Jogos Sem Fronteiras / Games Without Borders #1 – An Extract
by Sandra Lang
Jogos Sem Fronteiras #1 on the camps of europe, was edited in Lisbon by Ana Bigotte Vieira, Marta Lança and José Nuno Matos in 2007, shortly after the EU-Africa Lisbon Summit. Its main subjects are south-north migrations and “the others” produced by the mechanisms of exclusion represented by the Schengen borders. The magazine, published in Portuguese, gathers 15 texts subsumed under three sections: ideas, experiences and practices. Games without Borders #1 contains images produced by Pizz Buin, Kiluanij Kila Henda, Alexandra Ferreira, pictures from the Movie Bab Cepta by Federico Lobo and Pedro Pinho and two infographic maps produced by the collective Fadaiat.
The section “ideas” gathers texts with a prevalently theoretical approach: The first was Ricardo Noronha’s text Êxodo: corpos migrantes vidas ilegais (We are all illegal) on Schengen laws and european migration politics. In On the camps of Europe, Ana Bigotte Vieira used Agamben’s theories on camps, bare life and state of exception as a lens to look at European Migration camps and airport holding zones. Sandro Mezzadra problematized the very definition of Border and Frontier as theoretical tools in Borders, migrations, citizenship. We are all migrants (Todos somos migrantes) is a literary text written by Regina Guimarães.
Marta Lança, one of the co-editors of Jogos Sem Fronteiras #1 has a wide experience in living and dealing with cultural practices throughout the so called ‘lusosphere’ (Portugal, Angola, Cabo Verde, Mozambique, Brasile, S. Tomé). In Lusosphere is a bubble she sharply points out the continuities between colonialism and neo-colonialism in the Portuguese speaking world.
The second section of the magazine, ‘experiences’ gathered first person testimonials, such as António Tomás’ Six hours in Lisbon. The angolan literary critic and writer describes his experiences with the absurdity of visa bureaucracy as he is hold back at the airport on what should have been only a short stopover in Lisbon.
Christina Machado Coelho writes about how people are forced into a prolonged and “institutionalized” state of illegality while applying for a stay permit after their arrival in Portugal.
Deprived from basic rights, one lives in a “legal and institutional limbo ” like in a “prison without walls” (The Justice in the waiting line). “When reality surpasses fiction” is the narration of who police interrupted a réunion in a private flat in Lisbon, waiting
Colectivo Casa Viva When reality surpasses fiction” : A peaceful small reunion in a private flat turned into being a situation which “requested” the intervention of several policemen, investigations and extensive identity controls, because the arrival of singular guests visually identifiable as “strangers” was considered a suspicious event.
The third and last section, “Practices”, focused on artistic and political experiments which were in the opinion of the editors, able to deal with the above described thematics developing emancipatory practices instead of adopting humanitarian or philanthropic approaches.
Bettina Wind writes about Alexandra Ferreira’s exhibition “alles unter Kontrolle” (Bomba Suicida, Lisbon, 2005) about border performativity. “Estrangeiro é a tua avó” (Your grandmother is a Stranger!), is an interview about a theatre project developed by Miguel Castro Caldas and Bruno Bravo in collaboration with an amateur theatre group constituted by refugees, inside the ONG “Conselho Português para os Refugiados”. From FADAIAT/ indymedia Estrecho de Gibraltar’s cartographies and media experiments to Pedro Pinho’s and Federico Lobo’ movie BAB CEPTA, to Ursula Biemann’s “Geobodies”, a characteristic of this projects and experiences is their capacity of addressing questions around migration and borders avoiding a patronizing or exoticizing gaze, but rather treating them as being constitutive of our very own world.
The production period of Jogos Sem Fronteiras # 1 coincides with the collapse of the US financial markets and the beginning of what is also called “the global financial crisis” in 2007/2008. In many places, including Europe, this financial crisis evolved into a deep crisis of representational democracy. Now we are working on a second edition of Games without borders. This time we want to speak about micro-practices and spaces of resistance to the crisis. While we work on JFS #2 On practices and spaces of resistance and invention, we think that the texts on camps, migration and the construction of an ambiguous European Identity published in JFS #1 are still very pertinent, as they deal with issues that are still crucial today.
For this short extract of Jogos sem Fronteiras #1we translated the editorial of Games Without Borders #, the texts by Ricardo Noronha, Marta Lança and the text about the movie Bab Cepta, by Federico Lobo and Pedro Pinho. In addition to the texts originally published in Games Without Borders #1, this brochure contains two complementary and newer texts written by Ana Bigotte Vieira, published at the website “BUALA contemporary african culture” in April and May 2013.
 The grafic design of Magazine JSF#1 was made by Inês Barros and Pedro Prata and the magazine was published in July 2008 by Edições Antipáticas.