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Project suitcases


Description of campaign/project

Founded and intervened suitcases (using different materials such as cloth, thread, wool, plaster, plastic, etc.) will be displaced in a dark room. Separate lights (one for each suitcase) will be hanging from the top; this should be the only illumination for the room.
The aim is to create a “theatrical space” that could lead to an immersive sensibility.

On the inside of each suitcase is placed an original pass photo of a refugee or an immigrant.

The suitcases should be isolated from one another, as if marginal or displaced; however they demand being viewed in close proximity, not from afar as detail becomes essential to the viewing of the work, the proximity that results should expose us to a terrible intimacy.

We are aware of the fact that new frontiers are being built or that the concept of frontier -which in the one hand is being denied (globalization) and in the other hand is being reaffirmed (localization)-should be re-signified.
What we normally not consider is that a frontier describes also a space.
In this way, this project intends also to show that space can play an active role in the construction of consciousness.
Marc Auge writes that if a site or space can be defined as a place of identity, relational and historical where one can recognize itself; a space which cannot be defined as a place of identity, not relational, not historical, defines a “non-site”
The suitcase´s project assembles a “non-site”, one which can not only be felt but which actually can be seen: the “non-site” delineated by the frontier, the border; a space that remains invisible, the terrain of the dispossessed and displaced, of the forgotten, of those who cannot lay claim to the physical and social territory of their existence.

However, reality (as well as art) cannot be viewed on a single level, it always occurs on multiple levels. This propels me to construct the artwork in a parallel way:
the project intends not only to revolve around the denunciation or recrimination of what happens in the nowadays world, for its aim is to go beyond this subjects, intending to produce an integral knowledge not reducible to a category of sociology, nor to individual psychology,

The suitcases must be closed and the spectator is the one who has to make the decision whether to open them or not. The objective of the work that I am proposing, is that the potential should fall on the spectator in order to achieve an uncommon engagement between the artwork and the viewer; encouraging an action and within it, a dialogue.

Art is regained to one part of the society; it has a limited access to a part of the society that, above all its huge lack of resources, does not has the right to a capable education and consequently cannot think or discover beyond literal aspects of art. This huge socially excluded underclass is not able to understand or reflect about artworks. In Art, the forgotten, remain forgotten.

I believe that for art to be politically effective, it must be effective aesthetically. In this sense, the work I am proposing is both:
-a work that is accessible and interpretable on every level; an incentive to All because active experience is presented undisguised to the spectator or user and he or she is asked to dialogue with the work.
-a work that tries to charge us with responsibility a work that unifies, that creates directly a difference, that could transform people from indifference to difference; a work which allow us to see.

I learnt that when we are able to see where the things are coming from, we necessarily reach something much more complex and in this process we are always going to be involved. It is about understanding where we come from, but only in order to know better where we are going, to know who we are, in order to know what we are here for. When we understand we see that the other is not so bad and I am not so good. Should I have to be blamed for this? Yes, yes, yes, you should, we All should, All, also the ones who are forgotten. Then the question changes: how can I become responsible? How can I take my responsibility seriously enough? What can I do? Without responsibility an idea of community is impossible.
In ‘The Brother Karamazov” Dostoyevsky wrote: “we are all responsible for everyone, but I am more responsible than all the others.” A proposition that we should all make to our own.

Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

This is a very interesting and sensitive art work and proposal. Though the metaphor of the suitcase is very literal, it is appropriate for the subject matter, and the interiors are quite beautifully-crafted and intimate. The photos definitely have an impactful resonance, and each suitcase feels like a little world. Issues of space, identity and borders are clear, but I'd love more insight into the actual items/set-up in the suitcases themselves. Who are these individuals? Is there identity tied to being a refugee or an immigrant? What are the contextual referrants of this identity? I think this aspect needs to be developed further in your description, and perhaps in the works themselves.

The gallery set-up you propose is also very interesting and I can imagine it being a very powerful experience. It would have been interesting to see the video documentation you mention of the intervention in Berlin.

I would also like to see many more suitcases! Globalisation has dramatically increased the number of refugees in the world, and there is a feedback into crisis resultant from this. Without abandoning the aura of isolation which is very pertinent, the work should perhaps also reflect this crisis.

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Entry details


Project suitcases


Project suitcases

Concept author(s)

Ambrois Maria Jose

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

My task in this project is to acknowledge other people´s experience as our own, as collective experiences, to find out how humanity can operate together. A reciprocal work -proposed by the direct dialogue between the artwork and the spectator or user- in order to sparking an awareness that can be applied to life.



Other author(s)

Nadia Porceddu

Other author(s) year(s) of birth


Other author(s) contribution

Nadia is a sociologist who was working directly with refugees in the Australian Embassy in Berlin. She helped me to deepen in the topic; she put me in contact with some of the refugees and was the one who gave me the real pass photos.



Competition category


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

Udk (Universität der Künste) Berlin.