Dissident Lara Staalc Michiel Devijver

Against Integration

| 30 May 2020
'Question everything!' is our motto this season. We understand art as a possibility of dissidence and real utopia. Against adapting to the 'norms', against being part of a capitalist and imperialist system. That's why we asked Lara Staal to react on #againstintegration. This is her statement.

"‘They’ need to adapt to the way ‘we’ do things, is the continually repeated message. But who are ‘we’? Often ‘they’ are people who were born in Belgium or the Netherlands. So who are ‘they’ supposed to adapt to, exactly? How can you adapt to something you are already part of?

Who are ‘we’? Adapt to whom exactly?
Lara Staal

Integration is the perfect way to transform racism and exclusion into one-sided, individual responsibilities. Living together with our differences, however, is always a shared responsibility. Instead of the dominant voice always asking the minority to ‘integrate’, I want to turn things around: having power, enjoying privileges and belonging to a majority goes with the responsibility to support and protect less dominant voices. That is what living together in society is all about.

Let’s not forget that these recent fluxes of migrants have everything to do with the colonial past (coupled with the robbery and appropriation of bodies and raw materials and the repression of local knowledge, cultures and traditions), climate change (driven by pollution caused by the West) and economic hopelessness (triggered by uncontrolled competition and the scaling up of global capitalism). So what exactly is the logic here? ‘When we could still make a profit out of you, you were welcome, but now we are equal citizens, we still don’t want to share’?!

Before my rage at all this shamelessness and injustice takes over for good, let me suggest the following:

Away with integration! Long live equality, responsibility, protextion and hospitality!
Lara Staal


Lara Staal is a Dutch researcher, writer and artist- curator. In 2016, together with visual artist Jonas  Staal, she developed Congres van de Utopie in Frascati Theater (Amsterdam). This was followed by, among others, De Avond van de Woede (with rapper Gideon Everduim) and Europe on Trial (with human rights activist Yoonis Osman Nuur).

This season (20-21) she creates for NTGent Dissident, a performance in which teenage 'troublemakers' take the stage. In State of Justice she invites experts to talk talk about justice.