A vast number of refugee camps have been referenced on Google Maps over the years, enabling dwellers to upload comments and pictures from the inside of the camps. With their “smartphone as a lifeline” (Alencar et al, 2019), thousands of displaced individuals have left a trace of their existence on the platform, with the intent of reaching out to the outside world, hoping that someone, somewhere, would notice it.
In this way, they have documented their lives in the camps, uploading photographs of family members, of depressing rainy days, of comforting meals, of pets and cattle, of sunsets, and -maybe the most telling of all- of themselves.
They have posted comments as prayers, as political pamphlets, as cries for help, as denunciation of living conditions, as testimonies of their time in the camps.
When the camp of Moria, in Greece, was destroyed by a fire in September 2020, Google Maps marked the location as “permanently closed,” blurred the aerial image of the burnt camp, and deleted the hundreds of comments that had been posted since 2015.
This digital exhibition is an attempt to archive fleeting moments, suspended in time, forever.
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1 March, 2022