Gespräch mit Banu Cennetoğlu und Geert Ates von UNITED for Intercultural Action

The List comprises data about thousands of immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees who have lost their lives on their way to or at the border of the European Union since 1993 due to restrictive policies of Fortress Europe. UNITED for Intercultural Action, an Amsterdam-based network in support of migrants and refugees, collects the data displayed in The List, updating the names, ages, genders, regions of origin, and sources of information every year. This discussion brings together Geert Ates, Director of UNITED, artist Banu Cennetoglu who seeks ways and partnerships to make this information visible, as well as Andrea Stäritz and Jochen Schwarz from borderline-europe – Menschenrechte ohne Grenzen e.V., an organization that does in-depth research at Europe's frontier regions to gather data about the consequences of current migration policies.

The List included 7,128 cases when it was first exhibited in Amsterdam in 2007; today it comprises 33,293 cases (as of June 15, 2017). In this talk, Ates, Cennetoglu, Stäritz, and Schwarz discuss what these statistics imply. How does one interpret and use these abstract and vulnerable numbers? How does this data act like a research document, a conflict map, and a mourning object? Taking cue from these questions, this event marks the first public event where Ates and Cennetoglu discuss each other’s urgencies since they started their collaboration ten years ago.

Geert Ates is the director and co-founder of UNITED for Intercultural Action. He coordinates the research for the UNITED List of Refugee Deaths since 1992. UNITED for Intercultural Action (European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees) is the largest pan-European network against discrimination in which over 550 NGOs from more than 45 European countries cooperate.

Banu Cennetoglu is an artist. In collaboration with curators, art workers, and institutions, she facilitates the visibility of The List in several countries using public display structures such as ad-boards and newspaper supplements since 2006.

Jochen Schwarz is a lawyer for asylum and migration law. He works in the asylum procedure counseling in the NGO Oase Berlin e.V, for the refugee council Berlin (Flüchtlingsrat Berlin), and borderline-europe – Menschenrechte ohne Grenzen e.V.

Andrea Stäritz recently joined Borderline-Europe. Previously, she was a journalist based in Nigeria and worked for the Migration Control Project, a project by Die Tageszeitung focusing on the externalization of European Borders and its impact on migration from West Africaa.