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Action Lab on Economic Migration
Action Lab on Economic Migration

About  About
Title: Action Lab on Economic Migration
Location: Global
Categories: Globalization
Human Rights

Status: In Progress
Timeline: January 1 00 to January 1 00

freeDimensional (fD) is a platform of collaboration linking community art spaces to
social justice movements globally. fD conducts advocacy on behalf of vulnerable
groups and produces tactical media to illustrate critical, contemporary issues. fD
uses existing resources in the art, media and entertainment sectors in order to
engage and financially underwrite direct actions, raise awareness and instigate
The freeDimensional Action Lab on Economic Migration has been in development since 2006.
Starting with an fD resident artist in NYC, Bara Diokhane and the Gowanus Canal “Empty Vessel”
Boat Project, and leading up to the artHARLEM tour on October 4/5, the project has no intention of
slowing down. The project has found a great deal on momentum in 2008. Beginning with an event
during New York City's Immigrant Heritage Week, on to a one week workshop on Economic Migration
at the Santa Fe Art Institute and ending the spring season of events with a media intervention in
Dakar, with their partner center the Atelier Mustapha Dime, during the Dak'Art Biennale.
Moving from the spring to summer has found fD working with a new and dynamic research project on
Economic Migration, "Taking to the Sea". Taking to the Sea is interested in looking at Egyptian
Economic Migration by the sea.
The freeDimensional Action Lab on Economic Migration is interested in investigating the nexus between migration and detention. The Action Lab also wants to share and learn about stories from around the world about issues of migration. One example of how freeDimensional has worked on this issue is the Dakar Action Lab on Economic Migration. Example: (Working with our Senegalese partner center, Atelier
Moustapha Dime, freeDimensional will create a space
for expression on economic migration within the
framework of the Dakar Biennale (May 9 – June 9). The
media campaign (pamphlet, interviews and press
conference) in Dakar public spaces – including the
central marketplace, city center, fishing boat
launches, and the exhibition venues of the 2008
Dak'Art Biennale – will be created in an archival
process of sharing, trust and consensus-building with
Dakar pedestrians, and is intended to provide a robust
version of the situation that faces economic migrants
seeking opportunities in Europe, North America and

WHAT: Multi-site, in-depth focus on economic migration
using the experience of 14 Senegalese men who traveled
from Goree Island off the coast of Dakar to within a
hundred miles of Brooklyn before being picked up by
the US Coast Guard. These men were summarily detained
in a New Jersey ‘warehouse’ afterwhich 10 were quickly
deported. freeDimensional has visited the remaining 4
over the last few months.

n May 07 the Associated Press stated that
in 2006 more than 30,000 African immigrants were
caught trying to reach the Canary Islands –

In March 06 the Financial Times quoted Manuel Pombo,
Spanish ambassador-at-large in charge of humanitarian
issues stating that up to 40 percent of those Africans
who attempt the crossing from Mauritania to the Canary
Islands may be dying at sea –

Despite the sheer human loss that is happening in the
situation of economic migration from West Africa, and
in the face of shifting EU and Spanish immigration
policies, the voyage of the Brooklyn 14 (in a
GPS-equipped catamarand) provides a barometer of
determination that we can expect in future waves of
human migration.

Oliver Bakewell of the International Migration
Institute at Oxford suggests that in order to truly
take migration into account, we would have to become
committed to approaches like that of Amartya Sen …
developing capacities of people, not places. In the
coming months, freeDimensional will blend direct
action with policy advocacy in a people-centered
approach to raise awareness on conditions surrounding
economic migration.

(a) visiting detainees
(b) online course (planning and media outreach)
(c) From April 6-12, the Casa Frela Gallery in Harlem
has offered its space in order that members of New
York's Senegalese community can meet and plan a
unified message on the situation of
detained/warehoused Senegalese in the US. This
process will culminate in the NYC Immigrant History
Week event 'There to Here: African Immigrants in NYC'
on April 19th The Shrine (venue) also in Harlem. The
first step in the process will be supported by Dutch
artists Wouter Osterholt and Elke Uitenhuis who
conducted a similar artistic/planning charette (and
documentation) on migration in the Netherlands -

(d) From April 21-24, freeDimensional will join the
community of Santa Fe Art Institute for a lecture and
workshop that will build on the experience raising
awareness in New York City through a process that
allows artists and interested community members to
engage in the creation of a campaign that will be
carried to Dakar, Senegal during the 2008 Dak'Art
Biennale. Whereas the Senegalese community in NYC
will add to the testimony of the detained economic
migrants, the SFAI workshop will give an artistic
treatment to the English/French/Wolof text compiled
moving it from mere content to aesthetically viable
pamphlet graphically designed to capture the attention
of Dakar citizens, art world visitors and
international journalists covering the Biennale.

(e) operate from base of Atelier Moustapha DIME on
Goree Island from May 5

1) Dak'Art Biennale

Contact Name: freeDimensional
Contact Email Address:

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