Stories of Refuge

Beginning in the 1960s, Munich was the arrival point of migrant workers from all destinations, and from there the “migrants” would be transported to their next unknown destinations. They had no say in where they would end up. In many cases, families were torn apart. Their new destination was a temporary camp where they were medically checked and behaviorally tested. From there, the factory was the beginning of their new lives.

Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in 2011, Syrian refugees have been fleeing the brutality of the regime in Syria and searching for new destinations, Munich being one of them. Many of these asylum seekers arrive to Munich by land, crossing unofficial borders, through different European countries.

We collaborated with a group of Syrian refugees who recently arrived in Munich. We gave each of these participants/collaborators a camera for a day, their only instructions being to film their daily lives in Munich and their favourite spots in the city. Together we produced both video and sound pieces that were presented in a public space in the city.

In a shipping container placed on a busy street in Munich, we invited the audience and passers-by to lay down on metal bunk beds and watch the videos shot by the asylum seekers.

Read text by Tania El Khoury: “Stories of Refuge: Oral Histories of Syrian Asylum Seekers in Germany,” Jadaliyya

Concept and Video Editing: Tania El Khoury
Devised with Petra Serhal
Videos shot by anonymous asylum seekers
Commissioned by Spielart Festival, Munich,  2013

Previous Shows:

Border Crossing, Kennedy Museum, Athens Ohio, 2018
ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury, Twelve Arts Gallery, Philadelphia, 2018
CounterCurrent Festival, Houston, 2017
Cities As Community Spaces, Valetta, 2016
La Bellone Maison De Spectacle, Brussels, 2016
Something Human, Nottingham, 2016
Festival Bo:M, South Korea, 2015
Festival Pergine, Italy, 2014
Spielart Festival, Munich, 2013