The artwork THE HOUSE OF THE 28 DOORS deals with the situation of migrants and refugees who come to Europe under the most difficult circumstances and deprivations in search of a decent life- particularly focused on those who have come to Germany and Berlin. It is dedicated to all those people who became refugees due to the destruction of their basic existence in their home countries, environmental disasters as well as unjust economical and trade conditions. Many of those die at the external borders of the European Union, others reach European territory but find themselves stuck in the perpetuity of the improvised system, and only few actually get the chance of a fresh start. In October 2013 when, off the island of Lampedusa, hundreds of refugees died whilst yet one more boat was sinking, the survivours experienced little or no support or solidarity from the European Union. These dreadful events are evidence for the need for a radical rethinking of German and Union-wide asylum policy. Already refugees gave their demands for decent living conditions for asylum seekers in Germany a new shape with the March to Brussels and the protest at Oranienplatz, thus being in the public eye.
Thousands of refugees and migrants try to reach Europe using little, usually unseaworthy, boats every year. It is not known for certain how many of them drown, die of thirst or become victims of acts of violence. Spanish authorities estimate that around 6,000 people died on their way to the Canary Islands in 2006. Refugee organisations fear that every second person dies in the open sea on route between Africa and Europe. At the eastern external border of the EU, the “fortress policy” is not as extreme as at the marine borders, but even there many human rights violations can be observed. These include, among other things, periods of extended imprisonment of refugees, detention in degrading refugee camps and deportations. Even those who try to support refugees and migrants are becoming increasingly criminalized – accused for merely providing humanitarian support and solidarity.
Official Authorities remain silent regarding the existence and extent of the tragedy at Europe’s borders, as it is deemed best that its citizens not be aware of what is happening. We want to break this silence. Borderline-europe is working to counter the authorities cover-up attempts with in-depth research at Europe’s frontier regions. We want to create a public awareness based on reliable information and facts of the deadly consequences of present migration policy. Solutions can only be found if we have the courage to talk about the present and very real situation.
The installation was set aflame in the early hours of Tuesday morning, according to a Berlin police report. Fire services tried to put out the flames, but could not save the installation. Police suspect the case to be arson because of its symbolic importance to refugees.