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Collection of Writings

Links to projects and a few texts, some co-written with the Radical Culture Research Collective (RCRC), BLW and Moratorium on Deportations Campaign (MDC), as well as texts written collaboratively with Cristian Nae.

In a Border World — blog and organizing project; in particular

The Path to Illegalization and the Invizibility of the State
Let’s Talk about this “Reform” Business: Militarization
Abolish Papers? Another Look at Registered Provisional Immigrant
with MDC: Resisting the “Humanitarian solution” to Child Migration

The Political Aesthetics of Immigrant Protest

The end of 1989 is seen as the end of the Cold War, most present in the popular imagination as the fall of the Berlin Wall. But in the 1990s the wall between East and West becomes, of course, reconstructed through other technologies and mechanisms, above and below national regimes. The production of “globalized” space reconfigures stratification through a series of new processes, and produces a set of new scales (at once more vast and more molecularized), along historically familiar vectors (race, gender, citizenship and so on). You mentioned the “fear of contagion” that becomes characteristic of Western discourses in the ’90, and the production of the racialized migrant as a criminal category under the guise of national security. In the case of migration from the former Soviet Block, this was also specifically a fear of the contagion of “communism,” which linked national security with capitalist exchange. Capitalism became equated with national interest, and we begin to see racialization playing a significant role in a changing state form and its articulation with global markets.

Riding the Zone — in Compass: Deep Routes, the Midwest in all Directions, as a pdf here

“Our questions also had to do with the ways in which difference based on racial, class, gender, and immigration status could sometimes become erased in social movements (via claims of inclusivity or commonality) or alternately reduced to identity politics and a narrowly-defined ally relation. In some ways, our experiments with organizing made us inefficient, especially from the perspective of campaign politics. But they produced new possibilities for how difference can be understood, and tactically leveraged. We recognize that it is capital that produces regimes of stratified and increasingly unequal differentials, and that our differences can therefore be neither overlooked nor overcome within it. In our experiments, various forms of entanglement with and across territories became our way of neither erasing nor essentializing difference, but rather leveraging it in order to force its production into some kind of legibility.”

im/migrations, a subjective introduction — editorial for   AREA #11: A Local reader about how borders are made, experienced, and challenged through human movement (or, “This whole illegals thing is bullshit”)

An Image of our Future: On the Making of Migrant “Illegality” – an interview with Nicholas de Genova  for AREA #11: A Local reader about how borders are made, experienced, and challenged through human movement (or, “This whole illegals thing is bullshit”)

“Conversations on Feminism”, by Cara Baldwin. With: Rozalinda Borcila, Orianna Cacchione, Jaleh Mansoor, Louis Schwartz, Joni Spigler”  for Occupy Everything

Rozalinda Borcila. “Deciphering the Signs of the Times” in a book about the painting of Serban Savu

Just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the emergence on the global market of contemporary art from the former “East” took place in the context of a voracious appetite for narratives of the failure of communism and the planetary victory of our way of life. Twenty years later, is there something different at stake in this new wave? This general question has, I think, particular implications for audiences in the former West, the great supposed victors of the Cold War, as we awaken from the Dream of market democracy into ecological devastation, permanent war, increased immiseration and the erosion of all aspects of social life under the pressures of capitalist restructuring… If deciphering the present also implies, as Achille Mbembe has stated, “making a judgement, a verdict on being our own contemporaries”, we see that the history of our encounter with “post-communism” under the sign of the global victory of capitalism is a process that has very specific effects, foreclosing the possibilities for critical thinking and delegitimizing the search for alternatives.

“Art in Wartime: Rozalinda Borcila in Conversation with microsillons”, for the Eternal Tour: Jerusalem catalogue 2011

“Secrets as a theme refers to knowledge, power and resistance; but it also refers to that which is hidden in plain sight, that which remains unacknowledged and unspoken, even as it structures almost every aspect of our lives, of our artwork. In my view, American militarism and its role in the occupation is precisely such a “secret” – it operates in every cultural act, in every aspect of contemporary American culture and daily life. And as women living in this country, we spoke of needing to confront ourselves with its reality in a direct way – not necessarily by making art objects thematically about the occupation, but by directly acknowledging that we are making work during an occupation, within a war zone, that the occupation is there even in art works that do not thematically address it because it structures the conditions within which we live and work.”

Rozalinda Borcilă  “A Letter on Interventionist Art?”, Critical, Curatorial, Cybermedia – Geneva, Switzerland, 2010

“It seemed clear to us that this was our question, and by this I mean that the intervention-ist tactic emerges from and within the privileged spaces of neoliberal globalization – the smooth spaces where social conflict is rendered invisible, where we become subjects through our enjoyment and our “way of life”. It also seemed clear that “intervene” meant “intervene into the political”, and that the search for oppositionality was in relation to a politics of visibility – based on the assumption that increased representational visibility is linked with political agency. But intervention has at times also complicated notions of visibility, in the sense that it has tended toward disrupting the processes by which things become normalized or “hidden in plain sight”. And it has often been accompanied by much experimentation with, and debate around, what we could call an ethics of conflict – an attempt to explore ways of practicing social conflict that are an alternative to violence and annihilation.”

