‘Mobility is our goal!’: challenging perceptions towards citizenship, migration and asylum seeking through performative interventions

Anja Kanngieser


We deconstruct the ‘givenness’ to show the cracks that sutures have patched, to demonstrate that what is taken as privileged discourse is merely a construction that conceals power and self-interest (Aronowitz, 1989: 55).

The year of 1997 saw the appearance of two concentric events in German radical artistic and activist milieus; the inaugural publication of the Handbuch der Kommunikationsguerilla (Handbook of Communications Guerrilla), and the genesis of the Kein Mensch ist Illegal (No one is Illegal) campaign. The Handbuch der Kommunikationsguerilla represented the first comprehensive guide to methods and histories of direct action and political intervention utilising aesthetic and creative techniques. It drew out a tactical paradigm from the Dadaists through the Situationists, Kommune 1 and Gruppe Spur to the Yippies, the Neoists and various European and American squatters, pranksters and libertines continuing the legacy of subversion well into the 1990s. The Kein Mensch ist Illegal campaign (which was initiated in the Hybrid Workspace at the Documenta X in Kassel) was inspired by the velocity of the French ‘Sans Papiers’ movement and signalled the inception of one of the most sustained networks of autonomous resistance to German and European anti-migration politics.

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