Charting a Course: a Geneology of Art and Migration

from T.J. Demos' The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary During Global Crisis

"'Migrant' [is] a more impartial term with allowances for voluntary movement and self-willed acts of mutability and becoming (or so many would believe.) It may be questionable whether even 'migration' remains both capacious enough and the most accurate term to describe the multiple forms of movement and singular expressions of dislocation in contemporary experience; nonetheless the term offers the advantage of opening up the possibilities of conceptualizing a form of life that is politically and aesthetically committed to a certain mobility." 

"As is now well established, because diasporic experience 'is defined, not by essence or purity, but by the recognition of a necessary heterogeneity and diversity,' it models 'a conception of identity which lives in and through, not despite, difference.' Black Audio Film Collective's Signs of Empire proposes just this hybridity in terms of its complex tapestry of still images, texts, and sounds, as does Hatoum's Measures of Distance, modelling structures that disrupt the purity of film and language alike. As a result, the categories of the visual, the auditory, and the scriptural are rendered insufficient on their own, as necessarily dialogical and stranded in their incompleteness and therefore contingent on contextual determinations for their meanings. In other words, this work defeats essentialism through its very structure, even while it commits to the particularities of ethnicity, race, and gender that define the lived circumstances of the subject within a heterogeneous cultural frame."