Selfportraits for (Be)longing

Photo documentation of immigration standards, and a portrait as I would like to be photographed on the same date.  

For many people, particularly subaltern groups, texts are inaccessible, or frightening, controlled by the regulatory powers of the states. I will do this photographic process throughout my life every time I have to photograph myself for immigration purposes, green cards, working papers, visas, permits, passports, etc. Michel De Certau identifies this documents  as instruments of control and displacement, what he calls “intextuation”.  He says “every power including the power of the law, is written first of all on the backs of its subjects”. 

 Abiding to the legal regulations of each process, contrasted with the presentation that I would choose for myself if doing a self-portrait on the same day. Questioning in this way what identities render the migrant legible, and what presentation grants us access to the documents that make us legible for the state. How do we have to change, or mutate ourselves in order to gain that access? Dress up to our immigration hearings,consular interviews, government offices. An act of performativity in the search for the priviledges that come with a document that renders us legal or in its absence ilegal, indocumentados, sin papeles. Illegal because we are not legible,  we trouble,  as De Certau says “the writing machine of the law.”
Selfportrait for Self- Selfportrait for US visa
Oct 30th, 2013.


Selfportrait for Self- Selfportrait for Canadian visa extension
IMM5709E Submitted June 30th, 2014.