Migrant Bodies

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Posted on February 13, 2015 in Migrant Bodies
What Do You Call Home?

The Migrant Bodies Project returned to Vancouver this week, and this guest post from Montreal dance artist Ginelle Chagnon invites you to participate in her research through an installation in our lobby:

Since the Migrant Bodies Project began in Bassano, Italy in the summer of 2014, many basic questions have been haunting me. Thinking of migration in different ways has awakened old and new reflections on my life of course but on the bigger question of life, of living and to live. Months later, these simple questions still resonate in me as I get to meet others that voice the same questions, such as “where are you going or where do you come from?” as asked by the border security agent or the people that we meet on this project.  I myself love to ask these questions to take the pulse of the person that I meet for the first time, as if to understand the movement that brought them here. Through a small installation during our Vancouver residency (February 9-19) and as visitors to Scotiabank Dance Centre you will have the opportunity to answer one or two of these questions, either in writing or by drawing.

Here are a few questions to choose from:

  • What do you call « home »?
  • Considering that each individual is its own nation, what would be your flag? (Please draw it)
  • Can you describe what you feel when you meet a person who has the same given name as you?
  • Given the opportunity, would you change your name? If so, what would you change?
  • Can you make a single phrase with these two words: Freedom and Death
  • Can you draw your heartbeat in this moment?
  • What could be a good colour of hope? Please use it to draw a maze.

For the past four or five years I have been working at photography transfers on tracing paper. It is quite a difficult task but it is meaningful to me. This slightly see-through paper is robust and yet very light, it is soft under the light and its transparency evokes memory and imagination. In either case it makes the image a little precarious in terms of definition.  In this instance, I am providing tracing paper for you to write and draw on. Then I will ask that you hang to dry your papers with the materials that are provided.  After the passage of the Migrant Bodies project in each community, I aim to collect all of these drawings and stories in order to mix them together in a final project that will take place in Bassano del Grappa in July 2015. They also may become visual material to accompany texts on the subject of migration. Your answers may also generate new questions to be asked and will preciously be kept as a testimony of our times.

If you would like to share your responses here please do so in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to reflect and for participating in my research.

Ginelle Chagnon, Migrant Bodies 2014-15


Migrant Bodies is a major two-year international research project undertaken with partners in Vancouver, Montreal, France, Italy and Croatia, which aims to use artistic and cultural tools to open up a civil reflection on migration in European and Canadian societies. Dance artists from all five cities come together for their last time in Vancouver in February 2015, then in Zagreb and to finish in a symposium in Bassano del Grappa in July 2015. As well as dance artists, authors and video artists have also been asked to voice their vision and concerns on migration. The voices are multiple but many voices are needed to address such a vast subject. Montreal’s Ginelle Chagnon has been with the project since the beginning and invites you to participate in her installation in order for you to leave traces as well, of your passing through this project.

Migrant Bodies Public Sharing: February 18, 2015 at 5pm at Scotiabank Dance Centre in Vancouver.



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