Cite as: Karathanasis, P., and Kapsali, K. 2018. ‘Displacement and the creation of emplaced activism: Public interventions on the walls of a European border city’. Entanglements, 1(2): 52-61.
Slogans, stencils and other unauthorized interventions in public space are the results of a spatial but also a visual practice, which is common in activist cultures, especially in urban settings. Such interventions express, on the one hand, the activist presence on the island and, on the other, they are representative of the sociopolitical and spatial context in which they are produced, and in which they are viewed and experienced by the public.
Using video to approach the activist public interventions on the walls of Mytilene gives us the opportunity to produce a rich audio-visual account of those ephemeral add-ons on the public walls, but also, an account of the landscapes in which they appear. By producing a record of those ephemeral interventions, some of which might already be whitewashed, we contribute to a documentation of the activity on the walls and other surfaces of the city that relates to the so called ‘refugee and migration crisis’, as well as of the resistance to the ‘hotspot’ technologies of the humanitarian governance. Moreover, video offers a way to record and present those interventions in relation with the landscapes in which they appear. We argue that every writing, slogan or stencil is always in-place, or, in other words, that each of these interventions acquire their meaning always in relation with their urban environment.