Public presentation of the work “Map of World Migration” (2010-2015) at the University of Arts in Belgrade

7. March 2023

The artistic work of the duo Doplgenger (Isidora Ilić and Boško Prostran) under the title “Map of World Migrations (2010-2015)” was publicly presented at the University of Arts on Kosančićevo venac, in classroom 35 of the UNESCO Chair for Interculturalism, art management and mediation in the Balkans. Wall installation became part of the permanent collection of the University of Arts in Belgrade.

For the UNESCO Chair for Interculturalism, Art Management and Mediation in the Balkans of the University of the Arts, this artistic work has a special significance, considering the generations of students who, coming from different countries of the world, throughout two decades of the existence of MA studies in cultural policy and management, could exchange their ideas and experiences with their colleagues in the spirit of interculturalism and diversity, gaining experiences that were of incomparable value for their further professional work and development, within the framework of complex geopolitical processes in the contemporary world.

The official presentation was attended by authors, as well as art historians Mirjana Dragosavljević and Dejan Vasić, who have selected this artwork in the past few years in different exhibition selections.

The artist Isidora Ilić pointed out that the “Map of World Migrations (2010-2015)” as part of a larger art project was previously presented in Serbia, Italy, and Austria, and that it refers to data obtained from the estimates of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development for the total number of migrants in the period 2010-2015 – according to the number of global migrants, divided by country of origin and country of residence.

Mirjana Dragosavljević brought to mind that this work is part of a long-term artistic research through which Doplgenger examines the complex and complicated relations of work, war, and economy, while Dejan Vasić added that Doplgnger’s work on the topic of migration was actually shaped through an art film, three installations and a map under the common title “Through a night without stars, dark and thick as ink”. He also referred to the period of migration in Yugoslavia during the 70s of the 20th century, and the concept of “Gastarbeiter” as an organized export and import of labor, a process that, due to the economic-political circumstances was deliberately imposed on population and when we talk about data, partially covered by a veil of secrecy, or “official shaping” of media announcements, and even longer-term policies in this area. Vasić also drew attention to the note that is an integral part of the UN Commission’s map, which was used as the basis of this work, and which states that the borders, names of countries, and symbols shown do not imply acceptance or approval by the UN.

“There is no need to talk about double standards when it comes to the placement of data on the number of migrants and their movements. One thing is certain, all publicly announced data should be viewed with a grain of salt, as well as the language used to publicly place topics related to migration, while we can only talk about deeper political and especially economic reasons in the field of critical thought,” added Mirjana Dragosavljević.

Inviting the audience to join the discussion, Boško Prostran said that “World Migration Map” has its own life as an installation, despite the fact that experimental film and video, extended film, or intervention on already existing media products are the predominant part of the Doplgnger duo’s oeuvre.

Hence, a map or installation is an expression of a different approach imposed by the topic, also expressing the moment in which it was created.

In the discussion that followed, with the participation of the audience, the topic of migrations caused by the wars of the 90s in Yugoslavia, and unreliable sources of data related to tragic events were also talked about, as well as guerilla wars and migrating terrorism actions caused by local wars. Last but not the least, the impact of climate change was discussed, together with the way they determine desirable destinations as well as areas where human survival is less and less possible due to climate and ecology.

Maps of global migrations also have their own dynamic time perspective. Observed over decades and even centuries, those countries that were the places of greatest emigration during the era of colonialism are today among the most desirable for immigration. Thus, in a historical sense, it is impossible to see this process through a statistical excerpt.

Nevertheless, the work of the artistic duo Doplgenger is provoking when we reflect on the orientation of political powers, reminding us at the same time of the relations between maps, the data they contain, and the epoch in which they are created, as well as the institutions that create and present them publicly.