- Genève (CH), La Batie
Since 1993, UNITED for Intercultural Action, a network of hundreds of anti-racist organizations from all over Europe, has been compiling a list of refugees and migrants who lost their lives on their way to the continent. As of June 2020, when the latest updated version was released, the list included information on 40,555 reported deaths. The total toll is certainly much higher, as many people are neither found nor registered. When scrolling through the many pages of the list one cannot ignore the fact that only a very small number of the deceased are mentioned by name, leaving the vast majority without identifying details.
The European jurisdiction establishes a clear distinction between criminal, natural, and accidental deaths, which determines the way the bodies are subsequently handled. As the many thousands of deaths that take place at the gates of Europe challenge this taxonomy, the forensic procedures consisting in collecting medical and biological data from the corpses are not carried out in most of the cases. This absence of information prevents any possibility of future identification of the victims. At the bottom of the sea, on the shores, and inland, a mass of decomposed bodies tells the story of a collective whose ghost hovers over European territory.
For their research, Arkadi Zaides and his team delve into the practice of forensics to conceive a new virtual depository documenting the remains of the many whose deaths remain to this day mostly unacknowledged. This growing archive unfolds a map, an invisible landscape, stretching in all directions across space and time, interrelating the mythologies, histories, geographies and anatomies of those who have been granted entrance to Necropolis.
Freedom of movement needs to be returned to the bodies who are admitted to Europe as corpses. And although in the City of the Dead there is no-body left to dance, it is exactly that no-body, that body of the bodies - the body of NECROPOLIS - which Zaides aims to animate back to life.
concept & direction Arkadi Zaides
dramaturgy & text & voice Igor Dobricic
research & choreography assistant Emma Gioia
performers Arkadi Zaides, Emma Gioia
sculpture Moran Senderovich
3D modeling Mark Florquin
avatar animation Jean Hubert
animation assistant Thibaut Rostagnat
sound design Aslı Kobaner
light design Jan Mergaert
grave location search Aktina Stathaki, Amalie Lynge Lyngesen, Amber Maes, Amirsalar Kavoosi, Ans Van Gasse, Arkadi Zaides, Benjamin Pohlig, Bianca Frasso, Carolina-Maria Van Thillo, Christel Stalpaert, Doreen Kutzke, Dorsa Kavoosi, Elisa Franceschini, Elvura Quesada, Emma Gioia, Filippo Furri, Frédéric Pouillaude, Gabriel Smeets, Giorgia Mirto, Gosia Juszczak, Igor Dobricic, Ilka Van Bijlen, Jordy Minne, Joris Van Imschoot, Julia Asperska, Juliane Beck, Katia Gandolfi, Katja Seitajoki, Lina Gilani Tsitouri, Luca Lotano, Lucille Haddad, Maite Zabalza, Maria Sierra Carretero, Mercedes Roldan, Meret* Heuss, Myriam Van Imschoot, Myrto Katsiki, Osnat Kelner, Özge Atmış, Pepa Torres Perez, Sarah Leo, Selby Jenkins, Simge Gücük, Solveig Gade, Sunniva Vikør Egenes, Tamara Vajdíková, Tilemachos Tsolis, Yannick Bosc, Yari Stilo
technical director Etienne Exbrayat
administration & production Simge Gücük / Institut des Croisements
coproduction Théâtre de la Ville (FR), Montpellier Danse 40 Bis (FR), Charleroi Danse (BE), CCN2 Centre chorégraphique national de Grenoble (FR), laGeste (les ballets C de la B + kabinet k) (BE), Tanz im August / HAU Hebbel am Ufer (DE), La Filature – Scène nationale de Mulhouse (FR)
international distribution Helena Elshout / laGeste
residency support CCN - Ballet de Lorraine (FR), STUK (BE), PACT Zollverein (DE), WP Zimmer (BE), Workspacebrussels (BE), Cie THOR (BE), Co-laBo at les ballets C de la B (BE)
support for experimentation RAMDAM, UN CENTRE D’ART (FR)
Arkadi Zaides / Institut des Croisements is supported by French Ministry of Culture - DRAC Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
duration 70 minutes
We were struck by the numbers the list unveiled and wondered how the notion of enforced disappearance shifts when looking at the European context specifically since 2013, since death at its borders became such a widespread phenomenon.