In 2009, Justseeds won the Grand Prix at the Slovenian 28th Biennial of Graphic Arts. As per the award, we were invited to Ljubljana to install an exhibition at the 29th Biennial. Thus, in September of 2011, fifteen Justseeds artists traveled to Slovenia to spend one intense week working collectively on an installation we called Refuge. Justseeds members brought their own work from the US, and printed even more on the ground in Ljubljana, where we were allowed full use of the printshops at the International Centre of Graphic Arts.
In building Refuge, we created an absorbing environment of images addressing the movement of people and goods within a globalized system of exchange and communication. We focused on themes of migration and displacement, resulting from war or economic necessity; exploitation and despoilation, resulting from unscrupulous pursuits of cheap resources and cheap labor; and attempts to limit the effects of all such processes, where pursued by both state and non-state actors. We used colorful techniques of printing and reiterative layering to make the gallery walls display a multiplicity of narratives, all circling around a central sculptural element: an international cargo shipping container. “Refuge” examined, in visual form, the ways in which certain channels of communication and transit are prised open, while others are nailed firmly shut, drawing attention to the cracks that exist within an otherwise precisely machined system of regulation and enforcement.
Dylan Miner organized an alternative catalog of the exhibition and our time spent in Ljubljana, Refuge: a Migratory and Momentary Guide to the City, which is available below. As well as photos, the book contains essays by Justseeds members Dylan Miner, Roger Peet, and Melanie Cervantes, and Slovenian sociologists Mojca Pajnik and Veronika Bajt.
Refuge was curated by Božidar Zrinski and presented at Alkatraz Gallery (Metalkova) in cooperation with the International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC) in Ljubljana. Special thanks to Sandi Abram, Heidi Tucker, Caleb Gamble, Jesse Goldstein, and Makeal Flammini.