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Gali Blay

Europe as a home: on perception, migration and surveillance systems.

Commissioned by the Tijdelijk Museum in 2017, "I'm possible Amsterdam" is a meditation on the influence of images in the perception of reality in Western societies.
Produced by Gali Blay together with Ondertussen Amsterdam, the short film investigates the usage of images in the context of the recent immigration "crisis", casting a light on the high risk of manipulation for viewers.

Images, such as videos and photos, still represent a "proof of existence" which is largely confused with a "proof of reality" by people. Instead, depending on how, when and by whom is taken, and where and when it is presented in a certain way, a photo can manipulate its viewer. In presenting the video, Blay writes that "today, in our Western society, we look at our reality through the images we consume which presents a risk since each situation, through the usage of images, can be turned into a spectacle that appears to be reality".

The short film, through the use of stop motion technique and a brilliant collage of videos, tells the new reality of Bijlmerbajes, a former prison now transformed in a temporary home for asylum seekers.
Is renaming a place enough to change its inner structure? Not at all. The outline for the video is, in fact, the surveillance system which hasn't been dismantled: here six videos are playing, some from films shot in Amsterdam, some showing the interiors of a house, one showing the European Parliament discussing the migration "crisis" with the Netherlands and Germany joining forces to stop the arrival of asylum seekers - the voices we hear are those of politicians from France, Germany etc.

"This situation raises a variety of questions since the architecture of this building allows for constant surveillance, such as a system of cameras which are spread in the building and still functions as a surveillance tool", comments Gali on the decision of using such a video framing. "The newcomers which reside in Bijlmerbajes represent to many of us the unknown other which we meet only through the images we see in the media. The use of surveillance cameras to look at 'the other' through screens only deepens the separation between the newcomers to the old residents of Amsterdam and prevents further engagement".

"In this installation I aimed to research how a manipulated image in a control room can become a tool for communication rather than a tool for observation" she adds as the project saw the involvement of six newcomers who stayed at Bijlmerbajes. Together with Ondertussen Amsterdam Gali Blay asked the newcomers what was their image on Europe prior to their arrival, and how they experience their reality today?
While the videos from the media and movies represent their image of Europe before their arrival, the stop-motion animation represents their everyday life in the Netherlands.

(Story by Sara Marzullo, The Architecture Player)


Concept development: Ondertussen Amsterdam
Commissioned by: Tijdelijk Museum (2017)

Netherlands 2017
Duration: 3'05"