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Ideas without borders, by Zia Fernandez Ibarreche.


“The elephant in the room”

Freedom of movement

In the episode entitled "The Germans" of the 1970's satirical T.V series Fawlty Towers, when Basil is welcoming the German guests to the hotel he said: May I say how pleased we are to have some Europeans here now that we are on the continent? ... I didn't vote for it myself, quite honestly, but now that we're in, I'm determined to make it work, so I'd like to welcome you all to Britain.

Looking back I realized now that the T.V series were filmed in Torquay- Devon. A lovely place by the sea that visited two years ago, where today Brexit is very popular. I guess I sympathize with the character and think the same, I am determined to make it work.

Three million of Europeans are the product of one of the EU economic freedoms: “Freedom of movement of labour”. This freedom that I had is what has made over half of the country to vote for Brexit.

Two weeks ago, the UK government triggered the article 50 and with it wants to stop this freedom but at the same time it also aims to keep the other left three economic freedoms: of Goods, Capital and Services.

If you check the meaning of EU Laws, it tells you: The freedom of movement for workers is a policy chapter of the acquits communautaire (EU Law) of the European Union. It is part of the free movement of persons and one of the four economic freedoms: free movement of goods, services, labour and capital. Article 45 TFEU (ex 39 and 48) states that:

Freedom of movement for workers shall be secured within the Community.

Such freedom of movement shall entail the abolition of any discrimination based on nationality between workers of the Member States as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment.

It shall entail the right, subject to limitations justified on grounds of public policy, public security or public health:

(a) to accept offers of employment actually made;

(b) to move freely within the territory of Member States for this purpose;

(c) to stay in a Member State for the purpose of employment in accordance with the provisions governing the employment of nationals of that State laid down by law, regulation or administrative action;

(d) to remain in the territory of a Member State after having been employed in that State, subject to conditions which shall be embodied in implementing regulations to be drawn up by the Commission.

The provisions of this article shall not apply to employment in the public service.


Reality bites

After the Brexit result, I decide to curate the exhibition; EUROPA. MIGRANTS: EU citizens in the UK. What does home mean to you? With this project, I want to reach out art and ideas that are there, in peoples mobile phones. That people do not share because they think they may not be good enough for an exhibition. I want to continue in this journey listening to people’s voices, engaging with the different communities of Migrants that are living in the UK, giving them a platform to express their creativity through the media of photography and text.

One of the people that has inspired me to work in this type of projects is Peter Dunn. Peter is an artist based in London, who has for decades and still works with different communities, putting together art projects made by the people. Peter has used extensively photography and text for these projects.

Back in 2012 I interviewed Peter on his career working in collaborative and participatory art projects, also asked questions on who inspired his work and the use of photography and text; 

"The photo montage thing had grown out of two things really, why photo montage? we’ve done a series of exhibitions before that which had been images and text , separate image and text and some of it was historical material and we discovered that people liked looking at the pictures and specially if they are all pictures, a lot of nostalgia in that and they just get drawn into the nostalgia and they wouldn’t read the text so we were thinking of ways of combining image and text and of course we looked at other People John Heartfield in particular at that time but other people working like Victor Burgin and lots of other people working in image and text, so we started to develop that kind of relationship between image and text, the idea then of saying ok let’s look at the context of this work, if you want to do something which is not instant like a poster on the streets, but has more in-depth information, then you can play with the images in a way which is slightly different, because you can draw people in by creating contradictions and intrigue and then they can read the small print and find out what was going on, is a technique used in advertising, is not new, but it was a device that we thought it was useful in terms of dealing with more in-depth information and when we were asked to get involved with London Docklands which became a massive thing, the idea of doing billboards, when we were thinking of doing billboards, when we were talking to the local people about what they wanted from these billboards.(..) 

When I was looking for ways of working one of those was “Art into Society and Society into Art” and it was an exhibition curated by the guy who runs now the Royal Academy (Charles Saumarez Smith) and included Joseph Beuys, lots of other people like Klaus Staeck and Wolf Vostell, people from Germany and people from the UK. There was a big debate about the world of art and all of that was part of it. That was very crucial in terms of making me and people like me realise that there were other people doing this too, doing it very well and we could learn the lessons"



Law of cohabitation

A week ago I was interviewed by the Chilean Nicolas and his team at the radio programme “Plaza Carnaval” in Claphan South, London. During the interview Nicolas asked me about the art-work that was about to be exhibited “MIGRANTS: Colombians in London” photography exhibition. The exhibition was a collection of photographs and texts taken and written by Colombians migrants that live in London. I explained that it is a collaborative and participatory project and that anyone could take part of it, not only professional photographers. This answer triggered Nicolas curiosity, who asked me if the outcome of the project was good considering that many of the participants did not have the photographic skills. I told him that was correct as the outcome is a diverse response from the Colombian Diaspora. His next question was related to the previous answer and question whether the artwork must be good if I did have my approval. I replied to him that an artwork does not matter if it comes from a famous or unknown artist that what is important is its quality, that it moves you.

Mirta Osorio was one of the speakers and exhibiting photographers at the event; MIGRANTS: Colombians in London. Mirta is not a professional photographer, she identifies herself as philosophy student. Mirta presented her photography and text answering to the question that the exhibition made: What does home mean to you? She explained; "From three concepts; In a nutshell: Macro: The planet where we are all human beings rather than having nationality labels. Micro: the place where we are, we have to make the best of that present. There will always be duties and rights. Spiritual / transcendental: the phrase we already know "the homecoming", the return to the "source" where everything began and in this way there will be laws of cause and effect”.

I would like to write about Mirta’s answer to the question; What does home mean to you? she tell us that for her the meaning of Home, the concept of the Micro: the place where we are, we have to make the best of that present. There will always be duties and rights. I guess this is not an EU Law but Law of Cohabitation,  it ties very well with this text. The UK does not have only rights in EU but it also has its duty, it cannot have it both ways, cannot access the single market, moving capital around the community at the same time that  closes its borders.

The "EUROPA. MIGRANTS: EU citizens in London. What does home mean to you? photography exhibition and event" will be held at the HIVE Dalston on Sunday, 7th of May, 2017. From 6.00 pm- 9.30 pm.

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