The Freedom of the Migrant.
We must not imagine that the world turns towards us a legible face which we would have only to decipher; the world is not the accomplice of our knowledge; there is no prediscursive providence which disposes the world in our favour. We must conceive discourse as a violence which we do to things, or in any case as a practice which we impose on them.
- Michel Foucault
On Saturday March 26th, 2016, in the Business section of the New Zealand Herald, columnist Fran O’Sullivan detailed comments by then Prime Minster, Sir John Key upon his return from a meeting of the International Democrat Union—a network of many of the world’s center-right political parties—of which Key was the chairperson at the time. According to O’Sullivan’s retelling of events, Key—in the wake of talks with likeminded world leaders—had stated his belief that “free-flowing terrorism in Europe was here to stay,” before hypothesising that “if Isis wanted to destabilise Europe, it would insert a Jihadi amidst a group of refugees, get them to kill people in the middle of Berlin, then turn the gun on him or herself. An event like this, he said, would not only destabilise Angela Merkel’s leadership, but with it, Germany’s leadership of Europe.” Working from this hypothesis, Key positioned Aotearoa New Zealand as an Asia-Pacific Switzerland—a beautiful and wealthy bolthole for high net-worth consumers seeking an escape from an unstable world. Ensuring the outcome of this line of reasoning wasn’t lost on the reader, a large pull-quote positioned in the centre of the page stated: “To the Prime Minister (terrorism) simply makes New Zealand more attractive and will result in more high net-worth consumers wanting to come here.”
A short, sharp tale of cause and effect, Key’s hypothesis enters into a discourse of dominant political narratives constructed around terrorism and the refugee crisis. In turn, these narratives influence collective perceptions of border control, freedom of movement, and national identity.
The Freedom of the Migrant is about forecasts and connections. It is about freedom from terror positioned as freedom from asylum seekers or vice-versa; about Aotearoa New Zealand, sold as a bolthole; air-tight and conditioned, able to induce a certain environment, like a glass-house; uninhibited by events outside.
The Freedom of the Migrant
Key’s Vision with Fran O’Sullivan
Unknown Kowns, or the Contemplation of Nightmares with Richard Jackson
Imagined Communities with David Hall
Edited and Designed by Matthew Galloway
Independently published in association with the Dunedin Public Art Gallery on the occasion of Matthew Galloway The Freedom of the Migrant 21st April – 12th August, 2018 Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin, New Zealand
Newspaper Scans appear courtesy of the New Zealand Herald
Printed by Allied Press, Dunedin, New Zealand
Edition of 1500