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Besides the Borders
Live Project
2020-21 MA Cohort

This year’s Live Project uses migration and borders as epistemic lenses to critically reflect on the politics of movement along various infrastructures of (im-)mobility. It follows a “typical” migrant trajectory from sub-Saharan Africa into Europe along four different border-environments, each raising specific theoretical and historical-political issues. While these areas are often treated as entirely distinct, we bring them together here under the same analytical lens not to suggest a linear or teleological link, but rather to emphasise the scattered, topological operations of contemporary border controls, which, as stipulated by the European Council, are meant to operate “before, at and after the border”. When thinking about migration and borders not as an object of study, but as method, what starts to emerge are the logistical networks and patterns of circulation that (un-)link unevenly various geographies along the lines of race, class and gender through various forms of “accumulation by displacement”, mobility injustice and environmental violence.

Exlpore the “Besides the Border” project here




This web platform is the outcome of the MA in Research Architecture students’ Live Project, an intensive group workshop that took place between 11 January and 19 February 2021 led by Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani, with additional facilitation by Susan Schuppli and Tomas Percival, and inputs by Riccardo Badano, Stefanos Levidis, Helen Brewer. Final guest critics included Carolina Sanchez Boe, Yasmin Gunaratnam, Cristina del Biaggio, Chloe Haralambous, Moad Musbahi, and Ifor Duncan.
The 2021-21 Live Project is based on an ongoing project by Border Forensics (Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani), which uses migration and borders as epistemic lenses to critically reflect on the politics of movement along various infrastructures of (im-)mobility. The Live Project follows a “typical” migrant trajectory from sub-Saharan Africa into Europe along four different but interconnected rims of border crossing and control. Each of these border-environments has a distinct spatiality and raises specific historical, political and aesthetic issues, which have been explored by the students through various methodologies and tools.


“The Aesthetics of Borders” a Visual Cultures Public Programme lecture by Charles Heller, 14 January 2021.