New project by Arkadi Zaides

Since 1993, UNITED for Intercultural Action, a network of hundreds of anti-racist organizations from all over Europe, has been compiling a list of refugees and migrants who lost their lives on their way to the continent. As of June 2020, when the latest updated version was released, the list included information on 40,555 reported deaths. The total toll is certainly much higher, as many people are neither found nor registered. When scrolling through the many pages of the list one cannot ignore the fact that only a very small number of the deceased are mentioned by name, leaving the vast majority without identifying details.

The European jurisdiction establishes a clear distinction between criminal, natural, and accidental deaths, which determines the way the bodies are subsequently handled. As the many thousands of deaths that take place at the gates of Europe challenge this taxonomy, the forensic procedures consisting in collecting medical and biological data from the corpses are not carried out in most of the cases. This absence of information prevents any possibility of future identification of the victims. At the bottom of the sea, on the shores, and inland, a mass of decomposed bodies tells the story of a collective whose ghost hovers over European territory.

For their research, Arkadi Zaides and his team delve into the practice of forensics to conceive a new virtual depository documenting the remains of the many whose deaths remain to this day mostly unacknowledged. This growing archive, this map, this invisible landscape is stretching in all directions across space and time, interrelating the mythologies, histories, geographies and anatomies of those who have been granted entrance to NECROPOLIS. Freedom of movement needs to be returned to the bodies who are admitted to Europe as corpses. And although in the City of the Dead there is no-body left to dance, it is exactly that no-body, that body of the bodies – the body of NECROPOLIS – which Zaides aims to animate back to life.


Concept & direction: Arkadi Zaides
Dramaturgy, text and voice: Igor Dobricic
Research assistant: Emma Gioia
Performers: Arkadi Zaides, Emma Gioia
Sculpture: Moran Senderovich
Avatar animation: Jean Hubert
Light: Jan Mergaert
Sound design: Asli Kobaner
Grave location search: Aktina Stathaki, Amber Maes, Ans Van Gasse, Arkadi Zaides, Benjamin Pohlig, Bianca Frasso, Carolina-Maria Van Thillo, Doreen Kutzke, Elvura Quesada, Emma Gioia, Frédéric Pouillaude, Gabriel Smeets, Giorgia Mirto, Gosia Juszczak, Igor Dobricic, Joris Van Imschoot, Julia Asperska, Juliane Beck, Katia Gandolfi, Maite Zabalza, Maria Sierra Carretero, Mercedes Roldan, Myriam Van Imschoot, Myrto Katsiki, Pepa Torres Perez, Sarah Leo, Simge Gücük, Sunniva Vikør Egenes, Yannick Bosc, Yari Stilo
Technical director: Etienne Exbrayat
Administration & production: Simge Gücük / Institut des Croisements
International distribution: Key Performance

Co-produced by: Théâtre de la Ville (FR), Montpellier Danse 40 Bis (FR), Charleroi Danse (BE), CCN2 Centre chorégraphique national de Grenoble (FR), les Ballets C de la B (BE), Tanz im August / HAU Hebbel am Ufer (DE), La Filature – Scène nationale de Mulhouse (FR)
Residency support: CCN – Ballet de Lorraine (FR), STUK (BE), PACT Zollverein (DE), WP Zimmer (BE), Workspacebrussels (BE), Cie THOR (BE)
Support for experimentation: RAMDAM, un centre d’art (FR)

Arkadi Zaides / Institut des Croisements is supported by French Ministry of Culture – DRAC Auvergne Rhône-Alpes