KINGS ROAD (2007-2008)

 

 

Kings Road is a photographic project, exploring the tension under which individuals live, when having left their country, they reach the UK to start another life.

 

Some are refugees. Most are waiting for a legal status, which often takes several years to obtain. It is a time of insecurity, poverty and isolation.

 

The migration of people to Europe remains an ongoing question, tangled up in the history and values of the Western society. To me, it takes its significance in the presence and reactions of individuals who undertook the journey, which in many cases, leads to a state of limbo and tears them apart.

The edit of the photographs echoes the fragmentation of people innerselves, born out of the violence undergone and the endless waiting that follows.

 

The images reveal a territory of emptiness, ghostly memories and consolations: life can suddenly break through. But in this state of vulnerability, whether or not, and for how long this alleviates the burden of uncertainty and loneliness is always at stake.

 

This tension, inhabiting the body and the mind, runs throughout the book. This thread recalls the repeated confrontation between temptations to give up and the endurance of people.

The pictures were taken in Brighton and Hove and in the hostels and accommodations of refugees and asylum seekers, in 2007.

Untitled-4 copy_edited.jpg

artist book, single copy

Context:

In the U.K., 96 % of the requests for asylum are rejected in the first decision. To obtain the status of refugee is a long-term battle between the individual and the court. The political treatment of this question is characterized by a global reluctance to give the refugee status, which cause the incapacity of the administration to answer the demands.

By allowing this situation, the state creates a limbo, blurring the borders between legality and illegality. The asylum seekers do not have the right to work and live in temporary accomodations for an undefined time. It is rare for a regularization to be obtained in less than a year. In most cases, this process lasts several years. 

What does happen when the transitory become the everyday? When the status is finally obtained, do these people feel they belong to the place? How do they start again their live after a long exclusion?

The U.K. is at the end of the road, on the map as in the minds. As long as it was a dream, exile was the symbol of all possibilities. Once they have arrived in this temporary that becomes a way of life, a tension appears: the one fed by the dreams that people have had and by the memories of what they have left behind. 

In the sixties, the asylum seekers were perceived as victims to protect. They are nowadays considered as suspects. More and more, the notion of security against all kind of threats and risks has been imposed as a priority and presented as falling under the strict control of our borders. This imperative of security seems to legitimate any politics of incarceration. Some of its forms are visible, such as the detention centres. Keeping an individual in a room for month and years, without giving him access to work and the means to integrate the society, is it not allowing another form of detention?

V.B. 2008