Depicting immigrants is an uncomfortable task. Sometimes, it is only a blurred silhouette, a statistic or a dead body covered by a blanket on the beach. As a stranger, the immigrant is obliged to play their assigned role, or not exist.

There is no middle ground, because nowadays radical difference is equated to radical violence, and as such, is persecuted. Therefore, we might ask ourselves, are the traditional mechanisms of representation of the subject in a system of images where this subject is systematically erased still operating? Appadurai’s reply is clear: “in a world of disjunctive global flows, it is perhaps important to start asking them in a way that relies on images of flow and uncertainty, hence chaos, rather than older images of order, stability, and systematicness”

The solution suggested by Appadurai is to find new ways of representing phenomena that are also new. But they must be new ways that no longer precede the subject they are looking at – in the way in which Foucault explained the invention of the modern viewpoint: the eye which builds what is to be seen. On the contrary, they should pursue the conditions imposed on them by the dominant system of portrayal, in order to give an answer that is equal to it. The “downcast eye”, in Martin Jay’s expression, paves the way for new semiotic structures such as those proposed by Eric Aupol.

Indeed, Aupol’s photography is not merely a footprint left by reality - its significant implications go far beyond that. Despite taking the traditional model of the portrait as a starting point, the photographs he exhibits have nothing to do with the search for stability for which he has always striven. Far from it – what is presented here are faceless portraits displayed in domestic, and also utterly insignificant, places. In some way, they are negatives of portraits, which signify something rather than inform. What they signify is a condition of what is global which is shared by many new emigrants, who inhabit a kind of no man’s land which is hard to locate, between home and host country, and where basic notions such as social rights, citizenship or identity are more difficult to obtain. We might suggest, then, that these images are not so much a simple portrait gallery as a portrayal of a de-localized landscape of globalization.

Oscar Fernandez,
Curator for the Cordoba Photography Biennal, 2008
In « Traslaciones », catalogue de l’exposition