Sanctioned Lives:
Bodies on the Line & Online Bodies


Sanctioned Lives: Bodies on the Line & Online Bodies intervenes in the ways people cross borders. Whether it be crossing as a migrant, immigrant, refugee, or asylum seeker, the goal of this project is to deepen processes of communication to increase linguistic knowledge of multiple cultures. The goal is to give migrants and those whose professional duties bring them in contact with migrants a holistic, empathetic, and sincere way to connect. Users of the interactive archive can access an interactive virtual archive of words describing emotions and movements associated with the experience of those emotions describing crossing a border in multiple languages. The archive is an artistic intervention that offers a curriculum outlining a new approach to welcoming people who have relocated to the United States.


Sanctioned Lives: Bodies on the Line & Online Bodies interviene en la forma en que las personas cruzan las fronteras. Ya sea que estén cruzando como migrantes, inmigrantes, refugiados o buscando asilo, este proyecto busca profundizar los procesos de comunicación para incrementar el conocimiento lingüístico entre múltiples culturas. El objetivo es brindar a los migrantes y a aquellos cuyos trabajos los ponen en contacto con migrantes, una forma holística, empática y sincera de conectarse. Aquí, las personas pueden acceder a un archivo interactivo de palabras en varios idiomas que profundizan en las emociones asociadas con la experiencia de cruzar una frontera. Este archivo es una intervención artística que ofrece un plan de estudios con un nuevo enfoque para dar la bienvenida a las personas que se han trasladado a los Estados Unidos.

Translations Index


Sanctioned Lives: Bodies on the Line & Online Bodies write the farsi version here


Sanctioned Lives: Bodies on the Line & Online Bodies write the italian version here


Sanctioned Lives: Bodies on the Line & Online Bodies 


Sanctioned Lives: Bodies on the Line & Online Bodies 


Sanctioned Lives: Bodies on the Line & Online Bodies 


Sanctioned Lives: Bodies on the Line & Online Bodies 

People who will collaborate on the artistic intervention are from multiple generations of diasporic communities, mainly from the MENA region. We are children of immigrants and political refugees who became asylum lawyers, law enforcement officers, medical professionals, and artists. Bringing these groups together for deep exploration of what it means to have freedom of speech through creating an artistic language acknowledges the lives that have been sanctioned by borders. This innovative form of dialogue uses a framework of artistic practice-as-research to reinstate the value in collective democratic participation. It addresses and will hopefully begin to transform blocks in communication that arise from several problems related to generation gaps, post-traumatic stress, misconceptions of life in the United States, and the lack of support for diasporic communities coming from West Asia and North Africa in particular.  

Have you ever felt as if the categories on your identity card do not accurately represent who you are and what you have experienced? Have you ever felt powerless when an authority figure looks at you, examines your identity card and then looks back at you? Now imagine what it will feel like to navigate your way in the world where lines on maps are replaced with overlapping circles illustrating how cultural history is shared through language. This intervention uses knowledge sharing, not storytelling as seen in many refugee narratives. The design itself intervenes in the ways people cross borders. These borders can be varied: the borders between the law, borders between territories, borders between families, friends, or communities and borders between physical reality and psychic life.

Two phases of this intervention invite people to narrate lived experiences through research and share it without having to compromise their privacy. This form of research is called autoethnography: research of self-knowledge and its relationship to multiple cultural experiences. The particular approach asks participants to describe the emotions and words associated with emotions in the language in which they feel most confident expressing themselves and use it to define an experience of crossing a border.

Understandings are embodied by learning words from multiple languages, which reframes the perspective of physical movement, such as crossing a border, in relation to emotional expression. The extent of transformation writing, and performing bodily history and knowledge that will be received by users of the interactive virtual archive in the future. In this way, learning how to co-construct a collective body is a process where borders are undermined through co-created knowledge. This archive assists in caring for diasporic communities that have heightened stress from the added impact of being culturally misunderstood and othered during their pathway to citizenship.