From Brexit to the US-Mexico wall, borders are back in fashion. The Covid-19 pandemic reversed the decades-long project of open European borders. But at the same time it has provided a moment for reflection. Then it was time to listen to people on the ground.
How did Covid-19 affect people’s situations? What did citizens hope and fear for Europe going forward? And how do people perceive borders, both internal and external?
David Labi from Good Point teamed up with Giuseppe Porcaro and Andri Haflidasson to create REOPENING EUROPE. This activist, research, and storytelling documentary and event programme was supported by Bruegel, the House of European History, the European Cultural Foundation, and others.
Over an intense two-week period we travelled through nine countries of Europe. We listened to diverse players from politicians and business leaders to youth leaders and artists. In Slovenia, people only realised municipal borders existed when Corona measures came in. In Alsace, locals were crestfallen by how the border came up. They had truly identified as “French-German” and it was a tremendous shock to be trapped by their passport identity, from one day to the next.
As creative facilitator, David led artistic interventions to explore topics in alternative ways. In Salzburg we did a live show with musicians, talking between songs about the devastation of the arts. In Venice we enacted a replacement of the Biennale, the “Internale”, visiting the homes of “real Venetians” as if they were exhibits. And in Luxembourg, citizens drew a map on the floor of a gas station and moved upon it to explore their identity and their nation’s future.
Here you can find the 40 minute cut of the documentary shown at Bruegel’s annual event and cross-streamed by the International Scouts movement and Brussels’s iconic arts venue, Bozar, among others.