florian schneider on Sun, 22 May 2005 14:45:38 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> fadaiat//borderline academy

(1) Coming soon: Fadaiat*// BORDERLINE ACADEMY June 18-26, 2005

(2) Looking back: Fadaiat 2004 -- a report from last years event


Tarifa is a small city in the very south of Spain. Ten kilometers of
sandy beach, fresh winds and a medieval city center attract a multitude
of travellers: Surfers, tourists looking for recreation as well as all
sorts of transients from the northern parts of Europe. But that's not
all: All the year, but especially around midsummer, at night hundreds of
people go the other way around. They come from the Maghreb or
subsaharian countries and they are heading northwards by crossing the
Straits of Gibraltar by boat and without papers.

The 29 kilometer wide stretch between Tangiers in the north of Morocco
and Tarifa keeps the smallest possible distance between Africa and
Europe. It cuts one of the most prominent border regions in history
filled up with flowery metaphors and bloody realities, nowadays
characterized by high-tech surveillance and bodily resistance.

FADAIAT*// BORDERLINE ACADEMY will take place in Tarifa from June 17th
to 26th, 2005. The old castle of "Guzman El Bueno" built in the 9th
century will host a series of workshops, seminars, public events,
concerts, parties, screenings, shows, theoretical and practical
experiments in arts, media and politics.

More than 200 artists and activists from all over Europe and the
Mediterranean are expected to meet for an hybrid academy project:
FADAIAT*// BORDERLINE ACADEMY will link practices of producing art,
culture and technology with current debates on movements, mobility,
migration and precarity. It aims to shape new notions of collaboration
and activism that reach out beyond traditional patterns of primitive
networking, moral binaries and institutional critique.

>From and across the margins of the real the notion of a virtual europe
may arise that is based on the concepts of freedom of movement and
freedom of knowledge against the regimes of paranoia and privatization,
against the logics of inclusion and exclusion.

The ten days event is designed in a strictly modular set-up:
Individuals, groups, networks can plug into a common infrastructure that
consists of meeting spaces, communication platforms, production
facilities and local area networks in an extraordinary challenging and
inspiring environment.


Like in 2004, there will be a wireless link across the Straits of
Gibraltar that establishes a temporary high-bandwith internet connection
between Tarifa and Tangiers.


Every night a video-program will be produced that presents the unfolding
events of the day, develops new audio-visual formats and gets
distributed through local TV as well as via V2V-distribution on the net.


Special attention will be given to the mapping of one of the most
advanced surveillance systems that controls the flows of people,
material and immaterial goods. Tactical sea, air and land based systems
will be deployed and operated as a means of tactical civil counter


Climax and turning point will be the celebration of freedom of movement
and knowledge around solstice, in the shortest night of the year, from
June 23th to 24th: Remote events will be organized on a transversal line
that crosses Europe from Andalucia to Latvia.


Between the opening on June 18th on the Alameda of Tarifa and the
closing event on June 26th in the castle of Tarifa various workshops,
shows and activities will happen in Tangiers, Morocco.

FADAIAT*// BORDERLINE ACADEMY is a collaboration between: hackitectura,
Indymedia Estrecho, D-A-S-H, KEIN.ORG, Delegaci=F3n de Cultura -
Ayuntamiento de Tarifa, Entr=E1nsito, International Festival (IF),
Makrolab, Pact Systems, pirate cinema, Unfriendly-Takeover,
frassanito-network, Kingdom of Piracy (KOP), Engage! Tactical Media and
many others.

FADAIAT*// BORDERLINE ACADEMY is a follow-up event of Transacciones /
fadaiat in June 2004, NEURO--networking europe in February 2004, and
makeworlds in October 2001.








The monstrous Sacred Heart of Jesus statue has turned its back to the
european continent, as if it wants to pay all attention to the sea. A
fresh breeze is coming up, as every evening in Tarifa. A glaring red
towboat of the coastguards, flanked by a speedboat of the Guardia Civil,
is slowly appearing behind the holy statue, that is enthroning above the
water on the very end of the breakwater wall in its sulcated robe. On
the tow line of the two boats is a dinghy, that has obviously rousen the
border guards. On board are about 50 passengers, whose trip has come to
an end for now.

