Mladen Bundalo, Foreign Citizen – Chapter II Mons, spatial installation/combined technique, 2016
As a ‘foreign subject’ I was regarded with great interest by the administration of the privileged, developed, democratic states to which I travelled and in which I lived. Because I had applied for more than twenty visas and one stay permit within a period of five years and because I was forced to go through various humiliating procedures in order to get a permission to get married in France, I tried to understand ‘what it was all about?’ I could, of course, pretend that it was all clear to me, but essentially I had no idea why it was so! In my attempt to explain the treatment I underwent from the point of view of international relations, security procedures, economy, culture and heritage… I quickly came to the following conclusion: the current migration policy is a nicely and reasonably presented hypocrisy whose aim was to upkeep the narrow and abstract (to us) interests of the ruling establishments in those countries. But I sometimes wondered: What if they are right? What if the migrants are actually something more than just an allegorical representation of war, poverty and suffering. They might indeed introduce chaos in their order and they might truly threaten the developed democratic countries. Aware of the fact that one’s internal monologue is the ultimate fetish of every well-organized and safe society (see the books/films Minority Report and 1984), I began expressing my thoughts in seemingly everyday circumstances, looking for anomalies, something dangerous or inhuman. ‘Foreign Citizen’ is a photo-essay that reveals the internal monologues of a freshly arrived migrant. It was created in 2013, soon after my move from France to Belgium and the work exhibited is shaped as a spatial composition, made of 28 factual frames, accompanied with texts in order to build an emblematic cut out, representing my everyday dilemmas, fears and hopes.
Mladen Bundalo (1986, Priedor) is a conceptual and video artist. In his works he mainly deals with the issues of the emotional and social implications of the migrant status. He has participated in more than 80 international exhibitions, talks, festivals, as well as in many residential programs for artists. He is the co-author of the book ‘(R)evolution in the Exhibiting Models’ – a study of the influence Internet technology on the current discourse in arts and culture. He has also curated twelve international art projects. He has been awarded several prizes in the field of contemporary art.