“Please don’t call us refugees, it is a heavy title that I would like to liberate us from, we are new comers”
From an interview with a man recently arrived from Syria.
This project focuses on the recent influx of migrants from Syria and neighbouring countries.
VPS intention is to replace the word refugee and focus on the person behind the label, on who they were before they became victims of war. The idea of this project is to introduce them to their new community to define their role allowing them to become part of their adopted cultural landscape. These interventions evolved from conversations and observations of local communities and newcomers and it aims to reflect on the subject from all possible angles. The area of Kreuzberg was chosen for these interventions because it is the heart of multicultural Berlin Because of this the intervention is structured into three areas: Newcomers, Berliners and Numbers & Bureaucracy.
Through projections in Prinzessinnengarten and in Oranienstrasse 45, the newcomers were given a visual animated voice. 25 unedited phrases taken from different interviews give an insight into the newcomers’ trip to and arrival in Berlin. The projections took place in in the public garden Prinzessinnengarten the open air cinema had a view onto Moritzplatz and in the widows on Oranienstrasse. The animated projections were on view for a week.
Posters of 15 unedited phrases taken from interviews made by VPS are displayed in the public space of this neighbourhood, giving an insight into what Berliners think of the newcomers’ arrival.
NUMBERS & BUREAUCRACY
In this act 1146 paper boats were set out in the park in Oranien Platz, a place that has been a symbol for refugees for decades.
According to the Bundesamt for Migration und Flüchtlinge, since January 2015 Berlin has received 57.300 newcomers. Which has only increased the population by 1,6% . These 1146 paper origami boats (one boat is equivalent to 50 newcomers) are made with official asylum forms and so we look at the importance of this 1,6% of new arrivals to the city, and how complex the bureaucratic system is.
This intervention continues.