Hostipitality. Receiving Strangers
September 17, 2010 - October 17, 2010,
Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Poland
Hostipitality: Receiving Strangers aims to raise the question of the situation of immigrants, or more broadly, of our relation to strangers. Our relationship to strangers makes migration — now a key factor in transforming life — one of the most crucial and urgent problems for societies to deal with.
Hostipitality is a notion coined by Jacques Derrida to show how closely hospitality is intertwined with hostility. Because of this interconnection, it is easy to treat guests as enemies. The term is especially helpful in describing what happens to immigrants, whether legal or not. They are received with a hospitality which is lined with barely concealed hostility. That is, even if hospitality is granted them, it is often accompanied by the suspicion that the stranger has hostile intentions.
The exhibition Hostipitality: Receiving Strangers explores the radical aesthetics proposed by artists confronting increasingly restrictive politics and growing resentment against immigration. This aesthetic is, on the one hand, created by works depicting a gloomy landscape of exile where the immigrants are condemned to live. On the other hand, it is created by pieces that provide critically or analytically oriented perspectives on our approaches to receiving strangers. Through this juxtaposition, the exhibition is meant to prompt reflection on our attitudes, views and actions, and to make a contribution to a public debate concerning the immigrants’ situation in Poland and the EU.