Disborder Disborder Productions at Work Tandem Europe participant Johanna Bratel currently works on the project DISBORDER PRODUCTIONS with Leonie Pichler. She brings this account of their journey to the Norway-Russia border, and the installation that was created afterwards. Disborder Productions (Disorder meets Bluespots Productions becomes Disborder Procutions) was formed in Sofia during our first Tandem meeting. We were part of a European project, and borders seemed to be at the very centre of the political debate in Europe. Borders of territorial governance such as borders between states but probably more importantly mental borders between people who inhabit the same place. Who is actually included? Who is excluded? And out of what principles are the borders and boundaries for this inclusion and exclusion drawn? Why this obsession with those who belong and those who don’t? Bordershop Disborder Productions kicked of its work floating around in a hot tub in the industrial harbour of Copenhagen. In the weird state of being somewhere in between boiling hot water and cold Danish winter, great ideas arose. Overwhelmed by all these ideas (or possibly two hours in a hot tub and a couple of dips in the ice cold water), my body decided to faint – and I woke up to my Tandem partner feeding me with tiny bites of chocolate, wow! what a Tandem partner I thought. Our ideas were further developed during our next Tandem meeting in Portugal and in Augsburg. My first visit in Augsburg included among many things a sauna-mediation session in the moonlight by a magical lake in a magical house with a few quite magical cats. Borderriver Norway:Russia After a third Tandem meeting in Greece, Disborder Production was finally prepared (mentally and physically) to set of on its very first border mission! We had heard stories of an absurd border wall being built in the most northern parts of Europe. A 200-meter long wall on Norway’s Arctic border with Russia to prevent migrants entering the country and seeking asylum. Was it just a myth or real? We set off from the Greek island of Agios Efstratios in southern Europe to the very northern tip of Europe. We changed one remote location for another. We changed our shorts for sweaters, swimwear for hats, summer nights for midnight sun and south for north. We knew we had to camouflage ourselves to succeed with our mission. We put our Disborder Productions disguises on, our pink suits! We painted our nails and lips pink. Our hair had never looked shinier. At this point, we were invisible. Disborder productions at work After five flights and one boat, happy but exhausted, we finally reached our goal. During a couple of days we then patrolled up and down along Norways border, nearby was Russia all a long, but never reachable. Divided by rivers, fences, mountains and thousands of mosquitos. Every night we had a barbecue in Norway, overlooking Russia. We never took our eyes of the border. We slept with our eyes open. Signs in Kirkenes However we never actually saw the 200-meter long border wall that our mission was set out to find (does it really exist, until this day we don’t know?!) Signs in Kirkenes We did see every millimetre of the rest of the border, had sauna baths, got attacked by the mosquito border defence league every day, talked to border patrollers, dreamt of Murmansk, felt monitored (and possibly were), got stuck with the car in a no-man’s-land, listened to Russian radio, visited a church that once was a cultural border raised by Norway, talked to the sea, saw the rusty lampposts of Russia, probably committed a few border trespasses, felt the boredom of Kirkenes, ate expensive pizza, sang Frank Sinatras My Way. We never saw any dolphins either… Disborder Productions and the sea Our investigative work of the border led a few months later to an installation at the Peace Festival in Augsburg. A golden glitter wall (not 200 meters long, the square wasn’t big enough, but almost), inside a refugee boat. Lifeline Rescue Crew The installation included activates like a public reading and a Mahnwache. The last day of the installation, Disborder Productions was invited to the main stage of the Peace Festival. We decided to share our time on stage with a number of local activist groups working for human rights and the captain of Lifeline Rescue, a ship rescuing people on the Mediterranean sea. In collaboration with them, we sent out a message to Augsburg. If you are a town celebrating the Peace Festival (the only in German to celebrate this particular feast) you should also be a town which offers a safe haven for refugees. Parts of Augsburg applauded this message others where choked and outraged. "Cultural border" raised by Norway Border patrol of installation We have now compiled our experiences in a publication, poems meets graphic, our both languages intertwined.