Curating Objects from the European Border Zone : The “Lampedusa Refugee Boat”
Horsti, Karina (2019). Curating Objects from the European Border Zone : The “Lampedusa Refugee Boat”. In Horsti, Karina (Eds.) The Politics of Public Memories of Forced Migration and Bordering in Europe, Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 53-70. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-30565-9_4
Published inPalgrave Macmillan Memory Studies
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The cultural politics of the present encourage museums and artists to seek an ethical vision within Europe navigating the knowledge of ongoing mass death at the border. This is one explanation for the interest in objects symbolising present-day irregular border crossing among museum curators, artists, designers and activists. Wooden fishing boats, inflatable dinghies and life jackets appear regularly in exhibitions and installations. This chapter focuses on the meaning of “the Lampedusa boat” and argues that the narrative context within which the boats are exhibited guides the work of imagination that animates the object. While exhibiting the boats carries the critical potential to relocate the border and make it visible, this potential is disrupted by a political context that simultaneously militarises and humanitarianises the border.