The location was very symbolic for this action because there, on a daily basis, hundreds of migrants try to cross over to France by train but are constantly rejected back to Italy.
Once the train arrives to the first station in France, French police gets on the train and takes the black passengers off of the train and in a second moment ask them their documents.
White passengers continue their journey completely uncontrolled.
In the waiting room of Ventimiglia’s train station, the crux of the entire performance, the Italian police use to regroup the migrants that arrive by train from other parts of Italy and after a short interview, the ones that didn’t ask for asylum in Italy, are loaded on buses and deported to the south of the Country , to Centers of Identification and Expulsion ( C.I.E. ).
I proposed to individual singers and Choirs from different origins (Camerun, Guinee Conakry, France, Philippines and Italy) to choose a traditional song of their own Country or a song that they would like to sing in front of a border.
Each of the various groups chose one and the outcome was a mix of traditional/popular songs and two original songs composed right for this occasion. It became a dialogue between ancient and contemporary voices that gave shape to a genuine moment of togetherness despite the difficult context. The idea was to show the beauty of our different heritages through a popular and common way of expression which is music but also to highlight the existing element of rupture, the border. This is why white singers performed by moving in the entire space of the station and black singers performed inside the waiting room.
In the middle of the hall of the train station two people, Alberto and Mohammad start singing while walking towards the train tracks. Just before arriving to the lane, they separate. Mohammad enters the waiting room and Alberto stays out. They continue to sing their song from the two sides of the waiting room’s door, looking at each other. When their song ends a second group of performers start singing by moving along the train station, passing by the waiting room. After them other two groups of singers ( from Italy and from the Philippines )sing by moving in the space of the train station, also passing by the waiting room. Once finished, inside the waiting room Miranda (from Camerun), sings a popular song from Camerun, looking to the people passing by outside the waiting room. After her, Mamadou, starts singing an original rap song accompanied by two drum’s players . At the end of their performance, the singers in the waiting room pick up an envelope from a backpack on the floor and thy unfold the message by showing it to the public outside. They stick the message to the door and they sit down again in the waiting room. The other performers enter the space, pick up a closed envelope each and they exit the train station.
Blackness and Whiteness exist. The border of Ventimiglia really highlights how the skin color makes the difference if you are traveling from Italy to France. Therefore I had to make it clear.
The initial enjoyable moment for the public where white singers performed, turned intense as the presence of a filter between the black singers in the waiting room and the audience materialized through a closed door. I enjoyed the attempt of a spectator to force the door and seeing many people finally entering the waiting room (from a secondary entrance). At the end of the action, the public asked the singers to continue to play their songs and danced together.
Organizzazione e curatela: Maria Paola Rottino associazione Popoli in Arte.
Performers: Alberto Incarbona, Muhammed Sisaur, Cathy Munos, Christian Regolo, Elisa Nesta, Françoise Nave, Lucia Borro, M-Françoise Payet, Romaine D’Halluin, Philippe Saint-Araille, Séverin Foppolo, Thibaud Duffey, Véro Courty, Gibi, Lei Garcia, Mario Molinari, Giacomo Perotto, Giuliano
Antonio Gatto, Laura Ferrari, Giovanni Molinari, Luciana Lamberti, Miranda Ngoibijack, Mamadou Telly, Abou Denton, Amadou Jallow, Ebrima Fofana
Fotografia : Saverio Chiappalone
Video: Claudia Gandolfo, Matteo Bonaccorso, David Bernando
Si ringrazia Centostazioni SpA