Abstract: Michal Heiman’s project, Return: asylum (the Dress, 1855-2018), consists of photographs of women and men clothed in a dress similar to one worn by women inmates at the former Surrey County Lunatic Asylum in the 1850s. Traversing time, space, gender, race and institutional practices of asylum, the artist takes the viewers on a ride in a time machine that is not a technological devise but a discourse on memory and on owning the future: s/he who wears the dress has the potential to return as witness, reader, artist, prosecutor, gate-keeper or rebel, thereby transforming her exceptional story into ours. Return: Asylum is an act of resistance: it engages human imagination in re-presenting the regenerative power of human solidarity as an alternative to current political practices that sacrifice the right of asylum—the only right that since the dawn of political life, as noted by Arendt, “has ever figured as a symbol of the Rights of Man”—at the altar of a security theology.
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In our new issue we feature Jessica Whyte’s piece on Just War, Decolonization and the Geneva Conventions. Also in this issue are essays on humanitarianism, postcolonialism and the fiction of Bessie Head, the international movement for Iranian political prisoners, Mexico’s contribution to International Economic Order, filming force feeding in Guantanamo, and a photo dossier on Asylum/Home. We end with a review essay on the humanitarian conscience.View entire issue >
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