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New project coming up: Around the world 8x8

The idea is based on the notion that the space of an embassy or consulate is a dislocated part of the country it represents. The process is inspired by an anecdote my father used to tell. He would often tell us little stories, mostly starring himself. For us, having grown up in 1980s Germany, these accounts of 1950s Spain sounded like improbable tales from the Wild West. One of his stories that especially stuck in my mind is the adventure of his escape from imprisonment by a military regime. He ed his country by running out of the Spanish Consulate in Germany. Through this story I learned about these little spaces, each just a building full of o ces belonging to another country. It could be said that an embassy is a country, a piece of a foreign land inside of another country.

All this informed the idea of travelling around the world without leaving London. It will be a virtual journey, and at the same time a physical trip.

I am intrigued by the question,“how far it is possible to get within a certain amount of time?” The book ́Around the World in 80 Days ́ by Jules Verne has inspired me further.

Certainly, industrialisation and technology have had an enormous e ect on the possibilities of travel. Probably these factors have helped to democratise travelling and make it accessible to a wider range and number of people. While international travel for pleasure has become more common, there are also groups of people who cross national borders as a necessity. This includes escape from war, persecution but also economic migration. The only way out of conditions of extreme poverty might be to travel to another country, where perhaps there is an opportunity to enrich one’s life with a satisfying career, secure home and access to amenities.

Some countries are abandoned due to their social, economical or political conditions, while other countries become recipients of migrants. Many of those on the receiving end are trying to tighten their borders, making it more difficult for ‘foreigners’ to settle. The USA, Australia, the UK, and many other European countries are in the process of further restricting their immigration polices, and enforcing them more rigorously, whilst the recent mass exodus from Syria has stimulated discussion around our morality as fellow humans in the debate around the movement and travels of people.

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