Border maps

Defence camp, at the very border between Slovenia and Croatia, June, 2016. An international gathering of refugees, activists and social workers on both sides of the razor-blade fence dividing Slovenia and Croatia. This expensive and absurd fence, specially dangerous for the animals, was installed by the Slovenian government when Hungary closed the doors to the massive movement of refugees coming from Greece through Macedonia. A highly controversial unilateral decision, the line of the fence follows the course of some of the most important Slovenian/Croatian rivers. The first day of the camp I asked some local assistants (Patricija, Brigita, Tomo, Valentin, Sašo, Terne, Miha) to draw a map in order to represent their places of living and how they are connected in relation to the nearby converging rivers Sotla and Bistrica. This basic drawing exercise evidenced the strong symbolic presence of the fence, and brought some stories and discussions facing the fact that the border between the two countries, now so well and apparently definitively fixed by the fence, was not always so clear, not only to local people but to the authorities themselves. The absurdity of this “new” border became more obvious when some locals told stories about people who have now their house in one country and their farms or fields in another, and the daily bureaucracy of border control. The strong economic and social impact of the fence for local people, which is not very often analysed or referred to by main media, came to the foreground. The drawings were stapled on a board and publicly displayed during the festival.