La mer.

Here we present the alliteration or displacement of meaning between different languages: madre, mare, La Mer, the Mediterranean Sea, as the area of cultural and economical exchanges, the crossroad of languages and poetics, a site of passages, transits and migrations. The Mediterranean Sea, whose waters played their essential part in the Middle Passage connecting Slavery across Africa, Europe and America; the European Mediterranean, the Mediterranean of today, full of bodies who want to migrate, escape, aspire, die….

The Matriarchive of the Mediterranean is ordered and commanded by female archons such as Mona Hatoum, Zineb Sedira, Lara Baladi, Emily Jacir and Ursula Biemann.

These artists have already consigned to history their extraordinary visions of the Mediterranea Sea, demanding new desires, other forms of escape, traces of exile, exhausting searches for alterity. In their magnificent works, they have already depicted how individual memory is always, unconditionally, intertwined with collective memory. This vast instance recalls both past and present times, involving human presences, natural elements, and animal, vegetable and biological components. It is a conception of art as a “boundary event” (Trinh T. Minh-ha: 2010), a process of differentiation that calls for alternative practices of archiviation, a different understanding of western enforced and ideological ‘belonging’. Space is here rendered as dis-appropriate, expropriate, colonized, de-colonized, territorialized-deterritorialized, dis-placed, out-of-place (E. Grosz: 2007); in the same way, geography is given as a critical category of – the order of – knowledge, in multiple occupations of the situated, positioned, embodied and incarnate bodies of women (A. Rich: 1984).

Under the spell of their inspirations, we would like to invite female artists who feel the urgency, and the responsibility, of refusing the violence that stains the fluid waters of the Mediterranean with blood. Our invitation is for the artists who feel ready to open the precious boxes of their creativity to manifest and share their singular, plural, infinite aesthetics of migration. The focus of the Matriarchive of the Mediterranean is placed on political-poetical productions that challenge all neutral archivializations of data, names, bodies and coffins, requesting and negotiating the elaboration of traumas, sorrows, and losses, in the realm of collective ‘healing’. We would like to gather and record the communicative testimony of the vivid and alive experiences of women, of their children and lovers, in the crossing of a sea which is, at once, an abyss of death and the matrix of life, a common space for new existences and new resistances, signing the emergence of other directions of remembering and being.

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© Mediterranean Matri Archive