Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bloggers Unite for Human Rights Day: Voices of Hope and Economic Migration

I am pleased that Voices of Hope Productions has worked on a very worthwhile human rights project about economic migration in collaboration with freeDimensional (fD) and the New School University Media Studies Department.

Economic migration has been a concerning issue over the past few years and from May to June 2008 at the Dak'Art Biennale, fD is supporting its Dakar partner center, Atelier Moustapha Dime, to raise awareness on the growing number of West Africans dying at sea while attempting economic migration. Multi-site, in-depth focus on economic migration using the experience of 14 Senegalese men who traveled from Goree Island off the coast of Dakar to within a hundred miles of Brooklyn before being picked up by the US Coast Guard. These men were summarily detained in a New Jersey ‘warehouse’ afterwhich 10 were quickly deported. In May 07 the
Associated Press stated that in 2006 more than 30,000 African immigrants were caught trying to reach the Canary Islands.

Voices of Hope Productions’ role in this project evolved into the creative direction and design of a hybrid newspaper/poster called the
Goree Gazette that was printed in Senegal and will be handed out month-long at the 2008 Dak'Art Biennale. The accompanying media campaign interviews and press conference) in Dakar public spaces – including the central marketplace, city center, fishing boat launches, and the exhibition venues of the 2008 Dak'Art Biennale – will be created in an archival process of sharing, trust and consensus-building with Dakar pedestrians, and is intended to provide a robust version of the situation that faces economic migrants seeking opportunities in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

Voices of Hope Productions, fD and New School Media Studies provided a journalistic tone and artistic treatment to the English/French/Wolof text moving it from mere content to an aesthetically viable pamphlet dynamically designed to capture the attention of Dakar citizens, art world visitors and international journalists covering the Biennale. The hybrid newspaper opens up to an impactful and educational poster that includes an artistic rendering by a detainee of the inside of the detention center in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The global awareness and reach of this important issue will continue beyond the Biennale through the Dakar Action Lab on the Taking IT Global Web site. The project will also be included in TransCultural Exchange’s Here, There and Everywhere: Anticipating the Future of Art 2009 conference and catalog.

More links:
Mother's migration outreach
CBS 60 minutes segment on Detention in America

Dakar Action Lab

Download the Goree Gazette
(web version 16mg)