The high season has started in Andalusia. Every night hundreds of
illegal immigrants are starting out from Marocco to Spain, across the
sea, that is reasonably calm at this time. Only 29 kilometers is the
distance from Tanger in the north of Marocco to Tarifa, the most
southern point of Europe, at the outermost end of the iberian peninsula.

The people that live here, are simply calling the straits of Gibraltar
"Estrecho", the narrows. For ten years, when the Spanish state has
joined the Schengen agreement, the area around Tarifa has systematically
been upgraded to one of the best controlled borders of the world. The
effects are almost not identifiable at the first sight, but are at the
same time even more disturbing: nowhere is the banality of the border
more obvious than here. In the "capital of winds" as the windsurfing
paradies Tarifa is called, the processing of waves of illegal immigrants
is a business as usual, besides tuna fishing and exalted tourism.

While the refugees, that are being taking into custody by the
coastguards, are going ashore, they are already awaited: a prisoner
transport van of the paramilitary Guardia Civil, police and coastguards,
as well as employees of the red cross, some journalists and three TV
teams are standing ready-to-receive at the Sacred Heart of Jesus mole,
the harbour fortification in the back of the homonymous monument.

Everything that follows now is routine: the illegal immigrants are being
transported to the main quarter of the Guardia Civil in order to assert
their identity and origin. After that they are being transferred to a
first admission camp on a small island in front of Tarifa and afterwards
to the deportation prison in the ferry harbour in Algeciras, 20
kilometers distant. "Whoever is coming from Marocco, or from a country
like Nigeria, where the spanish state is having a treaty of withdrawal,
will immediatly be deported to Marocco" says Nico Scuglia, from the
social forum in Malaga. The young activist, originating from Argentina,
is working for years in different networks in the topic of migration.

In summer 2001 Scuglia had organised a "noborder" action camp, right
here on the beach. Three years later he is here again. In the old castle
of Tarifa an unusual crowd is meeting for an even more unusual event:
human rights activists, union organisors, migration experts from all
over the Spanish state and different parts of Marocco have occupied
these old ruins from the tenth century together with artists, filmmakers
and net-activists for a phenomenal experiment in terms of transnational

The castle, that had been hard-fought by the Spanish and the Moors for
centuries, that was built by the caliph Abderram=E1n III on the remains
of a roman military camp and that couldn't ever be captured by Napoleon,
is now a stage for a new kind of civil disobedience in the age of new
media and new migration movements. For three days,
"Transacciones/Fadaiat" was trying to map, analyse undermine and cross
the border, that is permanently present up here on the rock, - with all
means of communication possible.

In the small chapel of the fortress squatters from Madrid discuss with
Maroccon Indymedia activists and with socilogists, that are researching
the shift of the border towards the south. Local refugee supporters are
exchanging with womens rights activists from Larache, with community
representatives from the Rif-mountains, with spokespersons from the
movement of the unemployed as well as with labour leaders from the
greenhouse industries in Almeira. Radio and filmmakers are documenting,
mixing, editing and sending their conference contributions in the
internet. As soon as it gets dark outside, the DJ's and VJ's, musicians
and performance artists take the command over the three inner wards.

The climax of the spectacle is a video conference via a wireless
connection from Tarifa to Tanger, that was accomplished by the
netactivists through an extra strong antenna. The small transmitting
mast, that only got the official administrative permission the day
before, is standing on the heighest of the four towers of the fortress
and looks more like a fan. Long wires are meandering around the castle
walls, run across the narrow stairways and historic castle rooms, in
which the activists go into a huddle behind the screens.

The radar of the coast guards and the aircraft-carriers, that patrol in
the geostrategically important straits, is continuously distracting the
reception and so the pictures from the university of tanger and from the
small coffee house in the old town keep collapsing after a short time;
but Jose Perez de Lama, alias Osfa, who is one of the organisors of the
event, is satisfied. He sees this way of low-tech activism above all as
a symbol: "We want to demonstrate how closely the topics freedom of
communication and freedom of movement are related nowadays."

