This article tests a comparative and trans-disciplinary methodology I am developing for a research project titled ‘Un-Walling the Mediterranean Sea. New Southern performances: towards a no-border wall poetics and politics of togetherness’. The article investigates ways to develop and make visible MediterrAtlantic theories and performances inspired by grass-roots activism and artivism in order to disrupt Eurocentric geopolitical cartography. To this end, I will make reference to many (de)signs disseminated by trans-Mediterranean intellectuals, activists, artists, migrants and refugees along the Mediterranean routes and walls, as a way to shape both an Asian-African-European Mediterranean consciousness and a new TransMediterrAtlantic one. Finally, I will use as a case study Io sto con la Sposa, a docufiction on the experience of asylum seeking in Europe, by Antonio
Augugliaro, Gabriele del Grande and Khaled Soliman (2014)
This proposal is a contribution to the research project Un/walling the Mediterranean. Local, National and Trans-border Artivist Practices for a poetics and politics of hospitality and mobility carried on by a group of activist researchers in Bari (2009-2015. Link: smuraremediterraneo.wordpress.com). The routes of the Mediterranean fracturated currents are examined interlacing Foucault’s interdisciplinary and bio-political analysis of power (Nail 2013) with post-colonial and decolonial methodologies. As a scholar of border critical thinking and of border crossing and diaspora poetics, I am investigating whether the Euro-Mediterranean conceptual change of the border paradigm in times of trans-territorial mobility has disrupted traditional views of post-colonial bordering. In three previous articles (Zaccaria 2012; 2014; 2015), I devised a critical conversational methodology in order to mend, among other fractures, the ruptures between “schools” and “masters” of thinking; among western and post-colonial, but also post-colonial and de-colonial methodologies. At this end, being conscious that the theoretical transatlantic currents I had been into as a scholar, had scents and seeds descending from the European colonization systems and that those currents are nowadays talking back to the Afro-European neo- colonial borderscapes, I am presently conceiving and experimenting with counter-strategies that aim at establishing a call-and-response diaspora pattern/confrontation between different methodologies in order to disrupt the global geo-political Eurocentric cartography born consubstantially to the colonization and enslavement institutions. The main objective of my geocritical enquiry is the decolonization of knowledge (Quijano, Mignolo) and consciousness (Sandoval, Lugones) and the shaping of a Southern border critical thinking that works towards a medication of the cultural, genealogical and identity fractures that border wall regimes impose even on the seas, in the attempt to transform the inter-regional/inter-relational flow of waters, bodies and cultures, into distinct, separate, racialized entities.
To this end, in this article, I will extend the excavation of what Joseph Pugliese (2011) has called “embodied shadow archives” – works deemed “un-cultivated”, too much “corporeal”, and hence excluded from official “nationalist” archives – in order to explore the (de)signs disseminated by contemporary trans-Mediterranean intellectuals, activists, artists, crossers and people on the move along the Mediterranean routes and across walls so as to start sketching both a map of the Asian-African- European Mediterranean consciousness and of the decolonized “mestiza consciousness” (Anzaldùa, Sandoval) bearing transMediterrAtlantic1 evidences. I will explore whether the geocartography of deterritorialized knowledge traces de-linking , decolonizing routes (Mignolo, Quijano, Lugones, Grasfoguel) contributing to to the formation of TransMediterranean, MediterrAtlantic, intermedial and transcultural works (Zaccaria 2014) that delink (Quijano, Mignolo) from neo-colonialist policies and thinking.
To this end, I will analyze artivistic works with a strong bend for visuality (be they essays, murales, installations, poetry, cinema) that unshadow to our gaze a geo-corpo-psycho-graphy and multilingual, plurisensorial, pluricoded, plurilinguistic embodied poetics ( see the case-studies list). Moreover, a call-and-response relational geo-critical perspective will be applied in the contact zones where theoretical transatlantic currents conceptualized in the New World encounter Mediterranean
African and Southern European resistance to change border’s paradigms. Through this perspective I will try to speed up the encounter of the epistemological and artistic marine currents shaped by the de- colonializing, de-centered positionalities/knowledges developed by Mexican-American transatlantic border-thinking with the decolonizing performativity of transMediterranean artivists, migrants, crossers who express their claim for freedom of mobility through the dissemination of artivist works that disclose the political power of the aesthetics. The issue at stake is: will deterritorialization, will trans- MediterrAtlantic theories entail a trans-Asian-African-European Mediterranean and MediterrAtlantic consciouness having the capability of disrupting the geo-politics that are imposing the wall paradigm as borderization, exclusion and discrimination?
Case studies: Dagmawi Ymer’s short film ASMAT/Nomi, 2014; MTO’s graffiti in Sliema (Malta) and Salerno (Italy); Gabriele del Grande’s book Il mare di mezzo (2010?); Costas Varotsos’ transformation of the Albanian boat Katër i Rades in work of art (Otranto, 2013).
Words to work on and work with: MediterrAtlantic, transmarine currents; un/walling; diaspora; geocorpography; biologized archives; de-linking and fluidity; decolonialidad; map, mappings, deterritorialization and transterritorialization; geopolitics of knowledge; border art; artivistic ruptures; Mediterranean transcultural sea archives.
1 MediterrAtlantic is a neologism that brings together the concepts of “trans-Mediterranean” and “transAtlantic”(see Zaccaria 2014)