Shipwreck Information Center


A Community and collaborative project
Exhibition: 13.07.2018 – 20.08.2018
Opening: 13.07.2018 17:00
@Brinkkala Gallery, Turku


The history of shipbuilding and sea transport is entangled with the history of migration. Between the 16th and 18th century, large ships were built to carry people from Africa to Europe and North America for slave-labor and in early 20th century ships were built to carry European migrants across the Atlantic Ocean. Today, in our technological era, large passenger ships are built for tourism and entertainment while small boats such as plastic boats, rafts and lifeboats are used for migration. Turku has a long history in shipbuilding and many of the world’s largest passenger ships, such as MS Oasis of the Seas, are built here. Coincidentally, the only migration institute in Finland is also located in Turku.

Today, there is a familiarity with the classic and romantic image of migration seen in movies and popular culture or its grim contemporary image seen in the news and social media. The images of forced migration and displacement that we witness today are negative, dark and disturbing. Yet the reality of its aftermath, for the survived subjects who experience the long and dangerous journey is very disturbing. The conversations about migration are often obscured by debates between anti-migration and nationalist voices against human rights activists. The project’s aim is to focus on the reality of migration through art while giving voice to those who are excluded from the conversation.

Shipwreck Information Center is revisiting the conflicting intersection of historical fiction and contemporary reality via different perspectives and interactions. The exhibition and happenings are a result of collaborations between artists, researchers and activists from diverse backgrounds and practices. Focusing on the journey, its cultural aftereffects and fragments, the group will create an environment for audiences to experience the shift from past to present.

The historic element of the project is selected from the archives of Siirtolaisuusinstituutti (Migration Institute of Finland in Turku). Its contemporary aspect was inspired by artists previous projects as well as the new collaboration with Migrant Tales (an online blog from voices of migrants in Finland since 2007) and “We See You” campaign -originated for better asylum politics. The first three days of the exhibition is dedicated to performances, music, poetry and talks by artists from different communities in Helsinki, Turku and Vaasa. The program will be partly in English and partly in Finnish.





Reading list: 

Arash Abizadeh, Democratic Theory and Border Coercion: No Right to Unilaterally Control Your Own Borders
Bridget Anderson, Nandita Sharma, and Cynthia Wright, Editorial: Why No Borders?
Shahram Khosravi, The ‘illegal’ traveller: an auto-ethnography of borders
Cynthia Wright, History, Memory and Immigration Controls
Harsha Walia, Undoing border imperialism (book)
Ibn Fadlan, Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness, Arab Travellers in the Far North (book)
ENAR shadow report 2015-2016, Racism and discrimination in the context of migration in Europe,
Violence and Subjectivity, Editors: Mamphela Ramphele, Arthur Kleinman, Veena Das, Pamela Reynolds (book)