June 8 to August 18

Economies on the Borderline


As borderline between a South that has remained chronically underdeveloped under centuries of colonialism and a North that grew rich on this history, the Strait of Gibraltar embodies one of today’s most significant geopolitical zones. It is hard to imagine a place where the spatial compression of immense economic discrepancies and their political and historical contexts can be felt more tangibly than along this narrow stretch of sea dividing Spain and Morocco. In past years, the water here has swallowed up thousands of Africans attempting to emigrate, while conversely thousands of usually “illegal” and thus disenfranchised immigrants work on the fruit and vegetable plantations of nearby southern Spain, guaranteeing a rich supply of foodstuffs to northern consumers, and further thousands wait in informal camps in North Africa for an opportunity to cross this border. Part of the significance of this zone is that here political and law enforcement efforts to expand Fortress Europe are being conducted on the highest technological level, with countless dead bodies drifting in the Mediterranean as a consequence. At the same time, conditions here demonstrate that Europe’s food industry can apparently only be kept going on the basis of these migrant workers, “illegal” and yet tacitly acknowledged as “necessary,” and their economic exploitation. Taking this paradigmatic borderline economy as its point of departure, Kunstraum Lakeside is hosting an evening of lectures and discussion to trace the phenomena and contradictions of borderline economies in Europe. In cooperation with the European Civic Forum, which has a headquarter in Lobnik near Eisenkappel, and which is committed to helping the migrant workers of Andalusia in their struggle for rights and decent working conditions, we hope to examine at least some of the realities under current border regimes, going beyond this example, to discuss this theme against a broader perspective, we include for example regions in Austria.

An exhibition will in addition examine ways to visualize and critique the economic and working conditions in the border regions, which are shaped both by exploitative structures and by the hope for a better life, including strategies for personal empowerment and resistance.

Gülsün Karamustafa
Unawarded Performances
2005 | Video | 25 min

Opening: June 7, 8.30 pm

Before 1990 not many people in Istanbul were aware of the Gagauz people the Orthodox Christian community that lives in Southern Moldavia. Who are of Turkic descent. Whose ethno-genesis lies with the tribes that inhabited the plains of Central Asia and speaking pure Balkan Turkish. Being under the dominion of the Byzantine, Seljuks, Ottoman, Bulgarians, Romanians and Russians during the history they were obliged to live with the resistance against the linguistic, religious and cultural externalisations and pressures.

In the last decade of the 20th Century with radical changes in regimes they again were initiated by waves of immigration and their knowledge of language became a privilege for their women, in finding illegal jobs in Turkey as maidservants. By the beginning of 2005 in southern Moldovian cities like Komrat Cadyr Lunga or Vulkanesthy nearly every family has one women member working in Istanbul within illegal conditions.

Gülsün Karamustafa, born in 1946, lives and works in Istanbul. Exhibitions (Selection): Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Espace Immanence (2005); Bienal de Arte Contemporaneo de Sevilla (2004); La Bienal de La Habana (2003), La Bienale di Venezia (2003); When Latitudes Become Forms, Walker Art Center, Minnesota 2003).

Ursula Biemann & Angela Sanders
2003 | Digital Video | 20 min

Opening: June 7, 8.30 pm

The film “Europlex” tracks distinct cross-border activities through the Spanish Moroccan borderlands and seeks to make these obscure paths visible. On their repetitive circuits around the check-point to the Spanish enclave, the video follows in three borderlogs the smuggling women who strap multiple layers of clothes to their bodies, the daily commute of “domesticas” who turn into time travellers as they move back and forth between the Moroccan and European time zones and the Moroccan women working in the transnational zones in North Africa for the European market. All these trajectories move around and inbetween the imperative of the territorial borders, they form, however, a vital layer of the cultural and economic space between Europe and Africa.

Moroccan women are drawn into the technological production for the European Market, while across the Street, the undocumented Moroccan workforce generates vegetables in the vast Andalusian plantations. Here they cultivate products according to European norms. The European Union as an economic entity, has expanded its borders way into North Africa, using human and material resources there to produce for the European market. High productivity is located along the European outer rim where a low wage workforce from across the fence can be tapped. The borders shift as Europe grows and with them move the production fields, which always feed on the territories beyond. Southern Spain and Northern Morocco form a space that may be powered and ruled by the uropean economy but that is ultimately produced by the people who are moving across and in between the territorial imperative of the borders.

Ursula Biemann teaches at HGKZ Zurich and esba Geneva and lectures internationally. Her art and curatorial practice focuses on gender and globalisation issues regarding migration, free trade zones, virtual communication and borders.

Angela Sanders is a visual ethnologist and videomaker. She did research on living and working conditions of moroccan women in Andalusia as well as Ceuta/Melilla and has written a number of articles on the subject of gender, identity, film, and media.

Michael Zinganel/Hans-H. Albers/
Marusˇa Sagadin/Michael Hieslmair
Saison Opening
2005 | Installation | diverse media

Opening: June 7, 8.30 pm

Since 1999/2000 when private German job agencies, in collaboration with the Austrian employment services center, began an aggressive campaign in Germany’s new federal states to recruit personnel for the winter season in Austria, more and more Germans are rushing to the Alps: no longer as holidaymakers but as seasonal personnel, working where other people go on vacation. The reproach, that recruiting primarily, skilled young people could in the medium term further accelerate the economic demise of the latter’s native region, is countered by job agencies’ emphasis on the singular opportunities for personal development and professional experience that young people can acquire and, possibly, put to good use once they return home. For the majority of those concerned however, seasonal work is simply the only chance they have of earning any money and surviving the limited period they can still spend at home.

For this project a fictitious shrinking city in eastern Germany (a source region of tourists and seasonal labor) and a real booming major tourist center in the mountains of the Tyrol are contrasted associatively with one another like vessels that alternately empty and fill.