Over the summer, Thomas Kampe co-directed the trans-disciplinary performance project Punti di Fuga which explored European migration with asylum-seekers and citizens of Dresden in Germany. The project included workshops in Tharandt, Saxony, Dresden and also on the island of Lampedusa, Italy, between July and November 2015. The project was supported by regional and national German funders and builds on past collaborations between project director Stefania Milazzo and Thomas Kampe in Sicily between 2008 and 2013. It was designed in response to racially motivated violence in the county of Saxony and around the City of Dresden. The project weekend led by Thomas in July 2015 coincided with arson attacks on asylum seeker centres in the town of Freital, near Dresden. Freital is the neighbouring town of Tharandt where the workshop led by Kampe was hosted by the local community and refugee centre.
The workshop was designed around the topic of ‘home’ – memories, desires, hopes; leaving, arriving,letting go, staying behind – and used movement, spatial interaction and touch, story telling, and shared immersion in nature as tools for shared artistic practice and collaborative cultural exchange. Participants from different cultural backgrounds spent three days of experimenting in a supportive enviroment. The group was invited to play with exploring a shared organic movement language and to interact in unconventional ways. Through activities of observing, following, leading, leaning, supporting, pulling, pushing, lifting, embracing or obstructing the participants rehearsed ways of interacting with each other and the environment that were ‘very different from the way we normally behave with each other in the the outside world’ ( participant comment 18/07/15). Each evening the group spent time in the local refugee centre, an old youth hostel, talking and eating together. There was plenty of time to exchange stories and impressions. Participants worked each day with a translator from English or German into Arabic. A 58 year old participant who had been a professor for anthropology in Damascus before he fled Syria explained: ‘I lost my wife, my house, all my book, my car. everything. But the worst thing is, here, I lost my history.” As one participant discovered, “home is not a place, but a feeling of trust. being in myself and surrounded by supportive people.” As a trans-disciplinary and trans-cultural project Punti di Fuga echoes, advances and enacts the call of leading German politicians to actively “seek new paths together” (Angela Merkel 25/08/2015) towards cultural integration of an increasing number of incoming people seeking refugee status in Germany.
[photos by Konrad Behr]
Report by Thomas Kampe – BATH SPA UNIVERSITY