the barbarian is attached to his displaced existence, deprived of all rights and reduced to sheer life. The refugee disrupts the fundamental agreement of our civil society: the inviolable link between being human and being a citizen.

A constant state of emergency in a country based on the rule of law manifests itself in the figure of the refugee. A marginalized group becomes the decisive figure of crisis in the modern nation-state and a key political question. The refugee has no place in civic society; he is denied full membership (except as part of an economically calculable mass of seasonal workers). To a large extent, he remains invisible, unperceived by the public and their models of representation - as long as he is not included for image reasons in an advertising campaign of Benetton. At the same time, the refugee stabilizes a topography of security authorities, of control and surveillance bodies and of being subjected to military action: he marks the places of a legalized lack of rights.

The state of emergency, in which every refugee finds himself and that simultaneously controls and neutralizes, includes and excludes him, points to a neurotic gesture with which civil society defends its obsolete politics of exclusion. The event "Services rendered to Undesirables" traces a concealed geography in which the figure of the refugee moves about. Experts who are concerned with refugees in their professional life - lawyers, reporters, social workers, activists and theoreticians - have been invited.

The discussions between the experts focus on themes such as global migration and reasons for fleeing, the creation of media images of the refugee, trauma therapies, border regimes and police operations, questions pertaining to the philosophy of law, the self-organization of refugee initiatives, and the discourses of Hannah Arendt and Giorgio Agamben. The themes will be dealt with in a narrative way by eye-witness reports, analyses of practice and individual case studies, circumventing the dominant media representation and production of images.

The audience, which is free to roam about in the buildings of the urban scenery "NeuStadt (New City)" designed by Bert Neumann, can follow the one-hour dialogues and the films commented on by various authors via headphones. They can switch to different channels transmitting the discussions that are held simultaneously. Against the theatrical backdrop of "NeuStadt (New City)", the event creates a non-hierarchical space for discussion and information and stages a fictionalized urban life in which one's imagination can be trained not only with the help of imaginary characters but also by believing in the reality of people unknown to one.

Installation: Anselm Franke and Hannah Hurtzig
Cooperation: Patricia Hecht
Organisation: Jana Bäskau

Participants:
Dr. phil. Angelika Birck, Psychologin und Mitarbeiterin des Behandlungszentrums für Folteropfer, Berlin | Dr. Jochen Blaschke, Direktor des Instituts für Vergleichende Sozialforschung, Berlin | Christian von Börries, Musiker, Dirigent, Berlin |Heiner Busch, Journalist, Polizeiexperte, Hg. und Redakteur der Zeitschrift "Bürgerrechte und Polizei", Bern/Berlin | Madjiguène Cissé, Autorin und ehem. Sprecherin der Bewegung Sans Papiers | Georg Classen, Flüchtlingsrat Berlin | Harun Farocki, Filmemacher, Berlin | Stephan Geene, Publizist und Filmemacher, Berlin | Hubert Heinhold, Rechtsanwalt, München | Karin Hopfmann, Dipl.-Philosophin, Flüchtlingspolitische Sprecherin der PDS-Fraktion, Berlin | Sabine Horlitz, Redakteurin An Architektur, Berlin | Dr. Eva Horn, Kulturwissenschaftlerin, Frankfurt/ New York | Enkutatash Kifle, jugendlicher Flüchtling, Addis Abeba | Alexe Klosseck, Journalistin, beteiligt am Aufbau des Mediennetzwerks indymedia | Percy MacLean, Direktor des Deutschen Instituts für Menschenrechte, Berlin | Christopher Nsoh und Mohammed Abdel Amine, Brandenburger Flüchtlingsinitiative | Natascha Sadr Haghigian, Arbeitslose, Berlin | Florian Schneider, Medienaktivist, Filmemacher, Mitbegründer von "Kein Mensch ist illegal", München | Mentor Selmani, jugendlicher Flüchtling, Prisztina | AG significans, Berlin | Galerdene Tsegmeg, jugendlicher Flüchtling, Mongolei | Eyal Sivan, Filmregisseur, Haifa/ Paris | Dzoni Sichelschmidt, Sprecher der Roma-Protestkarawane, derzeit Düsseldorf | Stefan Thimmel, Architekt, Journalist, Berlin | Prof. Dr. phil. Joseph Vogl, Professur für Geschichte und Theorie Künstlicher Welten, Weimar | Traudl Vorbrodt, Erzieherin und Betreuerin der WeGe ins Leben e.V., Mitarbeiterin bei Pax Christie und Mitglied der Härtefallkommission Berlin | Dorothee Wenner, Journalistin, Filmemacherin, Berlin | Armin Wünsche, Kameramann in Krisengebieten, Berlin |

Installation : Anselm Franke und Hannah Hurtzig
Mitarbeit : Patricia Hecht
Veranstaltungsorganisation : Jana Bäskau