/ Foreign Language for Beginners


Exhibited at: Manifesta 8 European Bienalle, Museum of Fine art, Murcia, Spain
Play the video document from the exhibition. Foreign Language for Beginners, as exhibited at Museum of Fine Art, Murcija, as part of MANIFESTA 8, European Biennial, 2010

The video recorded and commissioned by Manifesta 8 European Biennial and exhibited at Museum of Fine art, Murcia, Spain.

Triple screen, colour, 23 min., loop 
Filmed by inmates of detention center Sangonera in Murcia in collaboration with the artist.
Courtesy of the artist..


The video Foreign Language for Beginners aims to show the realities of the ‘Tercer Grado’ system, a system within European law that supposedly allows inmates in Detention Centers a form of semi-freedom (usually during the last stage/year of their imprisonment).

Due to a complex net of ‘misinterpretations’ of the inmates’ rights by the local prison authorities, the prisoners are left without any of the rights they should otherwise be guaranteed by the ‘Tercer Grado’ system. Most of the inmates do not work, despite ‘being allowed’ to; their outside visit hours are limited; they are punished for any mistake (e.g: being late for 10 min. could be punished with a return to the status of full imprisonment).

Imprisoned illegal migrants in the detention center Sagonera, Murcia, Spain (mainly from Morocco, Nigeria, Eastern Europe, Latin America) are destined to wait in perpetual inactivity until the end of their sentence – when the police await with deportation orders in front of the prison gate. This demonstrates that any attempt to re-integrate the prisoners within society – which should be core activity of the ‘Terce Grado’ system – could not be activated during the last year of immigrant detainees prison sentences.

The video and project’s intention is to represent and become a political act in order to reinforce the notion of democracy in Europe and the World. The recorded material is captured without the artist’s involvement in the inmates’ process of filming.


Exhibition website and related official material:

Manifesta 8 official site [online] ENG/SP
Introduction to Manifesta

Press Coverage:

/ Art Review, Monthly Art magazine, Issue 47, Title: Manifesta, 2010, by Joshua Mack, ENG
/ Afterall, Monhtly Art Magazine, 2010 [online], ENG
/ Nolens Volens, Monthly Art Magazine, Title: 62 Can video ar – tists create alter – native working methodologies?, by Nada Prlja, 2010, ENG/SP

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