The Last Frontier / La última frontera

Video works by Mieke Bal, in collaboration with Michelle Williams Gamaker and Others
February 3 - March 29, 2011

This exhibition was curated by my long-term intellectual buddy, Miguel Á. Hernández Navarro, who did a fantastic job, including coordinating and writing in the fabulous catalogue. The exhibition tries to achieve two, seemingly contradictory, goals at once: to celebrate the positive aspects of the cultural transformations that migration has brought about in Western culture, and to understand, and sympathize with, migrants and the difficulties they experience upon entering Western culture.

The first goal firstly and mostly targets people who are used to Western culture and are sometimes ill at ease with the mass migration that they think is a recent phenomenon. Foregrounding the conceptual, aesthetic, and sensual pleasures these transformations offer, the videos aim to encourage a positive, indeed festive mood. The second is in the first place meant to benefit immigrants who feel met with suspicion, tension, or even outright hostility. Here, sympathy may help to change a reticent ambiance into a hospitable one.

The exhibition consists of the following works: Colony, Becoming Vera,
Mille et un Jours, GLUB (Hearts), Un trabajo limpio, Separations, Elena, one element of the installation Nothing is missing, and Una segunda oportunidad (A second chance), an element from the exhibition Landscapes of Madness.

The opening night was very exciting. There was lots of press, and a few papers published a double-spread with colour photos. Television and radio were present, and during the evening, after a few glasses of delicious spanish wine, I was even able to conduct a radio interview in Spanish!
At the opening, some 200 people came, among whom some of the actors who played in the Spanish scenes in A Long History of Madness, and my old friend Pedro Alberto Cruz Sánchez, who is now minister of culture in the región de Murcia.

Fundación José García Jiménez
Plaza Amores, Murcia
Catalogue available through the Fundación