The exposed geographical location of Tarifa seems to be the reason why
contradictions don't just collide abruptly, but why also theses, that
may sound abstract at other locations, become obviously clear here.
Where military, paramilitary and civil regimes of control are
overlapping with situations of economical exploitation, where tremendous
legal and illegal flows of traffic have to be managed and every square
centimeter is surveilled around-the-clock, the special meaning of
networked communication technologies becomes obvious. But what if they
don't only play a major role in constraining freedom of movement, but
also in regaining it?

"We have waited for five days on the Maroccon coast, without having
something to drink nor to eat. At 2 o' clock in the morning we entered
the boat. The crossing to spain took us 13 hours. The steermen were
specialists. May be that's why we spend so much time on the water. We
had to ship around warships - at night around Maroccon ones, during the
day around Spanish ones. But as soon as we arrived we've already been
expected by the Guardia Civil.

Right in the middle of the conference the news arrive, that only some
kilometers outside of Tarifa three refugee boats have landed in the
military area. One of the refugees is Moussa, whom the authorities will
later name John and impute a liberian nationality on him, even though he
doesn't speak a single word of English, but so he can be deported back
immediatly. Surprisingly, Moussa is being released after two days in the
deportation camp, because he has contact to one of the representatives
of the local refugee support network, that was negotiating about the
release of Moussa with the authorities for the two days.

"Moussa had unified the refugees that came from countries, where only
few people were present, who had been more or less by themselves and in
a very difficult situation, since they have no community", says Nico
Scuglia. Still in Marocco, in the clandestine camps, in which the
refugees are waiting up to months for a chance to cross, communication
structures play a decisive role. Usually only larger communities are
able to organise all necessary infrastructure like mobil phones,
addresses and contacts to the different networks necessary.

 =46rom this background, Scuglia is especially glad about the response
that the conference has created on the other side of the straits, where
mobile phones or even internet is far from being a matter of course.
Next year the activists from Al-Jwarezmi from Marocco want to continue
the event in Larache the other way around.

Also Osfa from Sevilla sees the greates challenge in trying not to waste
a political project like "Transacciones/Fadaiat" in platitudinous
activism or fast media effects, but to take on the complexity of a
postmodern borderregime. "In the straits not only the military and the
economical streams of the empire are crossing each other, they are also
confronted with the selforganised movements of a multitude, that is
networking beyond any border."

Nevertheless- at the end of the conference a sponteneous old-school
demonstration evolves: Just when the prisoner transport van of the
Guardia Civil is trying to bring the refugees, that they captured during
the day, off of the harbour mole, the conference participants rush out
of the fortress and block the evacuation of the refugees for half an
hour. But the balance of power is characteristic: six activists are
barricading the harbour gate with a long banner, whereas another dozen
of activists is surrounding them on the street with videocameras in
theis hands.

At this moment Moussa is already in the deportation prison Algeciras, 20
kilometers away: Together with 16 other people in one dirty room, in
which simple benches substitute beds and blankets. After the ordeal of
the crossing he could also not find any sleep in his first night in
Europe; only on the second day in prison they received a small piece of
cake to eat and a cup of coffee. He doesn't understand the world anymore
and is at the same time pointing out the most blatant contradiction: "If
they would want to obstruct the way for us, they should then at least do
so, so we know right from the beginning, that the borders are closed."

In the end, this is the hypocritical dimension of the postmodern border
regime, that is pretending to manage migration but is only turning it
into illegal migration, making it more difficult, more expensive and
more dangerous, but never prevent people from migrating. No matter if at
the Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue or anywhere else around Europe.

(florian schneider)


* Fada'iyyat or FADAIAT (arabic): literally "through spaces" --
"FADAIAT" means also "space-ships" or rather "space-clearing
engines". According to Fatema Mernissi "FADAIAT" is the name in
Arabic for satellite TV.=

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