videostateless plug-in - Florian Conradi and Michelle Christensen
A stateless person is someone with no citizenship or nationality. An estimated 12-15 million people in the world are not citizens of any state, and are therefore inherently deprived of the right to have rights.
The 'stateless plug-in' is a browser extension that intervenes in digital territory, transforming the issue of stateless people into a multifaceted digital mapping of existing knowledge and information on the Internet.
By interconnecting an extensive range of positions on statelessness in an unanticipated way, the stateless plug-in generates an unpredicted non-linear and dynamic storyline with space for unanticipated thoughts and connections. This project offers a critical comment towards the lack of attention on the issue by beseeching the users attention through the infiltration of their usual browsing behaviour.
To download the extension for Firefox, Chrome or Safari, or to learn more about the project, please visit:
Intervening in existing digital territory
Statelessness occurs for a multiplicity of reasons, including the discrimination of minority groups in national legislation, failure to include all residents as citizens when a state becomes independent, and conflicts in laws between states. Victims of statelessness most often appear as the overseen surplus of society, refugees and asylum seekers without proof of existence, and visitors who cannot stay, nor go home. Therefore, basically, statelessness is an expression of at least one parties disregard and neglect.
The stateless plug-in claims space and consideration for the issue of statelessness by intervening in existing digital territory through the infiltration of your personal browser interface. It does this by planting black flags at an array of words when they appear on any website. These flags serve as a reminder, as well as a link into a world of statelessness.
When clicking on the flag, which is connected to a certain word, you are linked to an unpredicted source that contextualises the word from a stateless point of view. For example, when you click on the flag attached to 'status' on your facebook profile, you will be sent to a source about the status of a stateless person. In this source, the word 'status' will once again be flagged, connected you to the next source on 'status'. This will then continue indefinitely, crossing sources that display diverse, compatible and conflicting perspectives on the status of stateless people.
Flagging 30 words
The thirty words that get flagged on websites by the plug-in are all idiom that is recognizable particularly from the digital world. However, when these words are situated in a stateless context, they take on new meaning, allowing a discussion of the lack of space, access, mobility, privacy, safety and so on, of a stateless person.
For this reason, the words which are flagged with a black flag are furthermore crossed through on the screen, symbolizing the deprivation of these aspects. Thereby, words that once seemed trivial and functional reclaim their meaning as fundamental values.
The context of each word further allows for multiple perspectives. For example, when investigating space, one comes across aspects such as a lack of space, mental space, territorial space, claiming space and so on.
The thirty words are picked up and flagged in English, Dutch and German language, thereby covering a tri-lingual interface.
Across three main research areas
The research behind the compiled stateless sources that are included in this plug-in lay mainly across three core areas of investigation, namely Policy, Mobility and Identity.
These three areas each reflect a different aspect of statelessness and stateless people. The category 'Policy' depicts the legal aspects of being stateless, thereby displaying sources that reflect definitions and struggles with authority and legislation, such as conventions, treaties, laws and so on.
The category 'Mobility' reflects aspects of actual movement, exposing sources that represent issues such as not being able to leave state borders, not being able to enter state borders, the position of a stateless refugee or asylum seeker, or not being able to return to a perceived home.
The last category 'Identity' finally refers to empirical data, or so to say 'the lived experience of statelessness'. These sources reflect individual stories about statelessness, displaying matters such as groups of asylum seekers fighting for the right to stay in the Netherlands, blogs from stateless refugees in Palestine, or individual travellers observing and portraying the reality of statelessness that they encountered. Together, the three categories offer the potential interlinking of connected meanings, contexts and positions.
Cross issues, groups and content
The condition of being stateless has a massive impact on the lives of individuals, since the possession of nationality is essential for full participation in society and a prerequisite for the enjoyment of the complete array of human rights. In practice, this often means the inability to obtain identity documents, being held in detention due to the lack of identification, and being denied access to education and health care or prohibited from attaining employment.
However, the specific aspects and experiences of statelessness are exceptionally disparate, depending on facets such as which group of stateless people they belong to, where they are currently residing, their age, gender, perceived race and ethnicity, and not least their awareness of the laws surrounding them.
Within the research on 'stateless' sources, the above positions and groups were effectively covered, drawing on issues ranging from for example the Rohingya in Bangladesh, the Bidoon in the Middle East and the Roma 'gypsies' in Eastern and Western Europe, to challenges of stateless refugees who have no documents, the inhuman conditions of detention camps all over the world, and the specific plight of stateless women within these unsafe conditions.
As one follows the flagged words in the plug-in, which in turn cross other flagged words in a ceaseless cycle, one thereby intercrosses a diverse set of issues, groups and content.
Cross source types and media
While this plug-in contains sources that range across several distinct issues and positions, it furthermore accommodates an elaborate set of source types and medias.
From global, regional, national and local policy, organization and news sources, to individual blogs, videos and photographs showing the perspectives of travellers and stateless people's observations and lived experiences, this archive of information presents a diverse and multifaceted experience of the issue.
Cross quality and perspectives
Finally, the sources in the stateless plug-in intentionally cross various 'qualities' and perspectives in order to provide a comprehensive inlet into the actualities, positions, and discourses taking place within the overall issue.
From including global to local voices, and personal to national scaled confrontations, to containing both professional expert footage to individual amateur expressions and momentary remarks, this plug-in contains over 1000 different states of statelessness.
About stateless plug- in:
Project conceived by: Florian Conradi and Michelle Christensen
Programming of Stateless Plug-in for Firefox, Chrome and Safari by: Jan van Bruggen
This project developed out of the stifo@sandberg Masterclass 2008/2009 with the proposal State 2.0, and is context-wise affiliated with Ghalia El Srakbi's project Greyland.
This project is a work-in-progress, for inquiry and feedback please contact: info [A T] statelessplugin.net