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Hospitality within the inclusive arts intervention River of Light

Conference contribution
Authors Beatrice Persson
Published in NORDIK XII, No Title, 24-27/10-2018, University of Copenhagen
Publication year 2018
Published at School of Design and Crafts
Language en
Links https://nordikxii.dk/scientific-pro...
Keywords Hospitality, Art intervention, River of Light, refugee crisis
Subject categories Social Sciences Interdisciplinary, Globalization Studies, International Migration and Ethnic Relations, Philosophy, Ethics, Arts, Visual Arts, Art History

Abstract

Internationally and in Sweden there are many artworks dealing with the global migration/refugee crisis. For instance, Ai Weiwei’s works at the Sydney Biennale 2018, all of them advocating for refugee’s human rights. These are artworks dealing with the traumatic conditions and experiences migrants are exposed to on their way to Europe. Upon arrival refugees face new challenges in terms of how they are being welcomed, the possibilities to be integrated, and exposure to segregation. This is something the inclusive arts intervention River of Light want to address. Located in Gothenburg, created by Behjat Omer Abdulla and Denise Langridge Mellion, River of Light enables meeting points for new arrivals in Sweden. In lantern-making workshops at locations such as the Red Cross, cultural schools and Academy of Design and Crafts, lanterns are built out of bamboo and silk paper, later to be carried in a torch train on the World Day of Social Justice. This is an art intervention created out of the belief that art can be used as a tool to accelerate the process of integration, especially amongst unaccompanied minors. This is also a project that works according to Derrida’s notions on the double law of hospitality, “the unconditional law of unlimited hospitality’ and ‘the laws of hospitality.” (Derrida, 2015) Laws that sums up the ethics of hospitality defined as an unconditional welcome which nonetheless must become conditional in order to function. However, River of Light works only according to pure hospitality “… welcoming whoever arrives before imposing any conditions on him, before knowing and asking anything at all, be it a name or an identity ‘paper’.” (Derrida, 2005)

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