Tracing the footsteps: A diary of The Residual I

As a part of the video research carried out by Özge Çelikaslan and Alper Şen, members of the Artıkişler Collective, The Residual video research traces stories, spaces, collective sharings, commoning experiences. “Instead of recording new images on this route it is important for us to collect images that were taped by the migrants themselves.” The research route begins in Rojova, Kobané and continues through Urfa-Suruç, Ankara, İstanbul, the Aegean coast, the Greek islands, Athens, Thessaloniki, Balkans to Berlin. The participants in the project keep a diary of their travel including their observations and notes from meetings with The Residual in Thessaloniki from 22 to 25 May, 2016.


“One of the stations on the map of migration is Thessaloniki. Greek government started to evacuate the Idomeni Camp near the Macedonian border early in the morning on 24th of May. We heard the news that 8,000 migrants will be settled in the neighboring military camps, and now this number is increasing. These days, it is hard to communicate with the camp. According to the information we received from the solidarity movement and volunteer groups in the city, all type of access is denied. No recording is allowed. There are 10-20 thousand migrants in the camps nearby. We took part in the meeting of No Border Camp in Orfanotrofeio. There are 100 migrants staying in an old orphanage house which was squatted by the solidarity movement after it was closed. Ortonotrofeio is in the old neighbourhood where Greek people were living after they were forced to migrate from Turkey in the early 20th century.

There are many rooms in the squat: a shared kitchen, a library, a cafe under construction, and a playground for children. Greek, German, and English courses are offered. There were rumours that new migrants might come to town when the camp Idomeni is closed. There are discussions about enlarging the solidarity movement and everybody agrees that the squats in town should be opened to the migrants.

There is an active migration industry here and the people in solidarity movement are complaining about it. Non-governmental organizations, international companies, and human smugglers are the main figures in this new economic sector. There are no places for the migrants in the center of the city, there are no job opportunities in Greece as it is still struggling with the economical crisis. For these reasons, the migrants are invisible in the city. We asked migrants that had crossed the borders from Turkey to Greece about the conditions in both countries. They said that they could find jobs, but did not wanted to stay in Turkey. In Greece, they are broke, without any jobs. But the solidarity movement in Greece is strong and supporting them. Even though this place is a transit area for them…”








The Residual diaries will continue sharing stories, experiences, pictures and video images gathered on the road by Artıkişler.

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Author: ACTOPOLIS
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