Joanna Zielińska: Where is your home?
Tania Bruguera: Being an immigrant means that the concept of home doesn’t exist. That doesn’t mean that you are a gregarious type, or that you have no capacity for affection for your current location, and it has nothing to do with valuing your new circumstances. You can be an immigrant who has encountered a better situation at your present physical location. For example, you may have learned to know for the first time how it feels to be free, or understood how much better the life you live now is from the life you lived before migrating, you can go as far as to negate your past and with it, the place you came from, what people would call “home”. You may joyfully embrace a new culture and a new set of beliefs, and you can acquire a status that even natives of the country you live in now may never achieve, but none of this changes the fact that being an immigrant is entering the condition of being “homed”, being someone that sees “home” in past tense.
Sometimes immigrants are not allowed to exercise their right to imagine a better future and try to build it; under those circumstances is very difficult to feel “home”, which forces to keep you in a “homed” condition.
People mistake this temporary incapacity to “have a home” with an incapacity to commit and give their best to the new place they live in, which is one of the biggest mistakes and sources of frictions when new migrants arrive in communities. On the contrary, immigrants are so determined to have a home again that this is often the force that drives them to work harder than anybody when they arrive in their new cities and countries. It is not about demonstrating to people that they belong, it is about their desire to create memories, trustworthiness, and to find home again. There are other loyalties beyond to the place where one grew up, including the sense of belonging. That should be the right of every human being in the 21st century.
Sometimes the people in the receiving “home” create conditions for immigrants that hinder their ability to imagine and build what goes beyond “today”, even when immigrants imagine a better future. For many immigrant, home is the process of learning what the future he imagines is, while other, more privileged immigrants have the option to decide where they want to belong.
In the 21st century we need to acquire other ways to create loyalties towards the future. In this global era of mobility we need to change the concept of home to one that goes beyond economic models and focuses on ethical ones.”
Read the rest of the interview here: http://immigrant-movement.us/2011/10/interview-with-tania-bruguera-and-joanna-zielinska/