Claire Fontaine Collective Gave Its Name to the Venice Biennale

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Foreigners Everywhere

The British-Italian collective’s ‘Foreigners Everywhere’ series gave its name to the 60th International Art Exhibition and questioned our status in a fractured world.
Their series Stranieri Ovunque (Foreigners Everywhere) began in 2004. These two words were produced in 20 languages and colourful neon tubing reflects the same idea. The viewer is facing the semantics and alphabets that are largely foreign or even indecipherable, where the spectator is made foreign to a text.

However, foreigner here gets the broader sense, as this is how we designate that which is ‘foreign to us’ – to our family, our region, our nation. The notion is fluctuating and it can sometimes be based on arbitrary and absurd criteria. Sometimes one can be a foreigner in the country where one has been born, raised, and always resided: a foreigner in one’s own land.
Strangeness characterizes not only that which comes from elsewhere, it also applies to all those whose condition places them ‘out of the ordinary.’ People with impairments, LGBTQIA+ people, and non-white people are thus treated as undesirable excrescences of a homogeneous normative bloc.