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EMBASSY OF THE REFUGEE
The artistic practices of Mia Eve Rollow & Caleb Duarte are manifested in Frankfurt's Metzlerpark in THE EMBASSY OF THE REFUGEE (EOR). The project must be understood in the context of works in which the artist duo collaborated with activists to repeatedly draw attention to the consequences of expulsion, immigration, and disregard for human rights.
With EOR, Rollow & Duarte have created a representation for the people, independent of borders and nations. The project and its architectural execution make reference to contradictory issues that define our global community, such as nationalism versus humanism or integration versus racism. At the center of the installation, a house-shaped tent becomes a metaphor for refuge and a reminder of peoples and communities constantly on the move. Framed by golden scaffolding, this provisional arrangement further evokes permanence by calling the construction of buildings to mind that validate institutional and economic power. Finally, the processuality of this sculpture-in-progress can be transferred to the situation of global migration movement. In this sense, the wooden shipping crates in its interior space, which designate various areas for sleeping and working, also become an architecture parlante and indicate the absurdity of a world in which goods—regulated through international agreements and cooperation—travel around the globe and enjoy a freedom that many people are denied.
The EOR functions as a collaborative, interactive, and temporary sculpture that, as a pseudo-state institution, symbolically creates an autonomous space of refuge and creativity. Various programs will activate the structure: For several weeks, artists can participate in the creation of the EOR during an independently structured residency. An artist-ambassador program will be organized as well. Moreover, selected EOR community members will actively take part in establishing the EOR as a creative sanctuary for communities on the move around the globe. There will also be public programs such as film screenings, performances, or workshops on art and oral history.
In Frankfurt, Mia Eve Rollow & Caleb Duarte are testing how the arts might assume the role of state authorities and governmental institutions by fostering understanding, empathy, and the idea of communal self-determination.