Some weeks after the EU-enlargement in mid 2004 B04--BORDER 04 will shift the focus to the folds and fringes, the margins and new borders of the official europe.
B04 is the common framework for a wide range of local and remote, mobile and stationary activities taking place in summer 2004. It is a modular, temporary, and tactical association of various new media-and network-initiatives from east and west europe, from outside as well as within the new europe. An international and interdisciplinary coalition of fine art and performance artists, human rights-, noborder- and new media-activists, filmmakers, video- and fotografers, researchers, scientists and investigators will set a series of events in motion that surround, circumvent and perforate the borders of Europe. B04 is a two month, virtual travel along both sides of the new borders of an enlarged European Union, starting in the baltic states and moving around Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia to Croatia, touching also Belarus, Ukraine, Romania and Serbia.
B04 will connect and shortcircuit debates around migration with debates about the expansion of the borders of the EU, around mobility, mobile technologies and freedom of movement, about the future dimensions of networking and the impact this will have for those already within Europe and those previously outside it.
1. Tracing the routes of migration: The many faces of migration are producing dramatic changes, that are not only affecting local and remote economies. People in transit, commuters between east and west, seasonal and domestic workers form new concepts of Europe, that are based on mobility, no matter if unsolicited or unvoluntarily.
2. Mapping the spaces in between: Theoretically it's only a small drift from what lies beyond the limitations of national imagination to the imaginations of those outside of it. But in practice, the spaces between Europe and non-Europe are being dispersed, extracted and contracted by numerous movements of very different actors on an unknown and ever-changing field.
3. Crossing the borders from the real to a virtual europe: Leaving traditional political and geographical notions of Europe behind the information and communication technologies as well as the flows of migration do shape a virtual europe, that is defined by it's openness rather than it's borders. There is an unrepresentable multitude of europes to be discovered and explored.
Working on these three fields B04 will consist of four modules that will be developed by independent organizing teams, that are networking among each others:
Research: In order to investigate the subjectivities and the constitutive power of people networking across borders, research units will work on frequently asked questions: How does a re-designed european border regime change the daily life of the people in the areas of the new border regions? Which stories, experiences and what desires do people have, that live on this and that side of the new border of the official, but in the midst of a virtual Europe? What does living conditions of people that are on the move look like? On the move into illegality or into precarious labour or into detention centers? How do workers of the worldmarket factories struggle and organise -- in- and outside of the new external european border?
Workshops: B04 will involve remote activists and local community organisers in workshops and training programs in both an adhoc and a sustainable fashion adressing the needs of local activists and civil society. It will focus on skill-sharing to enable and empower people with the practical use of new media technologies by providing connectivity, introducing open source software and offering unfettered access to communication tools. A transnational migration-guide will support and empower people in their interest to find better living- or working conditions, no question if it is temporarily or permanently. There will be a special focus on the potential of digital media to facilitate dialogue and communication across national borders, and on the power of filmmaking, photography and storytelling in the negotiation of emerging, hyphenated identities.
Performances: To present the images and narratives of an emerging european culture that is currently created around the issues of information society and transnational mobility, B04 will present exhibitions, screenings and performances in public spaces and in close collaboration with local and international artists and art institutions.
Documentation: In order to document the experiences, acquaintances, results and achievements of the project publically, in real-time or near on real-time internet connectivity is one of the key issues. B04 will be accompanied by a specially equipped van that provides a high-bandwith internet connection via satellite. Using all available media from print to radio to video in different output-formats the real-time documentation of a project at such an extend aims to facilitate dialogue and interactive communication between Europe's diverse peoples, new and old.
The ultimate goal is to build a new vision of Europe that moves on against exclusion, resentment, localism, narrow-mindednesss, racism and xenophobia.