me a song and I will
tell you who you are
The performance took place at the open market of Torino, Porta
Palazzo, a market that is the symbol of North-Italian immigration
problems. The "old" immigrants are those from the
south, Italians themselves, but considered in the north as new
comers. The new immigration is the one from other countries:
the Maghreb, Romania, Albania, etc. The old and the new immigrants
have quite a difficult relation, the old ones making the new
ones suffer as they themselves suffered upon their arrival.
That is often the case in many countries where the old immigration
becomes the worst enemies of the new one.
We had been warned about this situation, a situation so difficult
that our project was thrown from hand to hand in between different
institutions like a hot potato. We asked for help in contacting
the people from the market, but finally found ourselves almost
completely alone in trying to realize the project.
The project was about immigrants, old and new ones. We were
supposed to sing the anthem of the country that we come from
and then the Italian anthem or in my case the French anthem,
showing in that way that the feeling of belonging to a nation
or a country is hard to define in today's world where so many
people live in more than one. The fact of singing different
national anthems breaks the myth of the "one and only."
Can one individual, and should one individual define him or
herself through a state, a nation?
Alone in the "struggle for contacts" we managed in
seven days to make beautiful relations with the people from
the market and found one young Tunisian man, another Moroccan,
a Romanian father of a family all working on the market and
an Italian from the South, and of course myself with my three
anthems, the ex-Yugoslav, the Bosnian and the French. We were
very happy to see that these two "sides" were ready
to work with us, and even enjoying it. The performance started,
as planned, but then a third force came in, one we did not count
on, the "force of order". Apparently the chief of
the police had given his word that we would not be disturbed,
but forgot to write that down or even inform his employees.
We were never provided with written permissions although we
asked for them before starting. The force of order came in the
appearance of seven policemen that did not want to know anything
about art, the Big Torino, or singing. What they did want to
know is if we were drunk... We had to stop everything after
45 minutes and to cancel the performance that was supposed to
take place the next day. Sometimes a situation that is considered
to be difficult happens to be difficult but out of a completely
different reason. It is a big social game after all.
Torino, April 21, 2002
Artist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Zurich,
I live, I dwell means the same as I am... Philosophical
ideas connecting ourselves and our living spaces.