Rozalinda Borcilă with Jérôme Grand. “Three Lessons in Advance of Prefigurative Listening”. published in Vector Publication at Frieze Projects, 2010

Rozalinda Borcilă. “Invazia” – Konrad Petrovszky and Ovidiu Tichindeleanu (eds). Revoluţia Română Televizată. Contribuţii la istoria culturală a mediilor . Cluj, IDEA Design & Print, 2009

Rozalinda Borcilă. In Search of Liberation –  Maska Volume 24, Issue 120-121. Ljubljana, 2009

“To a certain extent my work as an artist begins from the premise that our available functional repertoire is expandable – that there is a certain plasticity to our social functionality, that we can learn to develop new “social abilities” conducive to a radical politics. In my work with the artist collective BLW (with Sarah Lewison and Julie Wyman), for instance, we envisioned the collective as a body in need of “practice”, whose abilities were impaired by our limited experience within neoliberal capitalism (and we took this to be quite literally abilities to visualize, to see, to speak, or to otherwise act, to form relationships or affiliations that were not determined and limited by our relation to capital). I think we understood this as a spatial process, so our work developed as workshops or public meetings. We would look for how (art) “practice” could extend our collective capacities for a kind of escape, or at the very least for resisting capture.”

Rozalinda Borcilă. “Learning Alongside. Audio Journals from Dheisheh Refugee Camp”Third Text,  Fall 2008

Rozalinda Borcilă. “Playing fields” –  Social Dynamics, December 2007

Rozalinda Borcilă. “Schiphol trans-” in EasyCity. Amsterdam: De Vrije Ruimte, 2004

BLW. “I am going to tell you something no one else can tell you who wasn’t there…”in Playback, Playforward, edited by Manuela Zechner

BLW. “Rehearsals” – AREA Chicago #8, 2009

Radical Culture Research Collective. “The Sublime Whiff of Criticality: On the Functions of DocumentaRadical Philosophy

Radical Culture Research Collective. “A Very Short Critique of Relational Aesthetics – for

Secrets exhibition catalog

“Secrets” is a self-organized project initiated by the 6+ women’s art collective in collaboration with eight Palestinian women artists. Secrets has been a series of cultural and social exchanges, workshops, several publications, and an exhibition which traveled in the Occupied Territories of Palestine and in the US. Most importantly, this project is an attempt to build solidarities in recognition of our deep interconnectedness. The project began with the efforts of a small group of women artists. Over the course of several years and half a dozen trips to the West Bank, it has gradually developed into a larger collectivity of artists, cultural producers, institutions, educators, journalists, designers, writers, and social thinkers who have come together across great distances. They have helped facilitate the production, transport, and exhibition of artwork in the West Bank, navigating the casual brutality of the occupation with grace, intelligence, and courage. They have taught us about resistance. They have cast their voices, in support and protest, against the deafening silence. This project owes its existence to the mobilization of their creative energies.”

Rozalinda Borcila and Cristian Nae. “Global Capitalism and the European Expansion: An Introduction to the Economies of the Home”  –  in Europe: In-Between Documentary and Fiction (ex cat), edited by Marina Grzinic and Walter Seidl. Vienna, Erste Foundation, 2009

Rozalinda Borcila and Cristian Nae. “Past Futures: Extreme Subjectification. The Engineering of the Future and the Instrumentalization of Lifecollaborative textual installation for Vector Magazine – pdf here

Moratorium on Deportations Campaign (MDC): “Why an Immigrants’ Freedom Ride?

Moratorium on Deportations Campaign (MDC): “People’s Trial of Boeing”


May Day 2011,  interview with Jerry Mead-Lucero

Asylum March, interview with Mitchell Szczepanczyk

Neelika Jayawardane. “Alshaibi / Borcila” Essay for exhibition catalog, Sama Alshaibi and Rozalinda Borcila at University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Louise Amoore. “Lines of Sight: On Security and the Visualization of the Unknown

Lucy L. Lippard. “Smouldering Secrets” – essay for Secrets exhibition catalogue, December 2007

Cristian Nae. “Extracted and Embezzled. The subversive force of Reteritorialization” – on Borcila exhibition “Excerpts”, IDEA Magazine

Maymanah Farhat. “The Unearthing of Secrets: Palestinian Art, 6+ and a Series of TransgressionsElectronic Intifada

Diana Awad. “Turning our tongues: Journals from Dheisheh “ Electronic Intifada