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Border images, border narrativesThe political aesthetics of boundaries and crossings$
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Johan Schimanski and Jopi Nyman

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781526146267

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526146274

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Performance of memory: testimonies of survival and rescue at Europe’s border

Performance of memory: testimonies of survival and rescue at Europe’s border

Chapter:
(p.225) 11 Performance of memory: testimonies of survival and rescue at Europe’s border
Source:
Border images, border narratives
Author(s):

Karina Horsti

Ilaria Tucci

, Johan Schimanski, Jopi Nyman
Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526146274.00020.0012

The chapter addresses the much-publicised disaster that occurred in the proximity of the island of Lampedusa, Italy, in October 2013, leading to the death of hundreds of mainly Eritrean migrants at sea. In addition to discussing responses to the disasters, the chapter counters established ways of reporting such disasters where fatality metrics and distantiation are dominant modes of representation. The authors argue for more ethical and reciprocal ways for research, where emphasis is on testimonies and narratives, especially by those who have witnessed the incident at first hand. The acts of telling and listening emerge as ways for foregrounding the human aspects of the disaster and produce more balanced and horizontal relationships between researchers and interviewees. The two testimonies, ‘performances of a story’, by an Eritrean survivor and an Italian rescuer, presented as parts of memory workshops and providing individual responses to the event by first-hand witnesses, show that narratives and images play a role in transforming the borderscape and despectacularising migration and disasters.

Keywords:   border-crossing, migration, disaster, research methods, testimonies, story telling, listening, despectacularisation, ethics, Lampedusa, Italy, Mediterranean

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