Refugees are usually in front of the camera, and rarely ever behind it. Interviewed by eager documentarians or put on the spot in talk shows as human-interest informants, they must speak from a certain position or remain silent and invisible. How can we resist this usual ascription of roles? Can technical, journalistic and artistic expertise empower refugees and migrants to speak for themselves beyond the pale of the mass media and its stereotypes?
What are the alternatives to mainstream formats? These are some of the questions broached by Borderless TV, a media collective producing short documentaries and experimental videos, initiated by artist Felipe Castelblanco at the CAT gallery with Syrian refugees living in Cologne. They meet in conversation with members of the group REFUGEE TV, in which a German-Austrian camera team collaborates with filmmakers and journalists who came to the EU as refugees.
Felipe Castelblanco is an interdisciplinary artist, whose work has been shown internationally. Among his collaborative endeavors is The Para-Site School, an alternative free educational platform for artists-migrants, operating (independently and anonymously) at the heart of official universities in the United States and Europe.