The missing, installation and performance _ photographed by Natalia Gil, 2009

The work produced during my participating in a residency program in Biella, Italy. I could start the residency program because a Rwandan artist could not make it because of his visa trouble. For the program, I had proposed to make a video work about a missing woman in Biella.

However, instead of finding a missing woman, I became to find that I also had a problem of visa. Tired of the full burdens of immigration system that I experienced and the conflicting information I would get from bureaucrats operating in an opaque process, I decided to leave the program earlier without participating in the final show and to make all this process as my project in Biella.

This work consists of 5 of the Rwandan artist, Minani's photos, his video work, which he wanted to reproduce in Biella,16 photos that I took in an immigrant office in Biella when I had to spent an entire day there to sort out my visa issue, my statement written on the wall, which explains why I decided to leave early, and my missing.

Everything was installed on my desk at my studio place, which I had occupied during the residency.

from left : the Italian flag and the EU flag seen through the window inside of an immigrant office in Biella (Ufficio Immigrazione, Questra di Biella) // Around 10 am, Marcela and Natalia from Colombia are waiting to get a number for entry to the immigrant office. The immigrant office issues only 20 numbers a day at 13: 40 p.m only on every Tuesday and Thursday. // Around 13 p.m, immigrants who have been waiting from the morning, starts making a queue // After 13:40, 20 immigrants with a number can get into the waiting room, which has tourism photos of other countries like Mauritius on the wall. From 14: 30, they can meet an immigrant officer by turn

The taste of freedom, single channel viedo, which Jean dieu de Minani wanted to reproduce in Biella, Italy.

m Jean dieu de minani


On the first day of UNIDEE’s 2009 residency, June 15th, I received an e-mail from the UNIDEE office offering me a place in the program, one originally offered to a Rwandan artist who could not accept it due to a visa issue.

His problem was my good fortune – I took over his grant and his residency.

However, soon I ran into visa trouble myself. Though I could enter Italy and stay for 90 days on a tourist visa, this was not enough time to complete the UNIEE program.

Luckily or unluckily, I received bad information from an officer in Questura di Biella. I was told that I could extend the 90 day period by spending an equivalent number of days outside Italy. In other words, I could complete the program if I would spend a couple of weeks in London or Paris.

This was not true. However, I only discovered that this was not true in September, with only 30 days were left.

As a result of bad advice and a byzantine visa system, I have spent a lot of my time in Biella sorting out my visa problem. In the face of the conflicting information I would get from bureaucrats operating in an opaque process, I found myself experiencing the full burdens of the immigration system.

I came here, Biella, Italy, to pursue my project, which is to uncover a missing woman in Biella. However, as a Carabinieri commander put it, there seem to be no missing Italian woman in Italy. The only things missing are a Rwanda artist, Jean de Dieu Minani, and 9 days for me to complete the program. 

Again, because of a loophole in Italian law, there was a way around my predicament: I could obtain a dichiarazione di presenza dated a month after my actual arrival date. However, all the trouble I had encountered so far made me doubt the ability to navigate within the system, and I didn’t want to risk any additional complications.

Therefore I made a decision to leave according to my visa, a few days short of completing my program. I do this for two reasons – a selfish reason, to be able to travel freely in Europe, and a principled one, to illustrate the way the system functions.

I do not want to give up my right to come back to any Schengen country in near future.

I do want to show what this process does for a real person, and what it means for the basic right, the human right, to travel freely.

Therefore, with regret, I am missing in Biella, Italy                                         


  Bona Park, 2009


*Click here to read this statement in Italian

© 2016 BONA PARK