Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Visas for Artistic Performance

Artists traveling in the European Union need a special visa in order to show &/or perform their work(s).

This just in from Listen & Be Heard by way of Ron Silliman's blog:

[excerpt follows]
In Chanticleer Magazine (issue 21), the editor, Richard Livermore, reports “On September 16th, an American poet was arrested at Stanstead Airport, held in a holding tank, interrogated on and off (…) for 18 hours, had her mugshot (sic) taken, was finger-printed and then sent back to Italy, where she had bought her ticket. Her crime – she had come to Britain to read poetry (…) on the radio – for which she was not being paid – without a special visa to do so. When the person who was due to meet her at the airport tried to find out by phone what was happening, he was told that, under the Data Protection Act, such information could not be released. When he attempted to ask more questions the person at the other end of the line told him that if he persisted in asking questions, she would be obliged to hang up. To this day, the poet – a 64-year-old writer, musician, poet and translator – still doesn’t know why she was held. All she knows is that in coming here to read poetry she was contravening one of three new laws which stipulates that non-EU artists require a special visa to exhibit their work. Reading poetry in public falls into the category of ‘exhibiting work”.

Read the full article at http://www.listenandbeheard.net/home/2008/11/24/the-terror-of-poetry/

And now more on this from the Civitas Blog:

[excerpt follows]
According to French MEP Claire Gibault (cited by Euobserver.com as a top violinist and orchestra director) artists deserve “special social status” to be able to travel throughout the union. Gibault has identified the artists’ situation as an example of deficiencies in the Schengen Agreement (which creates a borderless zone for free travel across Europe) and claims that artists actually require further freedoms. Confused? Me too! The EU’s justification is that art and culture must be “human not elitist” and according to the EU, the only way to “humanise” art is via a new visa programme for artists to ensure greater mobility “as a condition for cultural exchange and enrichment”.

Read the full article at http://www.civitas.org.uk/blog/2008/04/the_eus_art_attack.html

Anyone who wants a special Schengen Visa to travel in Europe and give a poetry reading would be well advised to plan their trip several months in advance during which time the visa application can be processed. More info on obtaining such a visa can be found for instance at immihelp: http://www.immihelp.com/visas/pvisa/

Susana Milevska, a graduate student at Goldsmiths College, posted a piece online about the paper she prepared and presented in February 2006 at the 7th Postgraduate Conference. Here is an excerpt from that paper:

My paper deals with a contemporary art phenomenon that emerged in the countries that are not part of the European Union. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a great number of contemporary art projects are concerned with the continuously changing borders between Schengen and non-Schengen states. It is not surprising, if one takes into account that each artist coming from a non-Schengen country, in order to participate at an international project, needs at least one month to collect all the required documents for a Schengen visa. While opposing to the strict visa and passport regimes which make their life as free-lance artists impossible, artists imagine performances, objects, installations, video or photography projects that are often clandestine attempts for finding a way to trick the political system. Therefore, one can say that they use their profession and mediums in a quite different way than it has been used before.

Read the full abstract at the UCL university homepages website.

Find out more about Schengen states at the Schengen Space website.

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