FOR_SITE project, Sanctuary
In 2017, in response to Donald Trump’s proposed travel ban which would bar people from majority Muslim countries from travelling to America, FOR-SITE launched a new project to counter the growing fear and nationalism and offer an antidote – a sanctuary. The exhibitions and commissions, artist residencies, and education programs are based on the belief that art can inspire fresh thinking and important dialogue about our natural and cultural environment.
Sanctuary evokes a place of rest and safety. You think of sanctuaries as being tranquil, places where no judgement occurs and where everyone is welcome. Sanctuaries are places, but not all places are sanctuaries.
Sanctuary on its is an evocative term but when put in the context of Trump’s proposed travel ban it takes on a new meaning. It explores the idea of all humans need refuge, protection and safety. It was made by artists from 21 different countries which is a way of connecting people in the face of adversity. That political leaders like Trump can make laws like a travel ban but ultimately there is always more that unites us than divides us.
Wider Research – Home Land Security
Occupying a suite of former military structures in the Presidio overlooking the San Francisco Bay, Home Land Security brought together works by contemporary artists and collectives from around the globe to reflect on the human dimensions and increasing complexity of national security, including the physical and psychological borders we create, protect, and cross in its name.
Francis Ays, When Faith Moves Mountains
This project was conceived when Alÿs was first in Lima, Peru for the Biennial in 2000. The unrest, social tension, and resistance against the Fujimori dictatorship were overt. It was, in the words of Alÿs, an ‘epic response’ which resulted in a minute change. This change could only be brought about by an enormous collective effort. It took place in the Ventanilla dunes, a place where people displaced in the civil unrest had made their homes without running water or electricity. The event is documented with photographs and a video on his website and acts as a powerful metaphor. No one could recognise that the dune had ever moved and the aftermath of the work is in the sense of collective effort and the anecdotes that spread long after the event ended.