MATZA Edgelands Cúcuta

MATZA Edgelands Cúcuta

In a globalized world in full upheaval which faces massive demographic flows, security hasbecome a central issue. States and cities are responding to it, notably through the digitalsurveillance of their citizens. At the same time, a massive urbanization puts pressure onlarge urban centers and reveals growing social and spatial inequalities, accelerated by thedifficulties of cities to adapt and integrate their informal development. When digitalsurveillance is perceived as a tool of protection for some, it appears as a way of exclusionand repression for others.

In such a context, control and surveillance appear as solutions but also have perverseeffects. When cities or countries fix rules with massive restrictions at their borders, migrantsare put in an even more dangerous and precarious situation and are forced to turnto illegality. By seeking to bring more security, these measures often encourage traffickingand increase the precariousness of migrants.

Cúcuta is a middle size city in the north of Colombia where thousands of Venezuelan migrants daily cross the border. These people have permanently to face up the danger, adapt and seek a secure place and financial resources to get back to a liveable situation. At the same time, internal migrants also reach the city from other parts of Colombia to escape political tensions that may occur in the rural areas.

These flows of newcomers are mostly relegated in informal settlements thatcontribute to precarious situations in peripheral urban areas. Political as well associal and spatial borders of the city then constantly change. This makes it a challenge for Cucuta’s municipality to define the limit of its responsibility but also for the city and its inhabitants to define their own identity as citizens and part of a common entity.

MATZA EDGELANDS CÚCUTA is an artistic initiative that invited artists to reflect upon new forms of the social contract in border contexts. What does “security” mean for the population living in those areas? Through a close look at these issues in Cúcuta, the Edgelands Institute and MATZA could have a better understanding of the effects of digitalization and technology on the social contract in contemporaneity.

Blurred Lines

Residency: July 22nd to 31st 2022

Exhibition: July 30th

Location: Cúcuta, Colombia

Following the MATZA EDGELANDS initiative, BLURRED LINES is the second project of the Edgelands Institute in collaboration with MATZA. Facing world wide reinforcement of fences, borders and surveillance, what can we learn from the fast moving city of Cúcuta? In between the need to guarantee the safety of its own citizens and the necessity to host newcomers, how new equilibriums for the social contract in Cúcuta can possibly emerge from the BLURRED LINES of its urban boundaries? These questions inspired the participants to engage in discussions on the topics of security, technology, digitalization and community building in a context of migrants and refugees.

BLURRED LINES was a 10-day exploration and experimentation process with six international artists. Curated by Séverin Guelpa and Anja Wyden Guelpa, the artists gathered in Fundación Centro Cultural El Pilar, where they lived, worked, and shared.

Yann Gross (CH), Syowia Kyambi (KEN), Vanessa Lacaille (CH), Ronald Pizzoferrato (VEN), Adrian Preciado (VEN) and Santiago Vélez (CO) were invited to explore how trust emerges among the blurred lines of cities and how does it affect its social contract. Not only focusing on the physical borders of Cúcuta, the group developed familiarity with the local people during the residency, which allowed them to deepen their reflections and extend their horizons to the symbolic and affective borders that also create and maintain the social contract.

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