20 December 2015

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Schellekens & Peleman started the correspondence project ‘Moving Stories’, which connects refugees with fellow citizens. Aditionally Schellekens made ‘Blue Zones‘, the artistic expression of the ‘Moving Stories’ project. More artwork of Schellekens & Peleman can be found here.

Schellekens & Peleman collaborate for this project with refugees living in the city and invite them to write a letter to other (native) citizens. The letters will be printed on an edition of as many copies as there are different nationalities in that city. (for ex. In Antwerp 166 copies are made, as there are 166 different nationalities registered in Antwerp).

Together with the writers, Schellekens & Peleman will post the letters in mailboxes of random addresses. With the letter comes a post card which the receiver of the letter can use to return an answer to the author of the letter.

Additionally to this local correspondence project, Schellekens & Peleman set up an international correspondence project where they invite refugees from one city to write to those in the next city Schellekens & Peleman will travel to with the ‘Inflatable Refugee’.

Blue Zones’ is the artistic transcript of the travels of each refugee that collaborates in ‘Moving Stories’.

Blue Zones‘ is a diptych in which the tragedy of displacement goes into direct dialogue with our mechanized quest for happiness.   Schellekens brings these two parts together in a multi-layered audio-visual art work in which the audience is deliberately being disorientated.

A blue zone is a scientific term for a specific place on earth where people grow exceptionally old due to some beneficial circumstances such as safety, healthy food, social engagement and family life.

For the creation of ‘Blue Zones’ Schellekens started from the path refugees/migrants took to go from their homeland to a new, unknown destination. A sanctuary where they hope to find their own blue zone that could secure their raison d’être and that holds an optimal environment. For the second part of the Blue Zones diptych Schellekens developed a second audio-visual representation of the itinerary generated via a GPS system.

The depicted route conflicts with the real circumstances in which the route was travelled. Void of every emotion, the GPS system calculates the most efficient route based on mathematical algorithms. A cold, monotonous computerized voice gives us ad infinitum instructions.

It’s a step-by-step guide to happiness not keeping reality into account.

This second part represents the negation of tragedy.