Migration rarely ends with the arrival of the migrant; arrival hardly ever implies adaptation. In most cases, migrants are transformed by the journey and, in its turn, their presence acts as a catalyser in the transformation of the spaces they enter. Actually, migration is considered one of the main issues in the configuration of the world, as we know it. According to the IOM (International Organization for Migration) there are currently 192 million people living away from their place of birth -30% of the world population-, meaning that approximately one in every 35 people is a migrant.
The works included in Displaced give testimony of physical and internal displacements: those from the countryside to the city – mostly due to violence7- and those going abroad. This mobility affects not only the people’s identity but also Colombia’s and the receiving countries economy. It is well known that in Miami –city with the biggest Colombian colony abroad- Spanish is the most spoken language and, in London, the Colombian colony has promoted food and tourism businesses that determine the way the city is perceived by the tourists8.
In Displaced what matters is nor what one has or the place one fills up but where one comes from and where one is bound. New territory consolidation, starting from transit, implies the creation of what Marie Louise Pratt called “contact zones”: places where many cultures concur, some times violently, and where several interests come into conflict. The need to resolve those conflicts –rather than exterminating whatever is different- gives the term ‘translation’ unimaginable dimensions. Translation becomes, in such context, an essential part of this project and is understood as a way of displacement.
Translation or Mental displacements When studying Colombia’s case, it is evident that for many artists the issues of cultural encounter and the way a culture translates into another are underlying themes. Displaced faces two fundamental concepts that emerge from this cultural encounters: First,
7 In 2002 the statistic for violence displacement was 869.000 people. In the cities, the number of displaced people represents a 20% of the total population.
8 An example is the London Rickshaw Company offering tours of the city: all the drivers and tourist guides are Colombian.