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Images of Refuge: The world as a camp

30.09.2016 03:00 PM Free admittance
location: TPB upper foyer

If we were to believe modern humanities, the camp is becoming a common form of managing the population of excluded people, expelled from their own countries, pariahs forced to migrate. Moreover, the number of people with unclear status, deprived of civil rights and relying on the care of humanitarian organizations, is rising dramatically all over the world. According to some people, it’s connected not just with armed conflicts and climate change forcing people to wander in search of bread, but also with the nature of the late capitalism. If it really is so, it may be that soon all of us will be to blame for the fragile status of refugees. Mass culture – which feeds us with fantasies about the future of our planet as a place of radical segregation, naturalized injustice and humanitarian disasters – has been sure of that for quite some time now. In another lecture of the Images of Refuge series, we will deal with these visions of the future, contained in movies such as The Hunger Games and Total Recall. We will also try to see which elements of these futurological fantasies can already be noticed in today’s world.

Images of Refuge: A series of lectures in Teatr Polski in Bydgoszcz

It’s becoming harder and harder to ignore the fact that the refugee issue is one of the biggest challenges – ethical, political, historical – that Europe has to face today. Pictures of refugees, updates on their situation, and discussions about that phenomenon are becoming an ever-more present element in the media reality of today. Just like refugees systematically populating various parts of our continent. During the lectures hosted in Teatr Polski in Bydgoszcz, the attendees will be able to focus not just on current issues, but also on their historical and artistic contexts.

According to Aby Warburg, pictures are always moving, and they can travel both through space and time. Thanks to their migration, culture is still alive; generating important tensions, producing mixtures and sparking debates. That’s why a meticulous researcher can recognize the same “pathos formulae” in paintings from the Italian Renaissance and in Hopi tribal rituals practiced at the beginning of the 20th century. Do modern pictures of refugees have distant, historical references as well? Can the pathos present in them be turned into the starting point of a conversation about culture itself, and modern culture in particular? How can this anthropological view be connected with an urgent need to participate in the current political and ethical conflicts on the refugee issue?

So far three lectures have been hosted as part of the Images of Refuge series: “The rage of the excluded”, “Calais – where Europe ends”, “The exile’s experiments”. You can find more information at


Paweł Mościcki – philosopher, essayist and translator, associate professor at The Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He is one of the editors of the quarterly “View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture”. Editor of Maurice Blanchot. L’instant de ma mort (2007) and author of: Polityka teatru. Eseje o sztuce angażującej (2008), Godard. Pasaże (2010), Idea potencjalności. Możliwość filozofii według Giorgio Agambena (2013), My też mamy już przeszłość. Guy Debord i historia jako pole bitwy (2015).