Displaced Witness

Baltic

The Greek islands neighbouring the Turkish coast have become the unofficial ‘gate’ for refugees trying to cross into Citadel Europe over the past year.

Lesvos is perhaps the largest ‘island’ on the archipelago of the ‘migrant corridor’, along which physical and social space are set under constant negotiation. The rugged, mountainous coastline of the north is perforated by synthetic piles of survival. The social terrain is in flux with displaced people, locals and volunteers renegotiating social space in the island.

Displaced Witness asks the viewer to bare spatial witness to the people and landscape of Lesvos.

Stepping from the centre of the installation viewers begin an act of sensory transportation. The sound of the Lesvos coastline meets their ears, pebbles crunch beneath their feet. A visual testimony emerges from a whirling cloud of points. They are confronted with a portrait or landscape from Lesvos.

‘Displaced Witness’ takes place on a homogeneous surface of transplanted 1 meter by 1 meter textures from the island of Lesvos, digitally re-enacted from 3D scan data.

ScanLAB Projects | Displaced Witness | ScanLAB Projects
ScanLAB Projects | Displaced Witness | ScanLAB Projects
ScanLAB Projects | Displaced Witness | ScanLAB Projects

ARRIVALS

The beaches of Skala Sikamineas are the point of arrival for many boats from Turkey. Boats are often guided in by volunteer lifeguards having been directed toward several unofficial volunteer camps who provide assistance, warm clothes, food and a friendly welcome to those who make the journey. Prior to the establishment of these camps and the process of guiding arriving vessels in, boats would land at perilous locations with those on board having to walk miles across rugged terrain to find civilisation. This more structured welcome has averted thousands of possible shipwrecks and saved many, many lives.

ScanLAB Projects | Displaced Witness | ScanLAB Projects

CAMP

This ad hoc camp was established by volunteers and aid agencies outside the official Moria Registration Centre (now the Moria Detention Centre). When scanned in 2015 the camp tended to house those who were not accepted in the main registration centres. The ambition of many of the aid agencies was to extend a lighter touch that the official registration centre, with children’s entertainers, activities, warm tea and fruit

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LIGHTHOUSE

The Korakas peninsula forms the most northerly point of Lesvos island and marks one of the closest points to mainland Turkey. Its lighthouse signals dangerous rocks to passing ships. The light has however acted as a beacon for hundreds of nighttime voyages across the Aegean Sea, resulting in numerous tragedies as unseaworthy vessels try to land on perilous rocks. The Lighthouse Relief team, coastguards and rescue teams now try to guide arrivals away from the lighthouse and towards the safer landing beaches to the West.

ScanLAB Projects | Displaced Witness | ScanLAB Projects

VESTS

In the summer of 2015 the tourist beaches of Lesvos were strewn with discarded life vests and the remains of inflatable boats. In a partially ecologically, partially perceptually motivated move the local authorities began the process of systematically collecting and removing this material from the beaches. This municipal waste site on the edge of the town of Mithimna became an ever expanding landscape of life vests. The tens of thousands of vests gathered here each represent a life that has attempted to cross the ocean. The fate of their wearers is unknown, many will have been safely landed on the beaches of Scala but other vests will have washed up alone on the shores.

ScanLAB Projects | Displaced Witness | ScanLAB Projects