We all have seen the pictures: drowned children washed up on the beach, overcrowded rubber boats engulfed by the Mediterranean sea, throngs of displaced people gathered at border gates. The global migrant “crisis” has opened an unprecedented political quandary that has captured the attention of politicians, policy makers, and the public. It has also opened critical questions about our image-making practices. My discussion will interrogate the visual politics surrounding the recent iteration of this “crisis.” I will also present an excerpt of The Reverie Project (co-created with Martina Bacigalupo), a series of video portraits that provide an intimate encounter with a migrant community in Geneva. Inspired by Édouard Glissant’s notion of the right to opacity, the project aims to cultivate a sense of privacy (refuge) and highlight the political importance of the life of the mind (reverie).
Sharon Sliwinski holds the Rogers Chair in Journalism & New Information Technology in the Faculty of Information & Media Studies at Western University and is a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars and Artists. Her work bridges the fields of visual culture, political theory, and the life of the mind. Her first, award-winning book, Human Rights In Camera(2011) examined the visual politics of human rights. Her most recent project explores the politics of the social imaginary, which is represented in Dreaming in Dark Times (2017) and The Museum of Dreams.