‘This is not another website’: The ‘assemblage’ of Lesvos Migration Atlas

Close Moria now!

De-victimise and give them paper

Safe passage

Open communities

Common living together

Destroy fences, camps, segregations

The passion for freedom is stronger than every prison cell (and borders)

We are all humans 

No borders, no nations!

Some of the words, letters and drawings that came out from the re-mapping workshops that took place in Lesvos, during the years 2018 – 2019. The workshops were addressing multiple people: students, researchers, academics, educators, aid workers, volunteers, migrants, refugees, and locals to map their common understandings and imaginaries of the refugee crisis.


Re-mapping workshops held in Mytilene during 2018-19, photos by Anna Carastathis and Naya Tselepi.

The workshops were engaging with the ‘refugee crisis’ in the context of the macrolevel, which, at the same time, converses with the everyday experiences of crisis at the microlevel. At the same time, the workshops were inspired by conceptualisations of the imaginary (Castoriadis, 1999) and the ‘collective imaginary’ (Stavrides, 2010), the principles of ‘sociological imagination’ (Mills, 1985) and the horizons that are opened by the ‘constituent imagination’
(Shukaitis and Graeber, 2007) and the corresponding ‘radical imagination’ (Haiven και Khasnabish, 2010). (…) 

The series of workshops juxtaposes, compares, and analyses the interactions between the macropolitical level and the micropolitics of everyday life. Specifically, in the context of individual actions, we will draw on the vocabulary of Deleuze and Guattari regarding the impalpable and the imperceptible (Deleuze and Guattari, 1994), in order to understand and include contemporary ‘imperceptible politics’ (Papadopoulos et al., 2008), which enrich perceptions and representations of political relations and acts in contemporary environments of governmentality. By these, we refer to social forces that depart from existing measures and regimes of surveillance and control, reminiscent of affect and collective processes, and which attempt to transform reality not only in dialectical but also in tangible and material ways.  Moreover, such ‘minor cracks’ neither have as their aim ‘another world outside of capitalism,’ nor ‘to destroy capitalism through an organised attack’; rather, they aim to create relations and actions that do not reproduce capitalist power relations (Holloway, 2010) and to reshape politics more broadly in parallel and imperceptible ways (Isin, 2002a, 2002b).

As an outcome of these, the Lesvos Migration Atlas[1] created by our research team on the basis of the philosophy of assemblages,opens up a common virtual space for multiple experimental ideas, representations, practices and acts which havethe potential to disrupt the politics of representation, borders and control.


spaces and places, people and populations, movements and migrations, borders and
hotspots, solidarity and resistance, everyday life and dreams…

as a state of emergency but also as a state of emergence

as the suffering of the earth, nature, materials, bodies…

and the symbolic capital of representations

from walls as borders to walls as canvases

as critical commentaries, commodities, and resistance

in the era of really ‘really’ late capitalism

of the untold, the unsaid, the unspeakable

as the basic process of (re)production of life

the common practices and acts that come after visibility

is our ‘ATLAS’; a cosmos of ideas,
representations, practices, acts, contradictions…

all together in a process of becoming…[2]



Photo from ‘Lesvos Migration Atlas’ website,

Our ‘Atlas’ is a process of capturing,writing and representing; multiple snapshots and processes in space and time; moving histories, narratives a§nd imaginaries for the so-called ‘refugee crisis’; artworks on walls and in the streets; everyday life of local, migrant and refugee population within various spaces of Lesvos island; from the hotspot of Moria to the common spaces of living and struggling together; an assemblage of constantly moving and emerging practices and situations that always seem impossible until they are done…


Photo from the hall of ‘One Happy Family’, Lesvos
by Naya Tselepi, November 2018
Collage of photos featured in

Naya Tselepi, Orestis Pangalos, Christy Petropoulou, Myrto Tsilimpounidi
May 2020



[2]Extract from research diary, November 2019.