BORDER CROSSINGSA Project in the context of the International Women's University (ifu)
in Hannover 2000 within the temporary home exhibition.
(Coordinators and Initiators of the temporary home project:
Farida Heuck and Tineke E. Jansen)
|End of September 2000 seven women furnish an ex-barbershop in Hannover, Germany as Temporary Home: a display of the migrant's predicament, the nation-state's obsession with border control and racial violence in Germany society.
The former hairdressing salon is located in the busiest shopping street of a pre-WWII workers' area, also populated by many labor migrants from Turkey and Marocco. We turn the place into an alien living quarter, an oddity among shops. Each object cluster in the installation represents a research subject chosen by a participant - her interpretation of collected interviews. Migrant experiences serve as a common thread.
My part of the installation dealt with border crossings. In order to attend the International Women's University a thousand women came to Germany for three month from over 120 countries all over the world.
All of them had different experiences at the immigration desk entering Germany.
|"For European citizen I think it is very important to be aware of all the different steps in which you get asked for identification; otherwise you get the feeling there is no border. So I gave my identification when I bought my plane-ticket and also at the airport. It is the big challenge to imagine the borders in Europe. They are even not existing for me, the borders. But of course the act of giving my identification is always the reminder where there is a border..."
"For me coming to Germany was totally... I can't remember anything special at the border control at all. I remember a big sea of people standing around at the airport. I showed my passport there but it was just through, through, and then my next memory is picking up the luggage."
|"This was my first trip to Europe and I was slightly scared. I had on a head scarf when I came into Germany. It was quite a long queue some of them passed quite quickly in front of me but when it came to my turn he actually looked at my passport quite carefully. He looked at my face; he looked at my picture. He turned it, checked the visa, and he took quite a few moments and then I passed through."
"Being a Singaporean usually I don't have too many problems crossing borders. Ahead of me there was an Asian-looking man and the immigration officer really took a long time with his passport. That once again reminds me of being coloured and a black person. Even so, I am such a frequent traveller that this often reinforces my insecurity that I will be asked very difficult questions and constantly having to search for the right answers, the quick answers in order to get through the border as trouble-free as possible."
|"It was interesting because I've got a new passport and this was only the second time I have been in Germany. The first time the same thing happened. I got to the immigration person he looked at my passport looked at me and then kept it under the desk for a very long time. I don't know what he was doing with it. May be scanning it or something like that to make sure it wasn't fake. And that was a very interesting sort of experience because that has not happened to me anywhere in Europe.
And then the other thing I fined really peculiar here which we don't have in Britain is the whole Identity-Card thing. So I carry my passport around with me because I have been told if you don't carry it around with you and you get stopped by the police and you get asked for it and then you know you get fined or whatever..."
(see Tineke E. Jansen and Farida Heuck, Temporary Home, Page 107 f,
in: Remote Sensing - Laboratories of Art and Science,
eds: Leonie Baumann, Adrienne Göhler, Barbara Loreck,
Vice Versa, Berlin 2002)