The footage for the video was shot in May and June of this year while I was at the artist residency "Die Kolonie" in Worpswede, Germany. During that time, I was meeting with refugees most of who had arrived in Germany in October and November 2015. In addition, I met with various organizations, volunteers and activists who are trying to ease the many difficulties these newly arrived people experience on a daily basis.
Filming took place in parts of northern Germany: in larger cities, rural towns and in Berlin. I also returned to my hometown of Espelkamp in Nordrhein-Westfalen to record several scenes at a temporary refugee shelter. Over thirty years ago my parents and I had arrived as refugees from Poland in this particular German town. Now refugees from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea were put up in my former elementary school.
During meetings with people for this project, no conversations were recorded in audio or video. I took notes during off-camera interviews, but the main goal was to allow each individual to react to my and the camera's presence without having to formulate a response or a particular narrative. The material presented in this video is a testimony to each and every person I met on my way and their long, frustrating, promising but always hopeful path to a new life in a foreign country.
Because of the partly abstract nature of the footage, the complicated matter at hand and in the absence of the interviewee's spoken word, I decided to collaborate with sound artist Ezra Teboul. This collaborative project is an audio-visual response to one of the most challenging crises of our times which threatens nations, individuals and our empathy towards those displaced.