The BABE project considers contemporary Europe a crucial point of arrival in a global network designed by mobile human beings and, increasingly, a postcolonial space. The project aims to explore the changes induced by global mobility into visual memories of Europe, focusing on visual art production and on the traces of memory produced by mobile people (oral and visual interviews, maps, objects, drawings). It compares two nations, Italy and The Netherlands, chosen for both their similarities and differences in relation to past and present movements of people, as this “tension” allows for a productive comparative study.
The approach to cultural memory, as reflected in various cultural products and material cultures produced by movements across borders, foregrounds the intersection between memory, visuality and mobility as one of the key concerns of our research which intends to connect the visual and the oral in the study of memory.
Offering a critical account of stories and practices of movement in, out an through Europe, the research aims to shed new light on the multiplicity of meanings of mobility by examining the interlinked histories of emigration, colonialism and immigration that for long were considered as separate fields of scholar enquiry. In this perspective, new and old forms of intersubjectivity – across both spaces and temporalities – represent also a starting point for a critical assessment of differential mobility regimes and the ways in which stillness and motion are spatialized.
While keeping a firm stand within cultural history, we plan to draw on the expertise of colleagues engaged in research on the economic and social geographies/histories of migration in/to Europe. In pursuing the search for links between mobility, memory and identity, we will make use of a variety of methodological tools and sources, such as oral interviews, mapping drawings and photographs taken by interviewees, art products and fiction and docu-fiction films.