A serie from the project MIGRANT DOCUMENTS
This series consists of 26 works.
70 x 30 cm archival pigment print.
Disorder is a photo series representing 26 vials of blood collected from the Health Clinic for Undocumented Migrants run by the Danish Red Cross in Copenhagen. It is the only place in Copenhagen where doctors, nurses and midwives work on a voluntary basis to take care of people without residency permits. Migrants in need of healthcare must allow themselves to be identified and registered, and therefore only attend the clinic in cases of severe illness. The blood tests are taken as part of their treatment, but in theory the tests could be entered into the forensic or biometric registers used by the authorities. These records collect DNA, fingerprints and photographic portraits. Employing a counter-forensic strategy, Enghoff’s portraits literally get under the skin as she zooms in on the blood, capturing tiny air bubbles of differing shades of red in various stages of coagulation, with the identification labels turned away from the camera. Like the personal belongings in the oak trees, the blood tests are presented as traces that cannot lead to the identification of the migrants. Instead, each vial in ‘Disorder’ is an indexical trace of a human being in need of care, and as such the images attest to the precariousness and vulnerability of life, which Judith Butler has discussed. As she notes: ‘A vulnerability must be perceived and recognized in order to come into play in an ethical encounter’ (Butler, 2006: 43). The active recognition of vulnerability is a precondition for humanization, and subsequently for determining who is entitled to human rights. Indeed, Enghoff’s images point to a vulnerability and the precariousness of life that the Danish system does not acknowledge.
Excerpt from the text: Seeing through Scandinavian exceptionalism by Louise Wolthers in Journal of European Studies 47 (4) 1-20.
Head of Research and Curator at the Hasselblad Foundation, Sweden.
© Tina Enghoff. All rights reserved.